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letter to my younger mother self

A Chat With Myself As a New Mother

By Wendi Aarons

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/Thinkstock

About the Author

Wendi Aarons

Wendi Aarons is an award-winning humor writer and blogger who lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. You can usually find her at

Wendi Aarons is an award-winning humor writer and blogger who lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. You can usually find her at Wendi Aarons, The Mouthy Housewives or starting fistfights near the 70% off rack at Target.

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  • Eden

    July 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Tis why I am in no hurry to get my pudgy handed 14 month old out of my bed anytime soon, hehehehe.

  • Carinn @welcometothemotherhood

    July 3, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I’ll wake up and wonder where everyone is. And why nobody needs me.

    Being a mom to a 16 month old and a 3.3 year old, this sounds like music to my ears. And it brings tears to my eyes. Thanks for being only a little bit condescending (just kidding, you were totally over the top with your patronizing superiority!!). Either way, my kids will be very happy to get extra hugs, kisses and cuddles today.

    • Carinn (again)

      July 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      Ok, I re-read and I’m not sure it came off the way I intended. I really loved your post and I truly enjoy the reminder to soak up every second of this fleeting time. It can be a challenge to stay present.

      Baby’s morning nap was cut short – that always makes me cranky. Sorry!

      • Wendi

        July 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm

        Thanks, Carinn.

        When I had little ones, I remember older moms constantly telling me “Enjoy it! It won’t last long!” and wanting to punch them to the ground. But now I get it. It seems endless and exhausting when you’re in the thick of things, but it passes. The biggest help is getting back to a normal sleep schedule.

        • Elena

          July 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm

          I think it’s all about the timing… when my baby’s wailing and sick and miserable and I’m sleep deprived I don’t quite appreciate people telling me to “enjoy every moment”… (and I want to punch the living daylights out of them)… but I do make a conscious effort when she’s cute and cuddly and laughing her little peals of baby laughs to enjoy those special moments, because she is changing so fast it’s almost unbelievable and each little special moment is worth capturing.

  • Brenda

    July 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    OMG, thanks for the little reminder.  Brought tears to my eyes.  As a new mom to twins (now 13 months old) with many a day all alone, I’ve only recently begun to cherish all the face pats and hugs and slobbery kisses I get to receive EVERY day.  Too soon they will be teenagers that will hug me once a week (hopefully!) or on special occasions.  So, meh, the house is clean enough, lunch is good enough, lets go to the park and run around.

  • When I Blink

    July 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Very sweet!

  • Jamie Lee

    July 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks, Wendi. I needed a good cry.

  • jelourai

    July 3, 2012 at 9:01 pm

       “You’ll sometimes go to sleep feeling like a horrible mother.

       You’ll always wake up knowing that you’re not.”

    I really needed to hear this today.  I am so, so tired but can’t wait to wake up to my little guy.

    Beautiful article.

  • Marinka

    July 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    This is the best thing I’ve read all week.  Really wonderful, Wendi.

  • The Flying Chalupa

    July 4, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Loved seeing this side to you, Wendi.  And how did you know about the nursing bra?

  • Bridget

    July 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I gotta say, this whole thing just brought tears to my eyes. My son is 12 and will be 13 in October. My daughter will be 11 this month. Years. 13 and 11 years. My son’s voice is changing, my daughter is wearing a bra. They get mad at me or embarrassed when I want a hug in public (god forbid!). I have great kids, though. They’re thoughtful, sweet, and they still make me homemade gifts. But sometimes all I can do is sit and look at their “tween” faces and wonder… how did this all happen so quickly? Ah, yeah, I guess I needed a good cry too! Time to break out the pictures!

  • Autumn

    July 11, 2012 at 1:49 am

    My baby is 10 months old and I admit I’m having a bit of a difficulty time giving up my BABY!  But then we throw a sleep regression in, so I”m having many more opportunities to snuggle her at all hours, and I realize how wonderful yet fleeting these moments are.  And yes, I would give up the 1 AM moments for a good nights sleep, because at 8 AM she will have a much happier mommy

  • Random Nennie

    July 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Best read in a long time. Brought tears to my eyes … and here I think my newly one year old is “OLD”! :p