Psst. PSSSST. You
there, with the tired eyes. I know those eyes; I’ve had those eyes.
I could spot a new mom anywhere (and it has nothing to do
with that adorable babe strapped to your chest, swinging those baby moccasins).
I actually recognize it from the inside out. I remember when everything was so
new and confusing — the contentment and adoration and complete exhaustion?
Actually ... now that
I’m back to a normal human sleep cycle and can think clearly, and now that I’ve
gained a bit of perspective over the past six years, I could let you in on a
few secrets. If you want.
Now ease up, it’s nothing mystical or juicy. These are
secrets that get learned and understood as the years tick on, markings of the
Sisterhood of Mothers. Some of these secrets bring out defensiveness or
insecurity from certain moms, and they might not like us talking about them in
the open like this. Most of these secrets were suspiciously glossed over by our
moms or society in general, although all moms know them to be true on some
level. Yet you won’t find them in a #happyfamily Facebook status or perfectly
filtered Instagram photo.
These are the things that I wish a friend told me back when
I was a young, scared pregnant woman or a young, overwhelmed new mom. So allow
me to impart a little wisdom and reassurance, between you and me…
1. We all
feel like we’re failing, at times.
Those moments of internal failure still hit us like a brick to the heart.
And other times, when our children are
polite and inquisitive and lovely, we feel like we’re doing a pretty solid job.
It’s a roller coaster, but those moments of internal failure still hit us like a
brick to the heart. You’re not the only one who feels them.
judgmental because we’re insecure.
Of course we “should” be less judgmental
of other moms/people, but nothing will change unless we stop judging ourselves
3. We might
be mothers, but we still have unhealthy patterns and hardwired conditioning
that gets in the way.
Being a human is hard and humbling, and we don’t
really know what we’re doing. Yet tiny people look up to us like we do.
4. We all
want to do our best.
No matter the political affiliation, parenting
philosophy or socioeconomic class.
5. We all
have heaviness in our hearts.
A mixture of sadness, fear, gratitude and bursting love...
We share a body with these living organisms —
we feel their hiccups and heartbeats inside of us — and then we send them out
into the world, away from us. There’s heaviness in our hearts through every
stage and milestone — a mixture of sadness, fear, gratitude and bursting love.
Get used to that extra weight; it isn’t going anywhere.
And we engage in an impressive level of
distraction and alternate suggestions before sitting down on the floor, plastic
toys in hand, giving ourselves an internal pep talk. “Play with him for 20
minutes. You can do anything for 20 minutes.”
All of us. Kidnappings, vaccine fears, car accidents, effing EBOLA.
The world’s problems magnify when we bring a new life into it. That’s our new
10. We’re permanently insane.
We irrationally mull over the worst possible scenarios.
We shoot up
from a dead sleep to listen to a baby’s rising chest — just to make sure. We
think we hear a tiny voice calling us from the other room, but the house is
empty. We irrationally mull over the worst possible scenarios that could happen
to our kids before falling asleep. The insanity in me recognizes the insanity
in you. Namaste.
11. We feel lonely, too.
booming online parenting culture, new motherhood can be isolating and lonely.
We’ve moved on to a new life stage, and some
friends don’t follow us. It happens to the best of us.
12. We can’t do it all.
I’m not sure if we’re supposed to say that
out loud, but there it is. It’s the truth. If we’re doing EVERYTHING at once,
we’re not doing anything well. Life is about compromises and priorities. The
tide will change, as it does, and we’ll eventually have it all … just not at the
13. Our lives get a heckuva lot easier once we
learn to politely nod at unwanted advice, or take backhanded insults less
(See No. 2.)
14. Pro tip #1
The surest way to wake a
baby is to sit down for dinner.
15. Pro tip #2
The surest way to make a
baby poop is to buckle him into a car seat, preferably while you’re running
16. Pro tip #3
The surest way to make your
baby puke is to put him in something really, really cute. Plan your days
17. Motherhood doesn’t always come naturally.
That doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.
18. You don’t need ALL THE STUFF.
The “stuff” doesn’t make you more prepared or accepted.
blinded by brand names and status symbols. Trust me — the “stuff” doesn’t make
you more prepared or accepted. In a year or two, you’ll be left with a $1000
stroller that sits in your closet, always in your closet, just in case there’s another baby one day.
19. Related: As soon as you sell/give away said
stroller (and other overpriced baby products), you will get pregnant.
20. Every phase feels overwhelming, and then
every phase passes.
This isn’t so much a secret — it’s an undeniable truth
— but the secret is to understand and accept it into your life. To repeat to
IS ONLY TEMPORARY. And then find ways to appreciate the hard, wonderful,
painful, love-filled temporary moment.
You’ll figure all of this out on your own, in time.
For now, here’s a coffee. Four hours to bedtime. You can do