Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.
– Dr Robert Anthony
I don't think it ever occurred to me how much fear there is in leadership. I've never wanted to be the leader because frankly, I've never felt like I knew more than anyone else. And I didn't want to be blamed for things going poorly or live with the guilt of unintentionally leading others astray. I think I'm beginning to understand that willing or not, there may be those who need me to be a leader (#mancub), and knowing all the answers up-front isn't part of the gig. "Fearless" isn't in the job description. "Ability to act in spite of uncertainty" and "embraces the inevitability of mistakes" are required.
I've been waiting to feel sure. Waiting to know what's best. Hoping the answers will come naturally on my optimistic days, and assuming there are none on my bad days. My lack of certainty makes me wary to the point of paralysis. I have buried my head in the sand on things like carseats, solid food, vaccines, infant sleep, scheduling…the list goes on. If it's controversial or anything but obvious, I've been overwhelmed and avoided it. When I don't know what's "best" I flounder. My action is inaction. Mostly I just react to Phoenix.
Essentially, I've been a pretty timid mother.
The Outcome: Phoenix has had to direct his own parent. He's had to lead. And while I may be fairly incapable as a newbie mom, I'm probably better equipped to lead than my six-month-old.
• I don't know whether vaccines are healthy or unhealthy.
• I don't know whether it really matters to have an unexpired carseat with all the adaptors and UV protection.
• I don't know when it's best to start offering solid foods and whether or not they should be organic.
• I don't know if babies should sleep through the night in their own bed without coping accessories by six months.
I don't know.
But neither does he. And one of us needs to decide. We have to take some action.
So I've taken on the role. Not because I know. Not because I'm sure I'm right. But because I'm the leader. One of us has to be, and it's not fair to put the burden on him, so I can avoid the guilt/embarrassment/fear/stress of being wrong.
I hope it goes without saying that I'm not claiming that my carseat and stroller are the best (I'm obsessed with them though). I'm not going to make any claims about when a baby should stop eating or waking at night. Solid food is a total experiment right now. I'm simply offering him A WAY not THE WAY, because we were wandering aimlessly and it was taking it's toll.
For now, A WAY is better than none for us.
Honestly, the transition in leadership wasn't effortless or smooth. Night one was a lot of tears. Meal one was a big mess. It took me 3 hours to assemble a stroller correctly. But I find this message ever comforting.
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher
And at least for the past 6 or 7 days, "tomorrow" gets a little easier. We gain a little more confidence. We adjust.
I'm faking it till I make it, being the boss for both our sakes, even though I feel unqualified. I'm learning uncertain doesn't actually mean unqualified, and uncertainty isn't justification for reluctance.