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.
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.)
For the rest of us… take a deep breath and let it go. (Thank you, Elsa.) Keep showing up, love your best and apologize for your worst. I don’t know about you, but those are the qualities I want to see reflected in my kids anyway.
You will break their hearts.
It won’t be because you don’t love them, it will be because you won’t put a Band-Aid on their tongue, which to them is exactly the same thing.
You will dream of sleep like you would dream of a tropical vacation.
When the screaming call of duty comes at 2am, you and your partner’s interactions will be like that of adult-infants. Don’t take anything personally, and laugh about your incoherent arguments later. The middle of the night isn’t a time for maturity—it’s a time for survival.
Sometimes you might lose it.
After a rough day, you might call your partner to let them know you will be resigning your position and they may want to start looking for replacements. You will be going to an island where people do not repeat your name 16 times in every sentence and also do not cry when you don’t let them chew on their rain boots. They cannot understand you right now, but yes, they can pick up pizza and beer, which is sort of the same thing.
You will need to take time for yourself.
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.
Listen, this too will pass. When you’re in the thick of it, wondering if your life will only ever consist of sleepless nights followed by Dora the Explorer marathons, hang in there and give yourself a high-five. You are a champion.
Chase your coffee with a queen-sized chocolate muffin and phone a friend for support—you will see the light of day soon.
Grocery shopping alone will be like vacation. Target, Safeway, the gas station mart… trumpets from heaven will serenade you as you float down the aisles. You will linger over toilet paper and pretty bottles of all-purpose cleaner. Do you need a new bra? A hipster backpack? Tic Tacs?
You are alone, the world is your oyster.
You will not enjoy every moment.
You will enjoy a lot of moments, but you will not enjoy all of them. No one needs that kind of pressure. Sometimes your 2-year-old will sing “Uptown Funk” at the top of their lungs with very spotty pronunciation. This will cause you to cry with laughter and you will order them to stop growing: effective immediately.
Other times it will be three hours until bedtime and you will feel like you’re watching paint dry while someone is running their fingernails down a chalkboard.
This is the hodgepodge of emotions called “Motherhood.”
Don’t worry about the opinions—the thousands of millions of opinions.
Everyone has an opinion about raising kids. Take a deep breath. Children are more simple than you think. They want to be loved, fed and safe. Matching socks and diaper brands are not that high on their list. Choose a few things to be passionate about and let the rest go.
You can’t do everything perfectly.
Essential oils, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, organic food, dairy, gluten, teaching your infant to read, discipline techniques, sunblock, stroller brands, public school, private school, homeschool, being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom and whether or not you should live in a cavern at the base of the Himalayas as to avoid any toxic exposures…
Trust your gut and give yourself lots of grace. They’re going to be just fine and so will you.
A mom who has been there