A Chat With Myself As a New Mother
Hey, you! Yeah, you. The frazzled-looking mother staggering through the grocery store with a screaming baby in her cart, a toddler at her heels and both flaps of her nursing bra unhooked. C’mere for a minute. Just a minute. No, no don’t worry—I’ll have you home in time for afternoon naptime, I promise. I promise!
Now, guess who I am? I’m you in ten years! Isn’t that crazy!? I don’t know how it’s possible that we’re talking, either, but I’m really happy we are because I have some things to say. You see, I’m older than you. Which means I’m wiser than you. And also wrinklier, but let’s not dwell on that. But because I’m older than you, I have some advice you need to listen to. Sage, thoughtful, motherly advice like this:
Calm the hell down.
Listen, I know you’re completely overwhelmed by young motherhood, but you really need to relax and enjoy this time. I mean it. It’s just a blip in your children’s lives. A blip. Because those pudgy little hands that are constantly grabbing for you will soon be preschool hands. Then kindergarten hands. Then hands that spend hours texting their friends. And one day soon, those hands will no longer be clutching onto yours when you cross the street. And oh my God will you miss it.
Yes, I realize you’re not getting much sleep these days, but those long nights of midnight feedings, cries for water and scary monsters that send little bodies running to your bed for safety? They’ll pass. One bright Saturday morning, you’ll wake up alone in your bed after eight hours of sleep and wonder where everyone is. And why nobody needs you. And like most things in a mother’s life, it’ll be a mixed-blessing.
You’ll listen to the experts and expose your first son to every type of food imaginable. He’ll grow up and only eat things that are beige. You’ll ignore the experts and let your second son choose his own food. He’ll always choose salad.
You’ll cry your eyes out at preschool graduation and the first day of kindergarten, but revel in seven glorious hours of freedom a day when they’re in school. These are the hours when you’ll start projects and a career and finally feel like an adult again. But no matter what you accomplish or who you become, the best part of your day will still be at 3:00 p.m. when the school bus pulls up to the curb and you hear four little feet pounding up the front walk to find you.
You’ll sometimes go to sleep feeling like a horrible mother.
You’ll always wake up knowing that you’re not.
Everyone will eventually become potty trained, nobody will suffer permanent damage from watching TV and your baby who was the last to crawl in playgroup will grow up to be the fastest base runner on the ten-year-old All Star team. And for the love of God, stop starving yourself because those pre-pregnancy jeans will still be in style by the time you can zip them up again.
I hope you understand that you’re doing the best you can right now. You really are. But all of the tears, the worrying, the agonizing, the self-doubt? Useless. Trust me, I know more than anyone how much you love those babies. And that overwhelming love is what will make them grow into two amazing, wonderful kids who think they have the best mommy in the world.
I’d like to spend a few minutes telling you about the PTO and a few other things you should avoid, but it looks like you need to get home for naptime. I hope that I helped you put your crazy life into perspective. Just remember that no matter how bad it may seem now, you’re going look back on this time with a sweet longing. So please, take what I said to heart and embrace today. Enjoy today. Then kiss those little chubby cheeks for me and hug those little bodies tight.
And also, don’t forget to hook your nursing bra.
Photo source: BananaStock/ThinkstockPublished July 2, 2012. Last updated October 29, 2017.