A Letter To A New Mom
My best friend just had a baby and I am welcoming her into motherhood with some advice she didn’t ask for. Love you Bubby!
Dearest New Mommy,
As I look around me today, I notice that things seem to fall into place more easily. The dinner gets made way more often, the house looks bearable, I smell decent most of the times and I am not cleaning any baby bottoms. But it wasn’t always like this.
For the first year of my baby’s life I was a total mess. I spent most of my time, stumbling through this motherhood thing. Not knowing if she is crying because she needs be held, or fed or changed. Not knowing if I am holding or feeding or changing her often enough. And not know if this seemingly unending loop of holding/feeding/changing will ever end. But now that it’s been almost three years. I can assure you that IT WILL. I promise, it will!
The problem with me was well, ME. My expectations from myself. These unrealistic hopes that I had from myself- probably came from years of perusing Good Living and looking at images of celebrities who don’t look anything like most new moms. Motherhood is portrayed as something perfect, something with a glow around it. Those are the images the magazines give us, because those are the images that sell. No one wants to buy and read something that talks about all the gory stuff. I sure don’t, but that is what creates this image of motherhood being easy doesn’t it?
Certainly, the external factors affect how we should feel about ourselves but more importantly it is the person within us that defines how we feel on any given day. And my days in the first year, I felt anything but good about myself.
Gia is an easy going toddler but she was not an easy baby. She never slept for more than two hours at a stretch until she was 6 months old. I was always sleep deprived and cranky. I would look in the mirror and be alarmed to see a much older-looking haggard woman staring back at me. I would hold myself to these unachievable standards and feel unjustifiably depressed when I couldn’t deliver. I would make elaborate plans for when the baby would nap only to fall asleep from sheer exhaustion and wake up two hours later when the hubby walked in through the door.
I was (am) lucky to have a spouse who would wake me up, kiss me good evening, roll up his sleeves and ask me what needed to be done. And that’s what dads are for. Give him more credit than you do right now. Let him do stuff for you and with you. You will discover a new kind of love for your partner. More importantly you will discover a new kind of sexy in men. The kind that changes diapers, that looks really good doing dishes with the sleeves of his office shirt rolled up, the kind that tells you, “you look amazing!” even when you have baby food goop in your hair. I could go on, but most moms are already salivating by this point.
Being a MOM is a job and it is much like any other job. When you start out, there is a steep learning curve. But after a while it does start getting better. There are days when you get a lot done, there are days that are a total mess and then there are days when you basically coast along.
The key really is giving yourself a break. I am not saying that the dishes are always done, I am not saying that they’re piled up sky high every single day either. I am saying that it’s a mix and that I am ok with it. The best part however, about this mom thing is- No matter how well you plan things, there is always something else in store for you. And the beauty is letting go and grasping that sometimes those other plans that are far better than your own.