(here they are, in all their smallness-straight from the scrapbook from July 2006)
I see you, new mom. I passed you in the grocery store yesterday. I recognized the look in your eyes. The exhaustion wore heavy on your shoulders. The newborn in your sling squirmed, the toddler in the cart seat threw out apples, all while the slightly older toddler inside the cart sat on the bread.
I know you were wondering how on earth you would get all the groceries on that dog eared list in your cart. Even more so, you were wondering how on earth you were going to get them from cart to car and, then to the house; all without losing your mind.
I get it. I’ve been in your spit up stained shoes. I remember the bleary sleep deprived days, the mind numbing rounds of peek a boo, and the frantic realization that you’ve once again ran out of diapers.
If I could sit down with you over lukewarm coffee (Because it would be cold by the time the baby was nursed, the diapers were changed, and epic negotiations were waged over who plays with what toys.) I’d share a few thoughts from a battle scarred mom. If I could, I would tell my younger self these same things as well.
This is for you, and all the overwhelmed moms everywhere,
Everyone keeps telling you this, and it’s about to drive you crazy. But it really is true that time flies, the days are long but the years are so very short. However, it’s also true that you’re not missing anything if you’re not having fun and appreciating every single moment. Because motherhood is hardly fun all the time. We shouldn’t ever feel guilty if we aren’t seizing every joy filled moment of poppy diapers and temper tantrums.
But to help you enjoy those trying moments more it helps to give those babies bigger hugs. Take time to read more books and play pretend.
You might be surprised by this, but one day the sight of your little girls riding around the block alone will cause you to tear up. You’ll have to contain yourself from running after them and holding them down, in some vain attempt to keep them babies just a bit longer.
Sending those girls into ballet class is sometimes much harder than it should be, not because of them but because it requires you to let go.
Don’t forget that it’s okay to hold your baby all through church, even though there’s lots of folks who would love to take a turn holding your precious little bundle.
Sometimes you might feel like you’re going crazy because you’ve had three kids in three years. You’re not alone and it’s okay to ask for help. We can’t do this motherhood thing alone.
Don’t be in such a rush to get from one thing to another. It’s okay to slow down and go at your kids’ pace, a few minutes saved at the expense of a lost temper isn’t worth it.
Prepare to be exhausted, overwhelmed, amazed, and overjoyed at your children-all in the same hour.
Treasure all the moments, work hard at remembering and appreciating where your children are in each season of their lives. Because it really does zip by.
One day your baby will be 8 and you’ll cry grief filled tears over the fact that there will be no more babies in your house. You might even wish for one more time. As hard as it is, mothering is the best job ever.
Sending love from the trenches,