It was the kind of day that by 4 pm you just hope and pray you’ll make it through to bedtime without losing your temper.
As soon as I put the kids to bed, I got a text from my friend, who is due with her first baby in a week or so. “I’m scared I’m going to fail at this whole mom thing,” she wrote. “How do you do it and make it look so easy?”
I sat there for a good ten minutes staring at that text and thinking about how my day, to me at least, seemed anything other than easy. I didn’t want to be flippant and dismiss her fears, because I remember feeling the same way before my oldest child was born. But, I knew that what I really wanted to say to her, to all new moms, was more than I could say in a text. So, I pulled out the pretty stationery that had been gathering dust on my bookshelf and wrote her a letter.
Hi, Sweet Mama!
I’m so excited for you to welcome your new baby into the world soon. It’s going to be an amazing time, but I know it’s still scary. I wanted to share with you some of the things I wish I had known when I was a new mom. Take them with a grain of salt, because our journeys are all our own, but know that you will never be alone. I’m here for you. Always.
First things first…the pain of childbirth? You’ll forget it. Even though you’re going to feel like your body is being turned inside out at the time, you really will forget the feel of the pain. I promise. What no one tells us is that childbirth is actually the easiest part of parenting.
Once your precious new baby is in your arms, life itself will be flipped on its head. You’re going to go through moments of elation and then deep down into pits of worry. Your hormones will be crazy for a good, long while and your body will ache with exhaustion, but I’m here to tell you that it’s all worth it. You might find yourself sitting on the sofa one day, holding your baby, and suddenly sobbing with the weight of it all. It’s okay. We’ve all had those moments when we realize we have absolutely no idea how to raise a child – and yet one has been entrusted to us. It’s terrifying…and amazing. The amazing outweighs the rest.
I want you to know that you’re going to compare yourself to other moms. They’re always going to seem like they have it more together than you. They don’t. You’ll think they have infinite amounts of patience and never lose it. They lose it too. You’re going to feel inadequate, unsure, and more scared of uncertainty than you ever have before. Those other moms do, too.
You see, at the end of the day, we’re all the same. We’re all just trying to do the best we can and raise our children to be kind people. Somedays, mothering is like herding cats. Somedays, it’s the most fun thing you’ve ever done. But mostly, mothering is loving others so much that you swear they carry your heart around inside of them. It’s intense in every sense of the word and that intensity can be both exhilarating and terrifying all at once. Rest assured that when you’re feeling scared, all you have to do is text or call me. I know what it’s like and you will always have my shoulder to cry on.
What I really wish all new moms knew is that none of us know what we’re doing. We’re all just winging it and praying for the best. And your best will be good enough. Your children are going to think that you’re a great mom…even on those days when you feel like anything but. YOU ARE AMAZING and you are going to be an amazing mom. If you love your kids, you are already winning at the mom thing.
Hang in there, sweet friend. If you are reading this, it means you care enough about your child to want to do what’s best… so you are already good enough.