We had the honor of hosting a baby shower the day before Mother’s Day. Part of the shower was writing advice or letters to the parents-to-be and their little girl. Before writing mine, I flipped through a few – Take time for each other; Accept babysitting; Remember 2am doesn’t last forever; It’s ok to be tired. I added mine with the caveat that we’ve only been on this journey a short time. My advice should be taken with a giant grain of salt.
After everyone left, with Elle asleep in the carrier, I laid us down on the couch and read a bit from The Mother Letters, a compilation of advice and wisdom, collected by Seth & Amber Haines. Inspired, I thought I’d add my letter.
I am writing this, baby crawling over the keyboard, smiling and talking. Ratatouille playing while our three year old sleeps next to me. She tells me she doesn’t need to nap anymore but somehow, in the car, snuggled on the couch, it seems she still needs afternoon rest.
Before this point, I would have forced the nap – and some days, I still do. But, as a mom, something I’m learning is that some battles aren’t worth fighting. Some things are so important and others it’s ok to go with the flow. And the thing about motherhood? Each day is different. Yesterday’s go with the flow is today’s important non-negotiable.
I’m learning, too that though I have thirty years on my girls, that doesn’t mean I know best. They know themselves so well. When Bea asked and asked to share a room with Elle, we kept saying later, when you’re older. But one day, we realized Why not try? So we did. It was no magic bullet but bedtime and sleep have been better. And they both love it. Why not listen?
When we’ve gone through hard times and reached out to our communities, people give us so much amazing advice. And I’m learning to take with adaptations. Advice is how we connect. And some works amazingly and some parts work well and others just don’t work for us. And that’s ok. We listen, we learn, and then we follow our instincts.
I guess my point to you mother-friend, is that we are human, raising humans. As much as we search for a guide book, as much as we think the older generations can answer our questions, each experience, each family, each kid is so different. So, we listen, we learn, we learn to follow our instincts. And that is exactly what our kids need most. For us to be fully human and allow them to be fully human, too.
My guess is that you are an incredible mother. That your good moments far outweigh the bad ones, no mater how unbalanced life may feel.
On this Mother’s Day, I raise a glass of champagne to being a fully human mother.