When I first became a mother, I felt pretty confident in my parenting abilities. And why shouldn’t I have been? I’d spent my early teen years babysitting every kid within a 10-mile radius, I’d read all the important parenting books, heck, I even managed to earn a degree in child development. I felt ready. I mean, how hard could parenthood really be?
The answer is hard. Really, really hard.
But I guess in a lot of ways I had myself to blame. As someone who was determined on doing this parenting thing “right,” I worked tirelessly to avoid the pitfalls that laid claim to so many parents before me. How did I do it? By asking for advice. Yes friends, I sought out the very same advice my girlfriends loathed. From the cashier at the grocery store, to my in-laws, and even that weird guy in the corner cubicle at work, I wanted to hear what people had to say about parenting and follow the rules the experts wrote in books. I wanted to earn that gold star in perfect parenting because if I could manage to do parenting right, I’d be guaranteed a positive parenting experience.
While I now understand how ridiculous all of that sounds, the reasoning behind it isn’t quite so funny. You see, I don’t do so well when things go haywire. It’s like INFORMATION OVERLOAD / SYNTAX ERROR / CANNOT COMMUTE all up in my mental parts and I just sort of shut down. Of all the things I didn’t know about motherhood, I did knew shutting down wasn’t allowed.
As to avoid any potential glitch in my carefully planned role as mother, I attempted to follow every last bit of parenting advice I received. Maybe there would be a real pearl in there, or maybe I’d be a little better prepared than the average mama bear.
But as any mother can tell you, not all advice is good advice. When you willingly forfeit your ability listen to your voice when it comes to your own child, you quickly learn that what works for one child most certainly will not work for yours. As I became increasingly frustrated with my inability to make things work with all this “good information,” I finally decided to let go of my head and lead with my heart. That still, small voice that I so often hush-hushed was never given a fighting chance to positively serve my child.
The more I used my voice, the easier it became to use it. I may have not known how to parent with all the right moves, but with a little time and self-trust, I learned to appreciate the journey that would ultimately build confidence in my parenting style.
My voice has served me well as a mother, allowing me to advocate for my child, speak truths, share experiences, and above all, shine on as a mother who is no longer afraid to reveal the humanity of her imperfections.
Using my voice as a parent has made all the difference for me and my boys. Watch below as we celebrate our voices as part of Disney’s Find Your Voice contest!
Now it’s your turn to express your voice through song! Visit Disney.com/FindYourVoice to submit a video of you singing one of your favorite songs from The Little Mermaid for your chance to win a trip to LA for a VIP experience, a state-of-the-art kareoke system, Disney Store gift cards and The Little Mermaid Gift Packs! Be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter using #FindYourVoice. Good luck!