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Dear Mom, I love you but I’m going to do things differently

I will always be your baby, but I have my own babies now. Please let me be the mother I think they need.

Dear Mom, I love you but I’m going to do things differently

Dear Mom,

Let me start by making sure you know two things:


1. I love you. You are my mother, and nothing will ever replace that.

2. Thank you. I understand—now more than everhow much you did, and still do, for me. You sacrificed for me, loved me with every ounce of your being, and tried so very hard, each and every day. I will always, always be grateful for that.

But now that Im a mom, I need to tell you something: I am going to do things differently.

In most cases, my different parenting choices are nothing more than a reflection of the time that has passed since you had small children. We know so much more now, just like you knew so much more than your mother did when she was raising you.

So when I make different choices, please don’t feel like I am attacking you or your parenting. I am just doing the best I can with the information I have—just like you did.

When I tell you that we buy hormone free milk and meat, I am not saying that you didn’t do a good job feeding me. I just can’t unhear the recent research that says it’s probably better for my kids.

When I ask you to put the baby to sleep on her back, I am not accusing you of jeopardizing my safety when you put me to sleep on my tummy. I just can’t ignore the most recent guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

It’s also just a different time.

I know you think it’s silly, but I have to schedule playdates if I want my kids to socialize with other children—I know we could just run out the door and play with the neighborhood kids until sunset, but it’s just not like that anymore.

Parenting knowledge and philosophies have changed a lot in the last 30 years, so the way I raise my children is going to look very different. And if my children choose to become parents, their parenting is going to look different than mine! For now, here’s what I’m going to do:

I will teach my children it’s okay to make mistakes. That love is not dependent on being perfect or agreeable. In our family, love flows freely, even when we are really mad at each other. Our home is a safe place to vent and talk back—it is my job to love them no matter what.

I will teach my children what healthy relationships look like. I will show them through example that it’s okay to disagree with your partner, as long as you do it respectfully. It’s okay (and even good) for parents to prioritize each other other sometimes. It’s okay to ask questions about boyfriends and sex and body parts and everything else that feels uncomfortable—because who else would I want them to ask?

I will teach my children about self-respect. I will talk positively about myself in front of them so I can role model confidence. I will pursue a career and hobbies that I love, and encourage them to do the same, regardless of what the world says in response. I will teach them to stand up for themselves—even if it means standing up to me.

I will teach my children that difficult emotions are normal. It’s okay to just be sad sometimes. It’s okay to talk about sad things. Not every problem has a solutions—sometimes life it just hard.

I am going to try to love my children the way they need to be loved. Just because I express love in words, doesn’t mean that’s how they feel it. So I will be tuned in to how they need to be loved, and I will do my best to adapt. I will show an interest in their interests, even if that changes weekly.

I am going all-in on affection. I am not spoiling the baby by picking her up when she cries at night. I am not making my toddler too needy by hugging him every time he cries. I am going to hug them every chance I get.

Mom, if I’ve learned one thing about motherhood so far it’s that in every moment, you just do the best you can do—and you did so much right for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. I am grateful for you every day.

I am going to make mistakes—a lot. But they need to be my mistakes, on my terms. I will always be your baby, but I have my own babies now. Please let me be the mother I think they need.

And one day, I hope you and I can sit back and watch my children raise their children, making their own mistakes. Hopefully they’ll feel lucky that, in spite of the imperfections, they had me for a mom—the same way I feel about you.

Love,

Your daughter

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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