After having a second baby, I needed to rediscover my parenting confidence

With only a few places where I still felt capable of taking my children, our world seemed to shrink for a few solid months.

After having a second baby, I needed to rediscover my parenting confidence

It took a solid year and a half, but it felt like I was finally hitting my groove as a mama. I could recognize my son's limitations, knew my abilities and felt generally confident about braving the world together. Most of all, we were having a lot of fun together.

Then I had another baby.

And, for all the wonderful, amazing elements that came along with that, there was an unexpected side-effect: Suddenly I was more intimidated than ever before by the thought of getting out of the house together.

Honestly, I allowed myself to retreat.

In many ways, this was good for my soul. Unlike when my first was born and I mistakenly thought I needed to prove myself by "getting back out there," hitting the slow-motion button allowed me to appreciate the little things that I whizzed past when my first child was a newborn. (For example, did you know you don't have to change the baby into a fancy outfit every morning?! If only we could all get away with 24/7 nighties like a baby.)

The problem was, the farther away from that place of "bravery" I experienced with my first child, the idea of getting back out there became increasingly daunting to me. Now, not only did I have a baby to care for, but I also had a toddler who could run off in the playground. Or the grocery store. Or the parking lot. (Lots of running off was involved in my mental worst-case scenarios.)

With only a few places where I still felt capable of taking my children, our world seemed to shrink for a few solid months.

Out went hikes and trips to the indoor gym and even the store.

I either enlisted grandparents to take my toddler out to play or I scanned Pinterest for the hundredth time to find some craft to do at home that was bound to get rejected after about two minutes.

I clung tightly to excuses about my baby's nap time or the threat of the flu when coming up with reasons in my own head about why we couldn't do something.

And while these were meaningful, foundational months, I felt like I was losing the sense of just how fun parenting can be.

So I had to do one of the scariest things of my life: Picture the worst-case scenario and then still feel brave enough to try.

As I look back on the big, memorable moments from parenthood, this first outing as a trio is among them, not because it was amazing or horrible. Rather, I'll remember it because it was our first step, together, into our new normal.

With the baby in her carrier and my toddler on foot, we visited our local nature center—and my son didn't run away. I bounced, shushed and swayed—and the baby didn't have a meltdown. My son threw rocks into the creek—and didn't fall in.

We did, however, laugh and explore and have fun. By going outside of my comfort zone, I was accepting that I couldn't control all of the factors, but it also meant I wasn't putting a limit on the possibilities—which reminded me that "unexpected" doesn't just apply to bad scenarios, but surprisingly happy ones, too.

And it's only gotten easier since then. Yes, it helps that I have more trust that my 2-year-old isn't going to run away and I know my now-7-month-old's schedule. But even more than that, it's gotten easier because I remembered what it's like to believe in myself—and how much fun we all have when I do.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

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