Wednesday, February 26, 2014

8 things I wish they'd told me

One of my dearest, oldest friends has a 6 week old, and she's having a bit of a hard time, so I thought it was time to 'fess up to her about my blog.  Welcome to my crazy, K.  We're all hot messes here.

So for K, and for all of us, here are 8 things I wish they'd told me about motherhood when I was starting.

1.  Babies cry. It's not you.  It's their brains.  Sometimes there is no logical explanation and therefore nothing you can do.  I want to tell you not to blame yourself or take it personally, but it will only help so much.  It's almost impossible not to take things personally when they come from your children.  For more on this, see anything I've written, ever.  And while we're on the topic?  Babies cry. And toddlers throw tantrums.  And preschoolers have power struggles.  And teenagers rebel.  And mothers doubt themselves

It's not your fault.  We're all just doing what we're supposed to do.

2.  It is possible to feel two completely contradictory emotions at the same time.  In fact, I've become convinced that for moms this is the norm.  You will feel both bored and overwhelmed.  You will want both to never be touched again and to never put your sweet baby down. You will likely both love and hate every single stage. There's absolutely no reason to feel guilty about this.  It's part and parcel of being a mom.  And because you don't have the emotional capacity of a teacup, you will be just fine.  I promise.

3.  Sometimes, you just need to get out of the house.  Target is excellent for this.  To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever found a definitive scientific reason for this, but wandering the aisles of Target with your pre-verbal baby feels like absolute magic.  You may want to avoid this step if you are on a budget though because of the distinct possibility of buying all the things.

4.  Whatever you do is enriching your baby, so do what you want to do.  Strap him in a sling and check out a museum.  Go sit at a coffee house.  Go to story time at the library even though he's way too young to care, not because you are doing anything for his language development but because it's free and there are books and other grown ups there.

5.  Making new mom friends is worse than dating.  Unfortunately, having kids the same age as yours is not sufficient to forming real and meaningful bonds.  If you don't click with someone, it's always them.  Never you.

6.  Read.  Always have a book nearby when you are feeding your baby.  Fill your beautiful brain.

7.  This is hard.  Enjoying every minute isn't mandatory.  You still get to say you love being a mom.  It's in the contract.

8.  You are not alone.  Ever ever.  Reach out.  Tell the truth.  Don't let shame take hold.  We are all in this together.  I double promise.

What advice do you have for my sweet friend?


  1. I went to write a comment but it got really, really long. ;) So I wrote you a post instead, K.

    xoxo Susan

  2. Friends without babies are awesome, too. Because they will talk to you about things other than babies. Which sometimes is what I need.

    Much love.

    This is the way I can sanely comment, I think... as anonymous. :)

  3. This is really REALLY good stuff. You are a good mom and a good writer and a good friend to take the time to write it.

    And also, hi, K? YOU CAN DO IT. You can. :)

  4. Hugs K. You will know when you have a real mom friend when she leans in and says isn't this so hard? Those friends are the true blue mom friends that you can confess that you both love and hate this mom gig equally at the same time.