Wednesday, May 9, 2012

my letter to new moms, or "you aren't really failing at this mothering thing"

so, i've decided that maybe that whole "series" thing isn't for me...seeing as how i didn't manage to keep up with it at all! ...sorry about that...

instead, i'm going back to just writing.
definitely less stressful on my part, and hopefully more entertaining on your end of things :0)

so, with that said...

mother's day is sunday.
i am by no means an expert on mothering (i'm sure you're surprised that my 5 years haven't made me an expert...ha!)

in honor of mother's day i'm writing a couple of letters. this first one is to new moms out there, so if you know any send them my way, okay? also, for all those moms with way more experience than i have, feel free to add to this letter. i would love to hear what you have to say!

dear worn out, exhausted, beautiful new mom,

you may not believe it, but you really are amazing.
really--i mean it!
i know how hard it gets, how often you look at that little one and think:
i have no idea what i'm doing!
i'm never going to get this kid through to adulthood...
where did all my time go?
how can such a little person create such a huge mess?!
i wonder if i'll be driving the poor kid to therapy...
i sure wish they would genetically engineer vegetables to taste like chocolate.
God, are You sure You want to trust me with this whole little person?!
surely she can't have all my bad traits...

sometimes you get caught off guard by how much life has changed:
will i ever be alone in the bathroom again?
has it really been a week since i took a shower?!
if surewould be nice to have one shirt without baby stains...
when did i start talking about poopy diapers?
i never knew i could survive on such little sleep...
if another human being touches me, i'm going to scream!

in the middle of all that,
stop. take a breath.

no, you're not doing everything perfectly (as i'm sure everyone from well-meaning family members to complete strangers are quick to point out). 
you know what?
i'm willing to bet that there has never,
in the history of the world,
been a mother who did. mary didn't even have a perfect mothering record--she lost her kid for 3 days--and she was dealing with the Perfect Son!

you're going to mess up from time to time. your precious little one is going to break down in the middle of the grocery store and other people are going to give you "the look."
you're going to go out in public in clothes wet from baby pee...and it will happen on the one day you bothered to put on real clothes.
you'll lose your temper.
you'll slip up and say something you shouldn't.
you'll resort to the "sniff test" to find a shirt to wear because all that's been washed in the past month is kid clothes.
you're going to have to step away from time to time, just to keep your sanity.

through all that,
stop. be still.

it will be okay if the kitchen is a mess because somebody wanted to cuddle on the couch--and you fell asleep.
someday, you really will get a bathroom break by yourself.
that little one really will turn out okay, despite your imperfections and mistakes.
there will be at least one time that someone tells you how well-behaved your little one is... may be followed 5 seconds later by an explosion of some sort from said little one, but it still counts!
one day you won't have to serve macaroni and cheese with every meal.

you are an amazing, beautiful mother, and you really are doing a good job!

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