People-pleasing is a big issue for me. I love making everyone happy. If I’m being honest, I need everyone to love me, like me, and approve of me and what I do. If I heard this from anyone else, I would say, “Girl, you’re nuts. Don’t worry about what other people think!” But look, I do, and I always have.
I guess the first step is to recognize this is happening, right? I acknowledge that I am a people-pleaser, but lately, I’ve realized that I just can’t keep doing it. It’s so draining and debilitating. And frankly, I don’t have the energy or the space to constantly worry about what other people think anymore, especially regarding my beliefs about parenting, birth, and anything else revolving around being a mother.
So I’ve decided to break this habit. Why? Because it is essential for my mental health. Because it is important to show my children that what matters most is caring for them, myself, and our family. It’s more important to be proud of yourself than to have others be proud of you. So, I’m starting this now. For them, but mostly for me.
People-Pleasing: Stop Worrying About These Things First
A few common topics among moms make some of us feel ashamed for not “doing it right.” These are the issues that I first decided I would stop worrying about what others thought about how I did things.
Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding
How I feed my kids is no one’s business. And how you feed your kids is no one’s business! I breastfed my kids, but I didn’t love it. I tried to breastfeed twins, and I hated it. Honestly, I did it because I had a lot of milk, but I preferred to pump. So I did, but I felt ashamed when I saw twin moms tandem feeding. I was so impressed and felt so ashamed at the same time.
Then I had my rainbow baby. I also tried to breastfeed her but still did not love it. However, with this experience, I decided that I was okay not loving it. I was happy to pump and store a ton of breast milk for her. More than that, I was proud of myself for letting go of expectations. And when I admitted that to other mamas, so many others shared that they felt the same way. I was so shocked by what NOT trying to please everyone accomplished! It makes us come together! That was a huge win and a massive eye-opener for me.
Baby-Led Weaning vs. Purées
But then came the introduction of solids. So many new ways of feeding! So many opinions between my family, friends, doctors, nannies, and Instagram! It was overwhelming.
I knew I wanted to try baby-led weaning, but I also knew I loved feeding my babies purées. I bought the baby-led weaning book, watched the videos, and talked to friends. Frankly, I felt pressured to do it. So I tried it, and honestly, I was scared. I couldn’t jump into it as some people do. So, I listened to my gut and backed off. Instead, I fed my daughter purées and slowly introduced foods I was comfortable with. A few months later, she was doing amazing eating her solids while also eating purées. She still is. And you know what? She is healthy, loves ALL THE FOODS, and has never not liked anything. And to top it off, I never even opened that baby-led weaning book!
How you get your baby to sleep is such a huge topic! Honestly, I have no judgment for how any mom gets it done. But for some reason, I was worried about what people would think of my choice to sleep train. I didn’t want to talk about it much until I realized talking about it could help so many. So, I did. And again, I found that being open and honest without worrying about what others thought helped so many women. That’s not to say I didn’t have a few haters. I endured a lot of negative comments as well as positive ones. But this is my child and I know what is best for her. She is happy, she is sleeping, and so is the rest of my family; this worked so well for us.
Do Life Your Way, And Own It!
I am breaking my people-pleasing habit because I have learned you truly cannot please everyone. I’ve realized that no matter what choice I make as a mother, wife, friend, or human, someone out there will have an issue with it. But I’ve also learned that someone is probably projecting something on me that they are unhappy with about themselves. And that’s something for them to work out for themselves, not for me to worry about.
I do life for me now. For example, I say no to baby showers because they are triggers for me. I say no to events if I’m too tired. I hired help because it works for my family. So what if I eat a bowl of cereal past 10 p.m. every night. I’m not ashamed that I don’t love cooking. The city is better than the beach. I prefer reading a book but never have time for it because I love reality TV. And you know what? I’m tired of apologizing for all of it! I now own how I run my life because what I do, in my family, for my family, only affects my family and me.
And I want this newfound confidence to rub off on my family. I want my daughters to grow up being proud of themselves. So now the language at home goes something like this.
“How was school today?”
“Good! I got an 80% on my math test.”
“Awesome, are you proud of yourself?”
“Great! That’s all that matters. I’m glad you had a good day!”
I want to teach them to be unapologetically them, do things because it makes them happy, and be proud of who they are and what they accomplish. I want the only people they worry about pleasing as they grow up to be themselves. And that’s it. No one else’s approval should matter. That’s why I’m trying to change this people-pleasing habit, for them, but mostly for me.