I often think about when I will eventually show this blog to you. I want to be old enough to appreciate the nostalgia, but not so old that I won't remember anything if you ask me a question about something you read. Maybe it will be when you turn 21 ... maybe it will be when you get pregnant with your first child ( if you so choose to have children). Whenever it is I hope it is before you have your first child so you too can read and appreciate this blog entry I found yesterday. I found it purely on circumstance - not a blog I typically follow. But it's so perfectly describes how I have been feeling these first few months of motherhood. I read this entry and damn near cried- it felt like someone finally understood and could put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) as to what I was feeling. Motherhood is like this exclusive club that you never fully understand until you're in it. But once you are in you gain the whole new level of appreciation for all the other mothers out there especially yours. I hope that you get out of this what I did - it's okay to not be superwoman. Whatever you are doing is probably great and probably exactly what your baby needs.
To the mom of a newborn
I am freeing you today.
I am freeing you from everything that you think you need to be doing.
I am freeing you from needing to have your house spotless, meals prepared, perfectly done hair, and a to-do list with everything checked off. (Oh yes, by the way, that to-do list will never ever happen so just prepare yourself for that.)
I am freeing you from scrolling through pinterest or facebook or looking through those glossy colored magazines and you deciding that the only way to be a good mom is to have all of that stuff done.
I am freeing you from looking at the mom with many kids and wondering why she seems to have it together and you’re struggling to just get the dishes in the dishwasher.
You, right now, do not need to worry about any of the should have’s, the could have’s, the need to do’s, the stuff that we all think motherhood is about. You don’t need to sit in your living room wondering why taking care of this creature that you waited for what feels like forever feels so ridiculously hard.
Instead, listen. Listen, you have a newborn.
You have a newborn.
A wake up whenever they want to, cry without you knowing what they want, eat all the time, poop all the time, spit up, change their clothes what feels like a million times, rock in the rocking chair, pace the living room dancing, burping, little creature that needs you all the time.
Do not worry about the other stuff right now. I know, I know, it feels like a fog – it feels like you’re underwater swimming and needed all the time – and the truth is? That is exactly what it is. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Don’t feel guilt about not savoring every single moment, but because, really, you just need to get through every single moment. This is a time in your life when you will be pushed to your limits mentally and physically. You’ll want sleep more than anything and will dream about just getting a fifteen minute catnap. You’ll eat in spurts and will have laundry behind and well, you’ll give and give and give.
Do. not. compare.
Don’t look at the mom with many kids and wonder how in the world she has it all together when you feel like you can barely roll out of your bed in the morning. Do you know why? Because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, honestly, if you feel like she has it all together. Do you know what matters?
What you’re doing right now.
It’s a season. A very short season that when you’re in the middle feels like it will take forever to get through. It’s a time in life where the days are blurred together and yet passing by. And you will get through. You will simply get through. That newborn will grow, will start smiling, will start sleeping through the night (can we just all stand up collectively and cheer?), will start becoming more independent, and you will grow with them. Don’t forget that. You are learning to mother, you are learning about your sweet child and their nuances, and you are growing stronger.
Some day, sweet mother with the newborn, you will be in the spot where I am remembering these days. I look at my life and think about how it’s been four years (look at those pics of my Samuel) since I’ve had a newborn in my house, and yet, oh my goodness, I can still remember how exhausting it truly was during those days. And you will know, you will remember, and you will tell that mom with the newborn the same thing. You will tell her how important it is to accept help, to sleep, to not care about minutia, to overpack the diaper bag, and to learn to trust herself.
No one can teach another how to mother – it is simply something learned – it’s an ebb and flow, trial and error, pick up and do it again, and most beautiful thing. Don’t forget that. Even though it may just feel like what you’re doing doesn’t really matter or that you’re out of breath or that you just wish sometimes for a moment to have a break or that you’re not doing a great job or that all you want is sleep – it all matters.
So, from me to you, I stand up and tell you that you are doing an amazing thing right now in the very normal giving of self. Yes, you right now, in a home that feels that it might have turned just a bit upside down.
You’ll find your new routine. You’ll get sleep. Well, maybe.
You are mother.
Now, onward, sweet mom with the newborn.
You are amazing.
And one day, one day you’ll wake up not so tired, you’ll look at that baby that’s grown, that baby that you rocked and rocked and sang to you, and you’ll think I did it. Because you will do this.