Seriously though, a friend and I were chatting about confidence the other day. And she got me to thinking about the ever elusive concept. I know what confidence is, theoretically speaking anyways. But why do some peeps have so much of it and others (like moi, for example) seem to fall a bit shorter in supply? If some folks have it in spades, how do the rest of us less well-endowed people get a better hold on its slippery reins? The short answer is: I don't know. (And given the recent blow to my confidence, I'm probably the last person who should be writing about it!) In that vein, the long answer is also likely to be: I don't know. But I nevertheless think it's worth at least a bit of rumination.
I think I tend to start out most days feeling reasonably confident. Kind of like Maria before she sees the Vonn Trapp mansion. I'm emotionally fresh (well, fresher let's say), having slept (okay, maybe not slept, but at least become temporarily horizontal) on whatever myriad of mistakes, missteps and oopsies I've managed to step in the day before. I think to myself, "Self - I have a masters degree. I am a smarty-smarty-smarty pants. If I can wrangle and wrestle (and deconstruct, naturally!) several postmodern philosphers at the same time, surely I can figure out how to wrangle some kiddies, clean the house, throw in a load of laundry, buy some groceries and squeeze in a clever blog?"
You can be sure the internal dialogue at the end of the day is slightly less, well, kind. It's getting through the whole (long) day with that same level of confidence that seems to be the real challenge. Little things happen throughout the day that chip away at my confidence. I lose my patience here, deal with a tantrum poorly there, can't get my house clean, can't get my brain uncluttered, can't think of anything to write, or can think of something to write but can't get it out in any intelligent way, can't get supper underway with kids underfoot, feel guilty for wanting kids not underfoot... this list drones on, the confidence goes down. But the end of the day, I'm not ashamed to say I feel a little, well, downtrodden sometimes. Sort of lacking in faith that I've gotten anything right in the day's adventures in parenting and writing and just general living. It's probably no accident that you can't get a master's degree in say parenting, or in just general living. Because that shit is seriously tricky. Trickier than Foucault, that's for sure. Trickier than Habermas. Maybe even trickier than Judith Butler. (And yes, I do know that you have to be seriously, seriously nerdy to get those references. In my former life I was a nerd. Hardcore. I aspire to be a nerd again some day.)
All that being said - I think I'd rather be little old down-a-pint-of-confidence me than be the opposite, particularly in regards to parenting. I feel like it's far better to think, re-think, second-guess, and reevaluate on a fairly regular basis than to blow through decisions assuming I must be right. Because underconfidence notwithstanding, I have this perennial niggling suspician that I'm often a bit, you know, off the mark. You can say I have a 'poor self-esteem' (blah blah blah) until the cows come home - but I kind of feel like a little bit of self-doubt might be an important part of this living (and especially parenting) business. We only really get one go at it (parenting and life both). I'd like to try to be a bit conscientious, and do as little damage as I possibly can. Leave as little footprint (or baggage) as I can, metaphorically speaking.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe being a little bit of a mess at the end of the day actually makes a bit of sense...
So to return to the initial question of how we might get more confidence?
Short answer: Still don't know.
Long answer: Still don't know.
Bloggy postulation: Is it really that important?