Since I became a mom in 2015, I have probably doubted myself more times than I can remember.
I doubted that I could take care of a baby and write a book. I doubted that I could get articles published. I doubted that I could make any money from writing. I doubted that I would get into grad school. I doubted I’d survive my first semester.
Since going back to school, I’ve had moments where I’ve been pulled in a million different directions. Like I have split personalities that all do battle with each other and vie for my time and attention. They make me question my decisions and doubt myself.
Mom-me enjoys the arts and crafts (I really do!) and the cuddles and the cooking dinner and playing games. Mom-me tends to feel guilty when other things take time away from my family.
Student-me enjoys learning and interacting with my classmates and sharing ideas, even if I’m hesitant to speak up (I’d rather write it!) and be heard. Student-me loves being back in school, but insists on school being the number one priority, which means other writing gets pushed to the back burner.
Writer-me has been enjoying school, too, though. But writer-me struggles to find balance between school writing, working on books, working on blogs, and keeping up with my social media. Writer-me tries, though, because I love all these activities.
I hate saying goodnight to my husband and my kid right after dinner so I can lock myself off in our office and log on to my online class. I guess I worry that I might miss out on something, I don’t know.
I’m enjoying my classes. My writing has been completely reinvigorated. I feel like I’m doing something for ME. And I’m hopeful that it will lead me to something… I don’t know what… when the time is right.
I recently got an e-mail from a high school classmate, someone I bumped into last year and someone I talk to on Facebook. It was written so politely and formally that at first, I thought she had been hacked. But then she explained that she was trying to set some goals for herself and was looking for a coach of sorts, a person who would check in with her every so often and hold her accountable for her actions.
Immediately, I thought, “I can’t help her… I’m just a mom. I just sit here at home and write. What else do I do? Why in the world would she ask me, of all people?”
A few days passed and I needed to respond to her; I didn’t want to leave her hanging. I read her message again, wondering why, of all people, she reached out to me.
Then one sentence in her email stood out: I have seen what you have accomplished and I really respect that you know what you want and you get it.
I thought about it. What is she talking about? What have I accomplished? All I did was quit my job to write a couple books that I’m still editing and sending out to agents. Somewhere along the way I decided to go back to school. And even though I’m exhausted and unsure, I’m loving every second of it.
And that was when I realized, I had to write back to her and offer to be there for her. Because ANYBODY CAN DO THAT. Anybody can go after what they want!
I thought, I’m not anybody special just because I decided to set some goals for myself and pursue a dream of mine.
Or… am I? Are we?
And if she was doubting herself, then maybe she needed someone to believe in her the way my husband, friends, and family have believed in me.
It takes a brave person to fight back against niggling self-doubt. It’s hard to stop second-guessing yourself and actually take those first steps to getting what you want. Whether it’s taking a few classes or working towards a degree, starting a new hobby or a side hustle… If you can take that first step, you’re on your way!
And then, once the dust settles, you’ve got to figure out what comes next. Usually, during this period, the doubt starts to sneak back in. So you’ve got to squash it down again and make yourself take the next step, whatever it is.
You’ve got to keep moving forward, no matter what that annoying little voice in your head keeps telling you. That voice might be saying things like:
It’s not the right time. You don’t have enough money. You should be focusing on your kids/career/something else. You won’t get in. You won’t get the job.
You never know who’s out there watching you, cheering you on, and looking up to you. You never know who may consider you to be their inspiration.
So stop doubting and keep believing in yourself… because somebody out there believes in you. We believe in you.
Jessica Goodwin lives near Washington, D.C. with her husband, son, and their two cats. She’s written four novels and her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Baby Gaga, Chocolate & Chaos, Tribe Magazine, Mamalode, and in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Sleep when the baby sleeps? Nope, she’s writing. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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