Even though some of my mothering skills came naturally, like realizing I could nurse my newborn son, Conrad, while walking up the spiral staircase, my confidence as a new mom was hard-won. I always assumed there was a book, or a gadget, or one of Angelina Jolie’s nannies, who knew how to do everything better than I could. Worse, I thought my lack of mothering-nerve was a blemish on the image of the perfect mom I wanted to be. (I hadn’t yet realized that trying to be perfect was ridiculous.) I kept my insecurities to myself and continued to shop for stuff I didn’t need and buy tomes that were better used as stacking blocks.