That means you’re now tasked with 24-hour work days that go unpaid, even though you swore your last day of working for free ended with that crappy college internship. And this time, instead of getting coffee or filing paperwork for men in suits, you’re asked to sustain a life. But not just sustain that life; you must mold this miniature version of yourself into a functioning member of society. You need to keep them healthy, grow their minds, and make sure not to give them any sort of complexes they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives (no pressure). Don’t forget about the cleaning of poop or spit up off every surface in your home; the bouts of crying you can’t seem to rectify; and the sleep deprivation. Oh, the sleep deprivation. Who knew that taking care of a tiny human would require such immense effort? The suggestion people gave you while pregnant to “nap when the baby naps,” is comical, since you now know being a mama doesn’t coincide with your babe’s sleep cycles. Your baby napping means you get thirty minutes to do something like, I don’t know, shower, eat a sandwich, or maybe even write a blog post. You know, those real luxury items (insert sarcasm). And for those days where you find yourself hiding out in your room, pretending to look for something to get some “me time,” while simultaneously questioning your decision on creating a life, I offer you some gentle reminders:
The moment you’re in will not last forever. Your baby will, at some point, sleep through the night; you won’t always have to revolve your day around nap-times; “witching hours” will subside; teething will complete its arduous process; and diapers will become a thing of the past. So, in the meantime, enjoy those 2am baby snuggles, and reach out for assistance where you need it, whether that be in the form of a sleep consultant, baby sitter, or noise-canceling headphones. It will only be a matter of time before we look back at these days and wish they hadn’t gone by as quickly as they do.
The perfect mom doesn’t exist. She just doesn’t, so go ahead and rid your mind of that expectation. At some point during your parenting journey, you will do the things “they” say you shouldn’t do, because guess what? You’re human. You will feed your kid Goldfish and blueberries for dinner because it was a long day and you don’t have the energy to cook and/or fight your toddler. You’ll get frustrated with your child, yell at them, and say something you don’t really mean. You’ll shove an iPad in their face and choose screen time to occupy your kid while you finish writing thank you cards that are already three months too late. You’ll drop the pacifier on the ground and give it directly to your screaming baby versus washing it off. You’ll make decisions that determine the well-being of your child while functioning off 3 hours of sleep. And sometimes, you won’t get to your ridiculously long to-do list, and your biggest achievement of the day will be that you all made it through, relatively unscathed.
You are not alone. No matter what your current trial or tribulation is, remember that there are millions of other women who are on your team. Yes, you and your baby are special and unique, but there is always another mama out there who has dealt with, or is dealing with, the same headache you are. You’d be surprised how many moms really want to talk about the ugly side of mama-ing. We’re just waiting for someone to bring up their struggles so we can chime in and validate our own feelings, while offering our best advice to those in need. And don’t be fooled by the veil that some moms hang to make it look like their world is rainbows and flowers. Even roses have thorns.
This quote by Cardinal Meymillod sums it up perfectly: “A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” In those moments of quiet you find yourself in, as you watch your newborn sleep in your arms and see the rise and fall of their chest as they slumber, so comfortable and safe in their mama’s embrace, think of that quote. Whenever you have a moment of self-doubt, staring blankly at a wall while wondering, “why did I do this?” or “I can’t do this anymore,” know this: your child thinks you are the most incredible person on this planet. Whether they are four weeks or four years old, YOU are their superhero. YOU are irreplaceable. You are mom: food-sourcer, boo boo-healer, tummy-tickler, goodnight-kisser, and purveyor of unconditional love.
Being a mom is a never-ending, and often thankless, job, but I’m here to say THANK YOU and YOU’RE INCREDIBLE. You are raising the next generation of movers and shakers who will impact this world and change the course of history for centuries to come. Mamas get one day a year to be truly celebrated, so my wish for you is that your Mother’s Day is whatever you want it to be. That may mean a day spent with your family, or it may mean alone time at a hotel, being pampered, and possibly an overnight stay with an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep (honestly, that sounds like the ultimate dream).
Cheers to you mama – you got this,