Dear Future Self,
Remember that time when you became a mom? That first moment when you held your new born son in your arms and you couldn’t stop the tears. You weren’t sure if you were crying because you were relieved that your labor was finally over or if it was because your son was just so beautiful. Remember how you wanted to just sleep and knew you should because that is what all the doctors, nurses, family, friends, and even your husband kept telling you. But, all you could do was sit there and stare at your new baby!
Then he woke up crying!
Remember how you were the one who was supposed to make him stop crying? Remember how you had no idea what to do and had to flag down a nurse to ask your 10,002 questions?
Remember how the answer is always food. Remember how everyone else who held him when he was fussy would hand him back to you telling you he was hungry. “He must be hungry”. That almost became his actual name. Solve the problem mom. Whip it out. Feed your son. He is fussy. Remember how even his own father would get the luxury of handing your crying son to you as he walked away saying “I will leave you two alone as you feed him”.
HE JUST ATE!!!
Remember when you got up all night every 2 hours to feed your new born baby and then people would come over every two hours during the day to visit. They would bring gifts and hold your sleeping baby while drinking the tea you offered and the snacks you scrounged around to make. Remember how tired you were? Remember how you tried to keep a smile on your face and say how wonderful it was to be a mother, but really you would just sit at the window rocking your baby envying anyone passing with out a baby in their arms. Even the old man walking his dog. Even the construction worker with his butt crack hanging out fixing the power lines across the street. Yup. That happened. I was jealous of a butt crack man!
Remember when you had to do all the laundry, cook all the food, take care of the baby, clean the house, teach your child to nap, entertain the relatives, make it to family functions (bringing food), and try and keep up with your childless friends. All while worrying about meeting new “mom” friends and making sure your child “socializes”.
Oh yeah, Sleep!
Remember when you decided you didn’t need to sleep anymore? It definitely made life easier. I will sleep when my kids go to school. I will sleep when my kids sleep. Ha! like that ever happens! Remember when your child started to grow and you started to freak out about everything? Remember when you would rush and “Google” ever thing that had to do with your child’s eating habits, fever, sleeping, and developmental stages? Remember when you were asked for advice from a new mom, even though you had only been a mom for a month? Remember how Proud you felt? Remember how shocked you felt when actual good honest advice came from your sleep deprived brain?
Remember these times. Remember what you went through. Remember how it felt. Remember what you most desired in those moments. Remember what you feared. Remember what you longed for.
Remember how all you wanted was:
1. Someone to come clean your house. Please just come over and let me nap while my baby naps and clean my bathrooms while you are at it. My house is a mess and I am learning a whole new skill and could really use some help with the messy annoying stuff. Bathrooms, wash the floors, wash the windows, laundry ( all three stages : clean, fold, put away).
2. Food. Please bring pre- made meals for my family. Frozen, Fresh, anything! Lunches are great too. enough said. This is key to every new moms survival. Frozen ones are great because then I could use them when my child is older and we are just having a bad day. Actually Keep the food coming. For the child’s first year of life. Keep that food coming!
3. Force me to Leave the house for 1/2 an hour with out my child. come over. Get me to feed my baby. Then make me take a shower and send me to get coffee. Even if it is just to get a cup to go. Send me out without my baby.
4. Have patience. Let me make mistakes and feel vulnerable. Being a new mom is scary. People almost always assume as soon as the baby is placed in your arms that you will know everything. Wrong! I almost feel like you go backwards. You loose brain cells you know. Children strip you of your brain cells. Let me say no and not feel guilty for not wanting to go out. I am tired and dumb. I need to just sit and rest. (At least for the first few months)
5. respect my schedule. My new world consists of nap times, feedings, diaper changes and best of all Bed Time. Please have patience with my new schedule. know that when my child is asleep I should be sleeping or showering or watching TV or reading. Nothing else. No visits. No hosting parties. No laundry. come over when my child is awake or after bed time. Also, DO NOT stay late. Come early, leave early. Anything past 9 pm is too late. I will be up all night long every two hours with a baby while you sleep all night long, just like my husband. Know that as soon as you walk out my front door I am making my way to my bed and falling asleep before my head even hits my pillow. Also, when you come over without a child to keep my crazy toddler company, know that my time will be divided and that our conversation will not get too deep:)
6. Know that I love you. Know that I still love being your friend, daughter, sister, acquaintance, wife, etc. I still want to hear your stories and be there for you when I can. Even if it is just in spirit. My time is divided but not for long. One day I will be boring again and I will have time to help you. I will have more time than i know what to do with. but for now. I am in the trenches and I just plane ol’ need help! I need you more than you need me right now. I know I did it to myself and I didn’t ask you if you wanted this (besides my husband) but I will be there for you in what ever decisions you make one day.
So Future Self, if and when your children get married and hopefully decide to have children. Come back and read this. Read this and remember what you most desired from people. Help them. Help them in a way that is actually helpful. Avoid that part of you that just wants to cuddle the baby all day. Show up at their door with a bucket full of cleaners, frozen dinners, and gift cards to actual restaurants that allow babies. Remember this when your best friends have their own kids. Remember this when neighbor does.
Remember when it took you 12 hours to write this because your children kept interrupting your train of thought because they needed something? Do not just remember all the good times. Remember the trenches. Remember the battles. Not just the war. Motherhood is amazing but not always wonderful. Motherhood is fulfilling but not always filled with Joy. Motherhood is exciting and ever changing but it is also scary. Motherhood is never boring, but sometimes it is.
My goal is to remember the trenches and most importantly, how I got out.
Lost in the trenches of toddler-hood
p.s Remember that time when your son was 6 months old and you found out you were pregnant with baby number two? Remember how you just needed a hug. Go, give some pregnant mom holding a baby in her arms and nice hug. Ask for his phone number and show up when that baby is born and be helpful! BE HELPFUL!!