My Dearest Girlfriends,
I’ve wanted to write you a letter of encouragement for a while, but as I sort through collected bits of wisdom scribbled on napkins and old receipts, I realize you’re owed honesty more than advice.
As the inaugural mom of our group, I’ve been long viewed as a maternal pioneer. I was the first to endure sleepless nights, picky eating, and preschool. Heck, I even survived “the talk” and lived to tell the tale.
As strange as it might sound, I wore the “experienced mom” badge with pride. Paving the way for you all felt like an important responsibility. As someone without a modern-mom mentor, I wanted to shield you from the isolation I felt, make motherhood seem positive rather than just possible, and reside as your personal expert in all things mom. You never asked me to do these things — I wanted to.
But as each of you became moms and reached out to me for advice, I couldn’t help but feel you deserved better. Because the truth then is the same as it is now: I’m still barely hanging on.
If you only knew how long I’ve tried to hide that from you.
If you only knew how much I don’t know and never figured out.
If you only knew how many situations worked themselves out in spite of my best efforts and intentions.
If you only knew how much I hated offering the vague reassurances of “it’ll be fine,” “it’s just a stage, “every child’s different,” even though I believe them to be true.
If you only knew that poop would eventually make its way into the toilet, teeth would one day stop erupting, and biting wouldn’t last forever.
If you only knew — really knew — you were already equipped with all the instinct and heart you’ll ever need to do this job.
If you only knew you didn’t need all the answers to raise great kids.
And if you knew all of these things, you’d realize you were your own best expert.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in motherhood, the biggest of which was not sharing them with you.
I understand now that transparency is our most important responsibility not only to ourselves, but to each other. It’s not about glossing over the tough stuff or proving the impossible, it’s about embarking on this journey with an army instead of answers. I’m just so thankful to have you as part of mine.
To messes, love, truth, and always trying.
Your mommy friend,