An Open Letter to the Frazzled New Mom I Used to Be

mom and child

Dear Mary,

Before I go any farther, there's something you need to know and absorb and repeat over and over in your head every time you think you "just can't take it anymore."

It's going to be ok. This too shall pass. Oh, and ... BREATHE.

I know, I know -- the last couple of years or so have been a whirlwind of emotions, to say the least. Remember when you were pregnant, how you'd brag to everyone who would listen about what a piece of cake this little gig called motherhood was going to be, duh -- because you babysat dozens of kiddos from the time you were 12 until you graduated from college?

Yeah, I know I don't have to tell you that your words are biting you in the ass now. (You really have a big mouth sometimes.) Again -- it's going to be ok. I promise.

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But there's something you need to realize. You're your own worst enemy. Day in and day out, you beat yourself up and criticize yourself for doing everything wrong with your little dude -- all because he hasn't exactly followed some of the same patterns as your friends' children.

Yes, him waking you up somewhere between the hours of 4:30 a.m. on a bad day and 5:30 a.m. on a good one has left you frustrated, exhausted, kind of depressed, and at your wits' end. And the fact that a couple women you know refuse to shut up about the fact that their little angels sleep until around 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. each day has left you sitting on the couch in tears on more than one occasion. You can't understand why they have things all figured out and your kid won't freakin' sleep.

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But guess what? It's not your fault. That's just who he is. And a few years from now when he's still waking you up at the crack of dawn, you'll look back and wish that you would've treasured that time with him in the wee hours of the morning instead of bawling about how much your life sucks. For the record, it doesn't. You have no idea just how good you have it right now. (Yes, for reals.)

And another thing -- why are you so preoccupied with what everyone else thinks about you and the way you're parenting your son? I know this may come as a shock, but motherhood isn't exactly one size fits all. And just because your kiddo refuses to eat anything but grilled cheese sandwiches and Gerber puffs, absolutely loathes that stupid music class that all the other kids his age seem to love, and doesn't like to sit still or focus on one activity for more than 20 minutes at a time does NOT mean you've failed as a parent. Far from it, in fact.

Just look at him, for crying out loud. Are there really that many times when he doesn't have a smile on his face? The kid is happier than a pig in shit most days -- even when you're ready to pull your hair out over what a mess things seem to be. Down the road the light bulb is finally going to go off in your head. All that really matters is that your baby is happy, healthy, and LOVED. Everything else is really just a bunch of useless fluff that you, my dear, have been using as a means of torture to convince yourself that you're not a "good" mom -- whatever the hell that means.

Get over it, already. You're doing just fine. And that content little boy is all you need to remind yourself that things are, indeed, pretty darn peachy keen.

Now suck it up and compose yourself and go give that beautiful little boy a cuddle. Then sit down on the floor and play with him for hours simply because you can. He adores you in a way no one else ever has or ever will. And if that isn't enough evidence that you're doing everything perfectly when it comes to being a mom -- then there's really nothing I can say to convince you what a rock star you really are.

(Hang in there, honey ...)

With love,

Your future awesome self.

What words of advice would you give yourself as a new mom?

 

Image via Mary Fischer

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