Welcome my friend, you’ve got this. It doesn’t seem like it now, but you will grow into motherhood just as gradually and quickly as the brand new baby you’re holding in your arms. It will become you, it already has. You just went through the most mind blowing, godawful, gorgeous, magical, frightening event of your life. No one prepared you. They kind of tried, but they forgot to use the words “blow torch” and “freight train” and “concrete drill” to describe what you might feel when your little one was born earth side.
And then they handed you a baby. Your baby. It was magic. You felt everything, and didn’t feel anything. You glimpsed heaven for a minute and you also wondered if you were feeling everything you’re “supposed to feel” in that moment.
Let’s get one thing straight right away…
There is no “supposed to”. You get to feel whatever you feel the entire way, and believe me…you will feel all of the things.
In just a couple short days they said, “Let’s check your carseat and send you home.”
You might have thought…with me?? Are you sure?? Who will help me get my latch right and make sure I’m having bowel movements??
You are beginning on a crazy, beautiful, journey and even if it doesn’t feel like it, this calling will soon fit like a glove.
In the (short) eleven years I’ve spent parenting, here are some things I’ve learned and things to expect…
1. When you try and eat anything your kids will appear. They will be like sharks who’ve smelled blood in the water. They start this the second they’re born. You put a fork in your mouth and they begin screaming like they haven’t eaten in 47 hours. When they’re older it will go like this…
What are you eating?
It doesn’t smell like nothing.
With vegetables in it.
It looks like ice cream.
I can’t really talk about it right now.
2. “I slept like a baby” is the worst saying ever. What do they mean exactly? That they woke up crying 19 times in 8 hours and each time they had to make themselves a sandwich?
You will probably sleep like crap for a long time. You might be the rare exception, but probably not. You will experience the kind of tired that makes you want to go slap your pre-parent self in the face. Just remember…this too will pass. You will sleep again (mostly, sort of). Until then coffee.
3. Take care of yourself. I mean it. No one can run on empty forever. Go on a walk, go out for drinks with the hubs or friends. Take a long bath. Trust other people with your baby. Re-fuel your soul. You can do this, but you have to treat yourself well.
4. Gift shops are a TRAP, avoid them at all cost. You must keep at least twenty yards between you and that zoo gift shop. Your kids will say, “Mom I just want to look!”
Listen to me.
THEY ARE LYING.
They will not just look. They will fall in love with a stuffed tortoise and name him Felix. Felix will cost $99.99. Before you know it you will be dragging your spawn out while they scream NO FELIX NOOOOOOOO!
It will be like a very sad movie where everyone thinks you are kidnapping your own kid.
What a fun game.
5. Making promises is almost always a terrible idea. KIDS DO NOT FORGET ANYTHING EVER.
And remember…if you promise a bike ride a rainstorm and a headache will come, it’s science.
6. If you clean the house, they will wreck it. Every time.
Daily dilemmas include:
Should I sweep so they can spill breakfast on a clean floor?
Should I vacuum the car before they throw up in it?
Should I put a clean shirt on them so that they roll in the dirt?
Should I make healthy food so they can cry about it and finally eat one bite?
7. DO. NOT. GOOGLE. EVER. When in doubt call the doctor. Don’t ever google anything unless you enjoy panic attacks in the middle of the night.
8. You will nail parenting sometimes, and other times you will completely screw up. Period. Everybody is learning and trying their best. When you win, give yourself credit for being amazing. When you lose, say sorry, and then give yourself credit for being amazing. Love covers a multitude of mistakes and remember, you aren’t alone. WE ARE ALL MAKING THEM TOGETHER.
9. Time will go so quickly and so slowly. You will love your kids so hard it will feel like an actual knife in the heart. You will also have moments where you wonder if they have boarding schools for three-year-olds. Motherhood is full of contradictions. It’s normal and emotional, roll with it.
10. Don’t forget to find a tribe. Find the moms who get it. Find the ones who won’t judge you when the floor of your suburban looks like the land fill. The ones who will get coffee (or wine) at a moments notice. Find your people. They are out there just like you. You are not alone, ever.
10. Don’t worry, you’ve got this. I promise. You don’t need to be perfect (no one is) and you don’t need to know everything (no one does). Don’t forget to ask for help. Give yourself a break, kiss those little cheeks, and pat yourself on the back. You’re doing just fine.
I love the quote that says…
“Behind every great kid is a mom who’s pretty sure she’s screwing it up.” (author unknown)
You aren’t the only one who doubts she has what it takes. WE ALL DO THAT, and here’s the truth:
Keep forgiving (yourself).
You are going to be a way better mom than you think.
*P.S. If anyone knows the author of the quote please enlighten me!