Our confidence levels tend to rise and fall throughout different periods of our lives. However, various studies have found that motherhood often causes self-esteem and confidence levels to drop quite significantly.
For example, one study reported in Elle magazine found that “self-esteem generally decreased during pregnancy, increased for a six-month period after childbirth, and then gradually decreased until the child reached three years.”
As our confidence levels feed into so many different areas of our lives – from our ability to succeed in our careers to managing our mental health, it’s important that new mothers find as many ways as possible to build their confidence.
With that in mind, here are some simple ways to tap into your confidence as a parent.
Learn to love your body.
Body image plays a huge role when it comes to our confidence levels. As a result, it’s crucial that you learn to love your body post-baby. Instead of worrying about whether or not you’re ‘snapping back’ to your pre-baby body, think about the wonderful things your body has done to get to this point. You created a safe space for your baby to grow for nine whole months. You brought life into the world – and that means your body deserves some rest and plenty of appreciation.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can begin to love your body once again. For example, you could:
- Indulge in self-care
- Practice positive body affirmations each morning
- Gradually re-introduce exercise to your routine
- Rest, rest, and rest some more
- Stop comparing yourself (and your body) to others.
There’s no denying that motherhood is a full-time job. If you’re not trying to help them fall asleep, you’re cleaning, feeding, or bathing (and on the list goes). As a result, it’s no surprise that you may have waved your self-care routine behind. However, it’s important to note that self-care is not an indulgence but a vital wellness activity. As a result, now is the perfect time to pamper yourself!
For example, you could:
- Enjoy a relaxing bath each evening (with candles!)
- Go for a daily walk
- Apply a face mask
- Develop a simple beauty routine
Change your look.
Changing your look can mean something different to each and every one of us. For example, you may want to use this as an opportunity to research big hair trends and get a fresh haircut that changes your appearance drastically. Alternatively, you might indulge in some retail therapy and buy new outfits that show off your personal style. Either way, changing your look is a proven method for boosting your confidence because it allows you to express yourself in new and innovative ways.
For example, you could:
- Try out new make-up techniques
- Buy some statement pieces of clothing
- Introduce new colors, patterns, or textures to your wardrobe
- Dye your hair
Stop Mom-Shaming Yourself.
Mom-Shaming or Mom Guilt is a common phenomenon – one which can really damage your confidence as a parent. It refers to a mindset where we believe we are not parenting our children in the right way, because we don’t appear to be doing as well as others.
For example, you may notice that a parent in one of your parenting groups talks about how their child never throws a tantrum, whereas your child is going through some behavioral hiccups. Instead of recognizing that each child is different, and there’s no such thing as perfect parenting, mom shaming causes you to internalize these situations and find flaws in your own behavior.
Whenever you find yourself mom-shaming yourself, you should:
- Remember that there’s no one way to parent your child
- Remember that parenting is a rollercoaster, and you’ll have ups and downs
- Remember that you are an excellent parent, not because you never make mistakes, but because you care for and love your child
Make time for reading.
Taking some time out of your schedule to read inspiring books, based not only on parenting, but on self-esteem and wellness can be instrumental when it comes to building your confidence and finding your inner freedom. This is because self-help books often find a way to put complex feelings into words, which means you can better understand not only how you are feeling, but why you feel that way. Once you’ve identified the confidence-killing triggers, you can put practical plans in place to remove them from your life.
You may want to add the following books to your library:
- Becoming Supernatural, Dr.Joe
- The Success Principles, Jack Canfield
- The Law of Attraction, Esther and Jerry Hicks
- The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
Get back into exercise.
It’s okay to take a break from exercise when raising a child. After all, welcoming a baby into the world often shifts your priorities quite considerably, and by the time you tuck them into bed each night, you’re likely just as exhausted as they are. However, finding a way to get back into exercise can often work wonders for both your body image and your self-esteem. After all, not only does regular exercise help with weight management, it also increases your body’s production of wellness-boosting hormones like serotonin.
When getting back into exercise, you could try out:
- Parent & baby fitness classes
While social media can be a great way to connect with distant friends and family, or share adorable updates on your children, it’s also a self-esteem killer. This is because when scrolling, we are subconsciously comparing ourselves to others on each and every post we come across. If we see a post of a new mom at the gym, we worry about our own body image and whether we should be there too. When we see a post about someone becoming a stay-at-home mom, we worry about whether our career will impact our ability to parent. We may simply compare ourselves to others as they look more put-together or well-rested on their pics than we do.
While so much of what we see on social media is contrived and curated, it’s easy to forget that when doom scrolling. As a result, one way in which you can boost your confidence as a parent is by taking a break from social media.
For example, you could:
- Delete social media apps from your phone or pause your account
- Set timers on your apps, so you can only access them for a limited time each day
- Be more intentional about who you follow, or the content you engage with
Learn to challenge negative thoughts
According to a recent study, “we produce up to 50,000 thoughts a day and 70% to 80% of those are negative.” As a result, it’s no surprise that we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to maintaining high levels of confidence. However, there are many ways in which you can ‘train’ your brain to become more inherently positive, especially when thinking about yourself. The easiest way to do this is to challenge negative thoughts.
Instead of simply accepting a negative opinion about yourself, such as ‘I look bad today’, ask yourself why you are feeling that way. For example, you may feel bad because you’ve not made time for self-care, or because you’re spending too much time comparing yourself to others. Often, getting to the route of these thoughts can help you to challenge the moving forward.
Whenever you experience a negative thought, you should:
- Figure out why you feel that way, and perhaps offer yourself a solution
- Say three positive things to yourself immediately afterward
- Practice positive affirmations
Surround yourself with other Moms
Making other ‘mom’ friends can also be a great way to elevate your confidence during this time, as they understand exactly what you are going through. Not only will you be able to share invaluable tips on getting your children to sleep through the night or the best place to buy baby food, but you can also offer more personal advice and support. Furthermore, this also gives you the chance to host playdates, which can help your child with their social development.
You can find new mom friends by:
- Joining local parent/baby classes
- Reaching out to other friends who have children
- Joining online parenting or mom groups
Give yourself a break
Taking a break is something that many Moms believe to be impossible – but it’s actually a great way to take care of yourself and grow your confidence. This is because rest allows us to relax and decompress, which in turn can elevate our confidence and self-esteem as we feel more prepared to handle whatever comes our way.
As a parent, you can give yourself a break by:
- Following a nighttime routine and ensuring that you get enough sleep
- Setting aside 30 minutes each morning and night to dedicate to yourself
- Re-engaging with your hobbies, or spending time with friends
- Asking for help with childcare when you need it, whether that be from your partner, family, friends or a babysitter.
- Practicing mediation
- Watching your favorite TV show or film, or listening to music you enjoy
A penny for your thoughts?