Dear Moms Who Had Babies Before I Did:
I have a confession to make -- and it's not one I'm proud of: I judged you before I had a kid of my own. There, I said it. It wasn't intentional. It was just something that sort of happened. A knee-jerk reaction in my brain that I couldn't control. And now that I have a child myself -- well, this is awkward. I think I owe you an apology.
I'm sorry for not always letting you and your strollers past me when I was in a rush. At the time, it never dawned on me that once I got home, I could take a nap, where you -- you definitely weren't going to take a nap. I didn't realize that the remainder of your day was probably much busier than mine -- and that nothing you were going to be doing was for yourself. And I apologize (and am a little embarrassed) for letting an obvious look of annoyance creep across my face when you and your kids were trying to squeeze by me in the bodega with the two-inch aisles.
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I'm also sorry for wondering why you always, well, looked a little disheveled. Not put-together like you did before you had kids. And I'm not just talking about the baby weight (even though, at the time, the moms I knew best were Kate Hudson and Natalie Portman, and they lost the weight quickly). I definitely thought it was sort of lazy of you to not change your spit-up-stained shirt. I now understand that this is how it works. And that that's okay. I thought having no time to primp would bother me, but it really doesn't -- just like you said it wouldn't. So, I guess, sorry for doubting you, too.
I'm sorry for wondering why your house was a mess. I just thought, "Kids take naps, don't they? Why don't you clean while they're asleep?" I now know that when your baby is sleeping, you can get much more important things done -- like showering or eating! I also now understand that "cleaning" in and of itself is sort of a silly thing, because the results only last about an hour.
I'm sorry for thinking I knew way more than I did before having a child of my own. (I knew nothing despite the countless books and blogs I read.) I shouldn't have made a mental note when I watched you give your kids a piece of plastic to play with (as opposed to the all-natural, unicorn-infused, wooden toys my child would constantly have access to). And I'm sorry I was slightly horrified if a TV was on in the same room as your baby -- and you didn't shield their precious eyes from that brain-washing demon box (because you were on the phone [the phone, you monster!]).
I'm sorry for looking at you puzzled when you stood on the subway staring at photos of your kids on your phone. Sure, it was cute, but I definitely was like, "Um, didn't you just see your kids?" It's pretty much all I do when I'm not with my daughter. And speaking of photos, I'm sorry for not fully grasping this uncontrollable desire you had to constantly show others pictures of your children. I so get that now.
Lastly, I'm sorry for wondering why you all were so damn sensitive when people commented or questioned your parenting. "Who cares?" I thought. "They're your kids. Whatever." I understand now. Being a parent makes you more vulnerable than you've ever been in your life. And when someone questions what you're doing to the thing you love more than anything on this planet, it can make you irate. And sad. And insecure. So, I'm sorry I didn't say, "You're doing the right thing." I didn't know that was what you needed.
I hope you can accept my apology, Moms. It may be asking a lot, I know. But, like I said, I had no idea what being a mother was about until I had a baby of my own. If it's any consolation, I think you're all beautiful. You're all amazing. And you're all doing a damn fine job. But as far as our houses go -- I'm just gonna say, that's probably a lost cause.
Did you judge moms before having a baby of your own?
Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber