I used to be jealous of the moms that didn't care what others thought. Because, just a short time ago, I was so NOT that type of mom. When I became a mom 8 years ago, let's face it, I was obsessed with doing everything perfectly. I didn't want to screw up this tiny precious human being that I had, and I certainly didn't want others THINKING I was screwing up. The people-pleaser in me couldn't have that. So, I was definitely more of a "sorry" mom than a "not-sorry" one.
But, here's the good news: I changed. I learned that people pleasing is something that can hurt you, more than it helps you, and that there is definite value in doing your own thing and not caring what others think. But, for some of us, it does not come easily. We have to work, really, really hard at that whole self-confidence thing. I worked hard at becoming that mom, and it did not come naturally to me. And, here's my advice on how you can become the sorry-not-sorry mom too.
1. Have more kids. Frankly, this is what changed me the most. When you have a toddler tornado, and an 8yo that can't focus on picking up 3 things from her room, and a 6yo that is uber sensitive if you look at him with the wrong expression on your face, then your life becomes way less predictable. And, you have to let go of being in control of everything. You will be late. You will look like crap some days. You will go to the store smelling of vomit to pick up a prescription, you will have a meltdown in front of the lady checking you out at Target, you will straight up lose it at the 3yo in the parking lot when he darts out in front of a car. The more kids, the less chance that you'll have to hold yourself together and control situations. So if you want to become that mom that doesn't apologize, simply have. more. kids. Because then they'll be in control anyway. Not you.
2. Tell yourself you're awesome. This was the hardest part for me. I actually made a list of things I was good at, at one point. Per my therapist's suggestion, I pulled out a pen and paper every time I could think of something I was actually good at. After several days, my list became long. If you remember the school art project on time, write that crap down. If you are really good at making your kids wash their hands before dinner, write it down. If you didn't yell for one hour straight, write it down. Tallying up your strengths will help you realize that you're pretty amazing. Don't get your self-esteem from other people. (Not even your kids).
3. Recognize that the world doesn't revolve around you and your kids, or in other words, get out of the house. When my first was born, I was practically a recluse. I tried a trip to Target and she screamed for 5 minutes because she hated the carseat. I turned around and came back home in tears myself. I laugh at that now. Because, today, I made a trip to Target, and I carried a giant 3 year old around as he slept on my shoulder. Live your life. And, that includes walking away once in a while to get a grip on reality. As great as child-rearing is, you need to get out. Now if at all possible.
4. Do something you're afraid of and see what happens. Speak up at a playgroup and say that you actually hate the newborn stage. What's the worst that could happen? A mom disagrees? Great! Then you'll know she's not your type of people. Whip out the boob and if someone stares, stare right back. Most likely they aren't going to say a word. And if they do, practice sticking up for yourself. It just might feel good. You wouldn't encourage your kids to cower, back down on something they believe in, or give up on something that's important to them. So, why are you doing it yourself?
5. Be authentic and Don't Be a Freak Show. It's simple really. Be you. Not the you that you think everyone else wants to see, but be the you that you are at home. There is freedom in letting go of what others think, and focusing on what YOU know to be true. Own it. Rock it. Just be real. But, be careful, freak shows can swing both ways. If you're too uptight you're a freak show, if you're too flighty, you're a freak show. Just concentrate on your successes and you'll be fine. It's all about a healthy perspective. Pat yourself on the back for the good stuff, and let go of the bad. Learn to speak your truth, but also bite your tongue sometimes. No one likes a person that complains all the time, but someone that only shares the positive may not be seen as authentic.
6. Talk to yourself like you'd talk to your kids. Limit your time comparing yourself to others. You wouldn't want your kids to do that. So why are you? It's good to hear about what other moms are doing, but don't compare yourself to what they're doing. There is a difference. Imagine your child comes home and tells you, "Jessica got to eat nothing but corn syrup for lunch! I want corn syrup for lunch!" Your response would probably be something like, "Well, that must be what her mommy allows her to do, but in our family we actually like to eat a carrot once in a while." Give the same advice to yourself that you would give your kids. Plain and simple. If you have to, look in the mirror and give yourself a mommy pep talk....do it.
Some of us are the sorry-not-sorry kind naturally, but some of us have to work a little harder at it. But, trust me, it's worth it. It's the best way to find happiness and peace as a mom. And you definitely won't be sorry for becoming that mom that does her own thing and has no regrets.