Recently I wrote a ‘mother letter’ as a contribution to the MotherLetter Project. The letter had to begin ‘dear Mom, etc.’ but could take any form I wished. This is what I would say to a new mom. To learn more about the Project, click here.
Buckle up and get ready – you are in for the ride of your life. Motherhood is everything I ever dreamed it would be and a million things I never expected.
I knew I would love any children I had – I didn’t know I would feel as though my heart would forever exist outside my body…carried around by small people who sling it over their shoulder like a backpack.
I knew I would worry. I didn’t know the worry would sometimes be a physical pain – like lying on your back as someone sits directly on chest. I didn’t know I would worry about ALL children the way I do.
I knew I would lose sleep. I didn’t know I would think those midnight-sleepless-moments would be some of the dearest to me – snuggling a sleeping child is as close to Heaven as I have been.
I knew my kids would make me laugh. I didn’t know I would giggle like a 5 year old being tickled to death. I didn’t know that laughter would remind me what it feels like to lose your breath to a fit of chuckles.
I knew I would play with my kids. I didn’t know I would enjoy it so much. I definitely never pictured myself running and ducking around the outside of the car while parked at the gas station – all in the hopes of eliciting those high pitched kiddo giggles.
I knew I would have proud moments. I didn’t know those moments would happen almost daily (smiling, holding a crayon, writing the letter ‘M’, recognizing a flower, hitting a baseball) and I didn’t know it would feel like the pride was bubbling up under my skin, threatening to explode on the nearest person.
I figured I would ‘bond’ with other mothers. I didn’t realize that ‘bond’ would be like super-glue. Becoming a mother is a one-way ticket into a truly magnificent sisterhood. These ‘other mothers’ guide, encourage, commiserate and share with me every step of the way.
I always knew I loved my ‘alone time’. I didn’t understand the scope of ‘alone time’ until I had gone a full week without showering or using the bathroom by myself. I now know I occasionally need some time alone – it makes me a better mother.
I was positive I would stick to my list of all the things I would never say and do ‘when I was a parent’. My kids are still little and I am slowly working my way through each and every one. “Because I said so” and “Because I am the Mommy” are, in fact, reasonable things to say.
I’ve been told to appreciate each moment, but until I had my small ones, I never understood how fragile those moments could be.
I knew life would be different. I didn’t know I would never, ever again, be the same. And I am a better person for it.
Being a Mommy is a job – it is the best one you will ever have, it is the most important one you will ever have. You will learn from your children as much as you will teach them.
The key, I believe, to being extraordinary in this job, is to keep trying.