Dear Future (and Even New) Moms:
To you on this upcoming Mother’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to share with you all things motherhood. It’s been over 18 years since I first became a mother. And it’s been 15 months, since I last became one. Being a mom times four, I feel like so much has changed. There’s things that were fine to do then that you can’t do now. Then there’s the things you can do now that weren’t ok then.
Even after my fourth, I felt like everything was an adjustment. Mainly because my children are all about six years apart, but still there were things I had to relearn with having a newborn baby around. I once asked someone if they felt the same, because they too, were in a similar situation. She responded, “No. It’s like getting back on a bike.” LIES. How is going from a full night’s sleep to no sleep, like getting back on a bike? It’s not. At all.
But, I digress.
Becoming a mother will be one of the most intimidating things that will ever happen to you. Regardless, if it’s your first or your ninth child. It’s like entering an unchartered territory. Blindfolded. With your hands tied behind your back. After being spun around three times. Seriously, I wish I was exaggerating. Ok I may be just a little bit. But, what holds true is that us, mothers are for lack of better words, winging it.
There are no set directions provided for you and your future little one. Just like when we figured out our son absolutely hated his bouncer, most of what you learn will be from trial and error. And even the thing that worked today, won’t work tomorrow. Our little guy, who is breastfed, took a bottle for two months. I took a week of vacation and the following week when I returned to work, he refused it. He hasn’t had a bottle since. I’ve never had that problem before with any of my other children.
When I asked my doctor, he said I should refuse breastfeeding and eventually he’ll give up and take the bottle again. Really? I’m just supposed to let my son scream his head off. I couldn’t do that. That didn’t work for me. It took a while, but eventually he just took solids while I was away. And I had my sitter give him milk via a syringe to make sure he wouldn’t get dehydrated. I know, it sounds crazy. But that’s what we had to do.
I’m telling you this because there will be a great deal of pressure from people to do what worked for them. And I want you to know, there is no-one-size-fits-all method for babies/children. We all have our unique processes for raising our kids. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Whether they’re formula fed or breastfed; whether they’re co-sleepers or not; whether they’re disposable or cloth diapered. We do what we feel is right.
Even if your own mom says you’re spoiling your child because you hold them “too much” (and my mother tells me this almost each time we talk); or your mother-in-law says you shouldn’t co-sleep (we do anyway); or if your doctor says your child should sleep through the night (he doesn’t and I don’t care), know that you don’t have to follow their rules. Because there are none.
Every single day is a brand, spanking, new lesson.
So future momma, this is my gift to you: be the mom YOU want to be. The mom who I am today, is the mom I always wanted to be. The one that doesn’t listen to what everyone else thinks. The one who listens to their child’s needs and goes from there. The one who trusts herself.
Someday, you will be blessed to be a mother. And you will be the only mom your future child will have. Be patient. Be flexible. But above all, be in the moment. When the time finally arrives, it will all go by so very, very fast.