Hey there, new mom. I know just how you feel. It’s tiring, sure, but it’s also exciting and wonderful and you love your baby so much. Fasten your seatbelt, you’re in for a wild ride! But don’t worry — there’s a lot of us here who have been through it before. That doesn’t mean your experience raising children isn’t entirely your own and 100% unique to you. I would never minimize another mother’s experience (struggle? joy? awe? fatigue?) by telling them that I’ve been through it all before.
Motherhood is a singular experience. It’s hard for you in ways that it is not hard for me, and you are going to kick butt in ways that I totally suck. We all have certain strengths and weaknesses (let’s be upbeat: mostly strengths!), and our kids come with their own little sets of needs and challenging personalities. They’ll bring you to your knees at some point — sometimes literally. So when you’re down on the floor cleaning up poo and begging your toddler to put her pants on, exhausted because neither of you slept the night before, I want you to know that you are not alone.
Did you hear that? You are never alone in motherhood. When your shirt is soaked in spit up and you don’t know why your baby is crying and everyone on Pinterest seems cuter, richer, and more energetic than you, I know it can feel pretty lonely. But other mothers are right there with you having a hard time, doing our best, and figuring it out as we go along. I feel only goodwill toward other moms. The online mommy wars would have us all pitted against each other along working/stay-at-home, nursing/formula, vac/anti-vac and other battle lines, but in real life I think we give each other the benefit of the doubt and try not to judge. We get a little worked up sometimes because these are our kids we’re talking about, but for the most part I think moms understand each other and have a lot in common.
That’s because deep down, we know all of these struggles are totally worth it. Raising children is rewarding and important work. Remind yourself that. As the mom of four kids ages 7 to 17, I know that the very physically taxing task of raising babies and toddlers gives way to a really fun and exciting time when your babies will eat, dress, and go to the bathroom by themselves. This day will come for your kids, too. I promise. You’ll look up and no longer see a baby but a mini adult who will have ideas and tell you interesting things and bring you so much joy. Sure, as they grow and start making choices, they will sometimes fail or disappoint you. That’s when we’re reminded there’s no heartache like that of a mother worried about her children. That’s why we still need each other when our kids are out of diapers. When kids get older there are some ways in which parenting is easier, but there are many ways in which the emotional toll intensifies. Our kids become their own people and, well, you know how people can be.
So my biggest tip for you, new mom, is to make some mom friends and keep them forever. You need them now so you have an adult to talk to and, believe me, you’re going to need them even more later when your child starts talking back.More On