As a mom, I come in contact with lots of other moms. Via my blog, mom’s groups, or even just out and about with my children. Some moms I know, some I don’t. We’ll share experiences, trade advice, and now and then someone will come to you (or you to them) for a shoulder.
You know what I’ve learned about 99% of us? We’re harder on ourselves than we should be. We think we aren’t doing enough for our kids even if we spend all our waking hours doing for them. Should we work? Should we stay home? Should they be eating that? Should they be acting like that? We question EVERYTHING. Stop by an in person or online mom’s meetup. I guarantee you someone will be questioning the normalcy of poop, sleep, and eating habits. Often within the same two-minute time span. I mean really, when else in your life have you ever worried about someone else’s poop?
You know what else I hear moms saying to each other often? “I don’t know how you do it.” I’ve said it. I’ve had it said to me. How do we do it? How do we handle multiple children, stay home with them all day? How do you do it? Work full-time and come home and still give your child(ren) everything you have? We do it because we love our kids. We survive the tough moments the best way we know how. Dedication, sweat, tears, triumphs.
New moms often ask me when it gets better. That question is a double-edged sword. Yes, the time between meals gets longer, the sleep at night lengthens. But when your baby needs you less, you often need them more. You will miss nights when your baby wanted nothing more than the comfort of your heartbeat resting below his ear. When your toddler rejects your hug, it stings. You remember when she wanted to be with mommy all day, and now she marches right up to someone else and barely looks back.
There will be battles in every stage. As a new mom, you long for the days of old when your life was your own. Yes, you love this new life, this tiny being. But you mourn for careless nights and days when your decisions were based on your desires, not someone else’s. When you’re children start to reach for more independence, you’ll want your baby back. You’ll gladly take sleeplessness nights in exchange for cuddles.
And the teenage years – I’m glad I haven’t reached those. I remember the brat I could be. And I can imagine it created many tears for my mother. Tears I pray my children don’t bring me, but I know that they will. They’ll stretch for more independence. They will learn by making mistakes bigger than crayon on the walls or a fall from a swing. They’ll become adults and I will mourn for my babies as I wonder how I ever had a life without my children taking up every moment of it. See how it is? Always longing for what was…
You’re doing okay mama. If you love your children and you give love, support, shelter, encouragement, nourishment…you’re doing a good job. Pat yourselves on the back, encourage each other. Don’t waste time cutting yourselves down or let the world tell you that you’re not enough. You are. Enjoy these days and all that lie ahead.
Motherhood can be a beautiful ride when we let go and enjoy it…