Have you found yourself wondering where exactly you left your confidence since you became a mum? Modern-day motherhood is a bit like trying to navigate an obstacle course, without having any map or guide books. Not only do you need to master all the new skills required for your brand new role you also find yourself coming up against the opinions and observations of others constantly, making you doubt your ability.
Let’s find out why good self-esteem and confidence are really helpful in all areas of your life, including being a pretty fantastic mum (80% of the time, I always work on the 80/20 rule as perfection does not exist remember). Then we can move onto the good stuff. How to increase your confidence and self-esteem as a Mum. Ready to up your confidence levels? Let’s go.
The difference between Confidence & Self-Esteem
Confidence is a having a sense of belief in your abilities and decisions. It means you know your own strengths and weaknesses and trust, accept and view yourself in a positive way.
Self-Esteem is the opinion we have about ourselves and our overall sense of worth.
Confidence and Self-esteem are shaped by your upbringing, influences, life experiences, health, mental health and many other factors.
The Benefits of Confidence and High Self-Esteem for Mums
High confidence in your parenting
If you have confidence in yourself you will have confidence in your parenting. You won’t feel the need to compare yourself to other mums or worry about an offhand comment from a friend or family member or even a parenting “expert” on social media. You will be confident in your choices and actions.
Encourages high confidence in your children
It makes sense that children with a confident Mum (or Dad) will more likely be confident. Children model our words and actions (the good and the bad). So being confident yourself is a model for them to be confident and have higher self-esteem through their own lives.
You will look for the positive things in life
I have found my increase in confidence and self-esteem has had a dual impact on my positive outlook. Increasing confidence allows you to see life from a different angle, looking for possibilities and not viewing everything as hurdles. Looking for a positive way to deal with life’s situations is another great thing to model for your children.
Increased mental health
Confidence and Self-esteem are closely linked to mental health. According to this article from the mental health charity MIND, low self-esteem might lead to a mental health issue such as depression or an existing mental health condition may well cause low self-esteem. So having a higher level of confidence and self-esteem is a great way to protect your mental health as a mum, something we all need to be talking about.
Better physical health
If you are feeling confident you are more likely to feel physically healthy as well. So higher self-esteem and confidence not only allows you to feel more relaxed and joyful as a Mum (the best way to live) and ensures you can keep up with the relentless physical nature of looking after your children. Win, win.
Encourage better relationships with your children and family
A mum with a higher level of confidence in herself will be less likely to react when the inevitable struggles occur with her children or family. She will see them for what they are, just part of being a mum, and not doubt herself or get unnecessarily angry. Less angry reactions from mum mean less strain put on the relationships hence better relationships all round.
A high level of self-confidence and self-esteem will be linked with a higher level of self-worth and what does that mean? You won’t feel guilty, as so many mums do, for prioritising your self-care, something I am very vocal about if you follow me on Instagram. Since increasing my level of self-esteem I have realised that I need to put my own health and wellness first. You can’t fill from an empty cup. That’s why I worked out what I needed to stay well and I am strict with myself about my self-care. For me it’s running, meditation, journaling and time in my garden.
How you can increase confidence and self-esteem as a mum?
The first and most important step in increasing your confidence and self-esteem is starting from exactly where you land, today. Observe your thought patterns, journal your days and work out where you are then take small, consistent steps and be patient. Consider this point as Day 1.
My personal tips for increasing confidence and self-esteem.
Observe and write.
Simply watch yourself for a time. Note your reactions, thought patterns, responses, fears, judgements. How do you respond to criticism or confrontation? What thoughts won’t let go? How easily do you lose patience? What words do you use about yourself? What are you fearful of and how much does this impact you? How quickly do you judge others?
Observe it then write it down. Keep a journal. It can be a daily free writing journal or simply a notepad of observations but record it. Do this for a few weeks. You will be surprised by what you learn about yourself.
Once you have observed your thought patterns and pinpointed areas where you struggle, get educated. Read books, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries or Ted talks. Increase your knowledge and expand your mind. Find teachers who walk your path, those coaches or friends even who live with the confidence you wish to have. Try to work out why you have a lack of confidence in certain areas and then do what you need to clear it from your life and chose a different way.
Surround yourself with positive people.
Environment matters. If you are surrounded by people who see only negatives, complain or feel powerless then you will start to act, think and feel this way. Hunt out people who make you feel good, happy and positive. Even if you can’t do this physically you can change your environment through the books you read, the speakers you listen to and the virtual groups you are in. Positivity and confidence is infectious (and so is negativity unfortunately).
