It’s been almost 25 years since I was dubbed a momma for the first time.
Oh how I wish I would have known then what I know now. I would fill you in chapter and verse. What to steer clear of. Who to watch out for. Emotions that will hit you like a freight train. I would describe the pitfalls of motherhood in detail in hopes that you would you grab a rope and swing right over them. On the other hand, if I spoiled the surprise I would’ve hijacked the lessons you needed to learn. Shanghaied your joy. Confiscated your heartache. Nevermind, I’m glad you got to participate without knowing the inside story.
Do know that the days you are lonely and feel will never end are now the visions that my daydreams are comprised of.
If I were going to fill you in chapter and verse it would go something like this.
Hey there Juls,
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.
Cliche as it is, time will fly by. You will hear this a thousand times from well meaning people. You will hear but you won’t really listen. Why would you? In about 25 years, you will give voice to that very same cliche, knowing full well that those youngins are listening but not really hearing you. Why would they?
You will have many sleepless nights. Late night feedings, sick kids, fears and doubt will keep you awake for the next several years. I wish you could find solace in the wee hours of the night but you won’t. Those hours just before the sun makes it debut will be some of your loneliest. Those morning rays will burn your eyes reminding you how tired you truly are. Your eyelids will feel like sandpaper rubbing across your eyeballs. These sleepless nights will plague you later in life also. At 45, you are still up in the wee hours but have since learned that those hours are priceless. The silence allows your mind to wander and your soul to fondly reminisce.
You will be diagnosed with Chiari at 24. Although it will rob you of some things, it heightens your awareness of others. You will fight a good fight. You have to, you have babies to raise. Down the road, you will be a little slower and days are unpredictable. You will reinvent yourself a time a two but you will still put up a good fight.
You will spend too much time worried about benign impedimenta. You will accommodate a sense of contrition that only a stay at home mom will be familiar with. You will feel obliged to to keep the perfect house, have a home cooked meal on the table every evening and no laundry waiting in the queue. The aforementioned are the things that give you your self worth. These are your contribution since you don’t contribute monetarily. You will eventually achieve a good balance. The kids will have fun when they are younger. You will get your feelings hurt as they get older and can’t recall the details but it’s ok that they don’t. They had a good time in the moment. As they start coming into their own, you will enjoy revisiting these times.
You’re gonna make mistakes. Copious amounts of mistakes. Just know that kids are resilient by divine design. Both of your kids do well for themselves. I’m sure they hold grudges and wish you did some things differently but you did your best and followed your gut. They will keep the good and chunk the bad. They will be their own people. You will be proud.
When they reach for your hand, savor the moment. One day, in the near future they will pull away and you will miss that. Even though your heart will break know that it’s natural, a good thing. That means that you taught them to be independent. Continuously remind them that you are still accessible. Know that they will always need you. It will just be in different ways, as it should be. Your role will shift but you will always be their momma.
You will be miserable at times. You aren’t a bad mom when these feelings emerge. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s ok and natural. Being a momma isn’t for the faint of heart. Miserable doesn’t go away the older you get. It resurfaces off and on. The way you respond is the important thing.
You will feel alone. There are times when you feel as if you haven’t had an adult conversation for days. My friend, that feeling will be valid. Down the road, you will realize that “big people” and “big people” conversations are way overrated. You will long to hear those tiny demanding voices again.
You will lose your sense of self. These are dangerous waters you will tread in. Resentment doesn’t make for a good momma. Take time to renew your mind, heart and soul. You’re kids will be better off for it. Word to the wise, don’t get too comfortable, however, with that self that you nurture. You will be forced to reinvent her several times throughout the next 25 years. You will do so kicking at screaming at times.
You will feel like you are failing and you probably are. Guess what? It’s ok. There is very little, if anything that you do, that’s detrimental. Sure, you could have chosen different paths at times but everyone survived and that my friend is success.
You will long for your mother. You will go it alone a lot. You want to ask her questions about the simplest things. What do you do if… What happens when… Kid, you figure it out. Truth be told, that feeling never goes away. You are still longing for that relationship at 45 knowing full well that you it will never come to fruition.
You will doubt your abilities to mother. You will use your childhood as your motivation sometimes to a fault. You will be hell bent on being everything that you longed for. Stop. It’s exhausting. Just do you.
There will be tears. Lots of them. Juls, crying is ok. It means that you’re still feeling. It’s when you stop crying that you need to worry.
You will try to go it alone. You will think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. That notion is ridiculous. You will need help. You don’t have all of the answers. There are women you can reach out to that have more experience than you do. Ask them. When your kids are all grown up, you will be called on by young moms. Remember to talk to them, not at them. Offer advice when asked, don’t push it on them.
There will be other mothers, young and old who will make you feel inadequate. Some of those feelings are your insecurities rearing their ugly head. Some of those feelings are valid. For whatever reason, there are some women who will get a twisted kick out of making you feel less than. Recognize this as their insecurity surfacing. As you get older, remember how that felt. “Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make you shine brighter.”
Although not a comprehensive list, these nuggets of advice are what I feel in my gut are most relevant. No one said it would be easy. You will survive.
Kid, you got this! Just breathe,