How long exactly does it take to feel like a good mommy?
I'll admit that while I was pregnant I worried a lot about my baby. The funny thing is, I never really worried about being a good mom and my life after he was born--my stress was solely focused on bringing him safely into the world. Before his arrival, I was beyond confident about my non-existent parenting prowess. I had helped my mother raise my now-teenaged brothers and grew up around tons of babies. I had lots of experience, and figured that everything would come naturally with my own child. Once again, I was totally naive.
I can't say I'm not glad that I didn't ever worry about becoming a mom--the last thing I needed during pregnancy was one more thing to obsess over. But parenthood definitely did not come as naturally as I thought it would. And honestly, caring for an infant is a helluva a lot more difficult than I ever imagined.
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A recent study conducted by baby brand Munchkin suggests that it takes new mothers about four months and 23 days to get a handle on things. Two thirds of the mothers polled actually reported that the worry and exhaustion of being a new parent led them to burst into tears.
When my son was born I instantly felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I needed to protect him and ensure that he was always content and happy. There's nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but the problem was that I was convinced that I was the only person who could do this. I struggled to accept help from anyone--even my husband and mother. Obviously I became completely overwhelmed with the pressure and before long, the confidence I had going into motherhood was shattered. I most definitely was among the tearful mothers represented in that study.
For at least the first month of my son's life, I questioned and agonized over every decision I made from what he wore to where he slept and everything in between. My Google search history was a seemingly endless list of questions involving poop, colic, infant sleep, gas, and breastmilk.
But, just like the study says, around the eight-week mark, I slowly started to realize that he was fine, that he was thriving and happy, and I began to mellow out. I'm not at all claiming that I don't worry or question myself--I do both frequently--but for the past 10 weeks or so, my confidence has been increasing, and I'm becoming more and more comfortable in my new role and more secure in my ability to make the right choices for my son--I'm finally becoming the laid back mom I always knew I would be! I guess it's just happening exactly when it happens for every other mom.
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