Love yourself as your children love you.
Even with low confidence your children still see you as a goddess and love you fiercely. So do the same. See yourself through your children’s eyes. The beautiful, kind, strong and resilient woman that you are. Become that version of you. Even if you don’t feel it yet, just pretend for a while everyday that you are her. Your mind does not know the difference between real life and imaginary. The more you feel it the more you will become it.
Take steps to stop comparing yourself.
Comparing yourself to others is a natural human reaction but unfortunately in the days of information overload it is easy to get dragged down by the perfect mum social media posts. Just be aware of how much you compare yourself to others and limit your social media time if needed. If you find yourself comparing to another mum you know, write about it. Find out what makes you feel this way and if it is valid or not. Generally, in my experience, it is not and when I write it out I actually find myself laughing at the comparisons I make.
Do something, just for fun.
Becoming a mum means the vast majority of your time is given to someone else, which is expected but It robs you of the experience of learning new things for fun (I clocked up classes in French baking, archery and tap dancing before having children).
Running hits multiple targets for me. Mental health, fitness, time out and gives me a huge sense of achievement. The feeling when you complete your first race is immense. Find something that can slot into your life (even if this means sacrificing something else such as one after-school activity) and grow your confidence at the same time.
Take more time to sleep and rest.
Sleep has been proven to have an impact on our sense of optimism and self-esteem. As someone who struggles with chronic insomnia I can honestly say that my patience, happiness and confidence are always impacted when I go through bad sleep patches. It is not always easy to get the sleep you need so try some mindful rest as often as possible.
A quick nap, walk alone, reading a book or quiet cup of tea. It all helps to keep you happier and relaxed, in turn allowing you to make more confident and aligned choices and decisions.
Change your words.
What words do you routinely use when describing yourself? Are they praising and positive or criticising and negative? “I’m useless at this”? Try changing your words. You can often spot someone with low self-esteem by the way they describe themselves. It does not mean you need to be egotistical or even lie but you can always use a more positive description. “I’m still learning, I’m getting better at this”. It will change how you view and value yourself and generally make you feel more capable and confident.
Trust yourself first
I am a big believer in our intuitive wisdom as mothers. Mum really does know best when it comes to your children but it is still easy for seeds of doubt to be planted in your head. Just remember this. TRUST YOURSELF FIRST. Get into the habit of trusting yourself. Do this through small steps (all the things discussed above) and watch your confidence grow.
What barriers do mums face when trying to increase their confidence and self-esteem?
Where do I start with this one? Let’s list them out;
– opinions of relatives or friends
-childhood and upbringing
-exhaustion and lack of time for self-care
-social media or influential celebrities
-underlying or untreated mental health issues
-limiting beliefs about yourself
-issues with health (physical or mental health)
How to know when you need more confidence as a Mum?
It might now always be that obvious to yourself when you lack in confidence. Day’s disappear in a haze and you can get swept along by life but becoming more in tune with your own being will make clear the areas you may need more confidence.
Some questions to think about.
Do you change your parenting style frequently depending on advice of others, comparison to other mums or after seeing celebrity influencers do something different?
Do you constantly worry that you are “getting it wrong”?
Do you get defensive about you parenting choices with friends of family members?
Do you feel overwhelmed by all the opposing and conflicting advice out there for mums (this blog included!)?
I am guessing you answered YES to some or all of them. So did I. Take it from a mum who has struggled with low confidence and self-esteem for most of her life. This stuff is common. I have yet to meet a mum who does not struggle with feelings of failure or getting it all wrong at times and comparing ourselves to other mums…. YES we all do it!
Just be aware of this. If you are finding you are always reaching for advice from social media or constantly comparing to another mum, you might need to do some work on your own confidence a little.
Remember. Daily little steps. Our daily habits are what really make a difference. Don’t put down this article and decide it will all change tomorrow. That just does not work (I know this for sure). Take daily small steps, celebrate any wins or achievements and keep moving forward. In time you will look back and see how much you have improved. This has worked for me and I know if can work for you. I am a totally different mum to what I was just one year ago all through taking daily small steps.
When I moved to home education I was wracked with worries, not my own worries but the concerns and doubts of everyone else. Even though I knew intuitively this was the right choice for my children and family, I still let those concerns from other people plant themselves in my head.
It is only through working on my own self esteem and self belief that I have reached a place of contentment and confidence as a home schooling mum. It was worth the work. I hope you can find your own mum super power too.
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