i’d like to start this out by saying i never thought i’d write an open letter. i think they’re over-done, especially on the mom blogs and websites. every other post is a “to the mom…”, “to the lady…”, “an open letter to…”
maybe i should blame celebrities for all their passive-aggressive open letters to each other. why can’t they keep those missives private, especially when the person writing the letter is not involved in the situation in the slightest? gees. social media brings out the absolute worst in people, which i usually stay away from but sometimes i can’t help myself.
but sometimes i forget that social media has also done wonderful things for people (and, devil’s advocate, sometimes those open letters are really spot on), it offered solace during those late night and early morning feeding sessions when i felt so alone and empty, and i have come across like-minded moms who make me laugh and give me LIFE. so, here goes.
recently, while packing away groceries and working on dinner and trying to pay attention to dylan, and also drinking a glass of wine and not losing my mind… i thought, how am i doing this? how am i doing at this?
it brought up all those times where i thought, how am i going to raise children? how am i going to keep food in the fridge? how am i going to sustain a relationship, maintain a house blah blah blah… holding myself to this standard of “mother” i’ve built up in my mind, even before i stepped into a mother’s shoes.
but the thing is… i’m doing it. i do laundry, and buy groceries. i kiss boo-boos and get freelance work done for clients. i don’t treat myself with as much love as i should, since i’m so busy trying to fill my little family with love and affection. i drink too much coffee and rely on television more often than i should, but i’m also a human being, damnit. i’m DOING it.
there are a lot of things i wish i had known before embarking on this unexpected journey, and to those moms – new, soon-to-be, even just thinking about it… you need to know that you can do it, you will do it, and you’ll be f*cking great at it.
you’re going to question yourself, am i going to be a good mother? here’s the thing i believe – just the fact that you’re asking yourself if you will be able to do this means you have the insight to understand the importance and weight and magnitude of having children and becoming parents. you will make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes. we are all new at this, even those people who are not new at this are new at this, because every child is different and there is no manual and it is all trial and error. a lot of trial and error. but you will be a good mother, because you care enough to try.
will i be able to take care of this family? this is daunting, keeping a house and holding down a job and raising children and building a relationship with another human being, but women are remarkable creatures and you can do this. sometimes it takes being more organized than you’re used to, often it takes asking for help when you think you can’t. you aren’t alone here, okay? you don’t have to do this by yourself, because it takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village to raise a family.
your life will change. this is both terrifying and natural. your life was going to change anyway. billions of women have done this before you, in their own way, and billions will continue to do it once your turn is done. this is something we are innately good at – hello, our species has survived a pretty gat damn long time, duh!
i understand, you’re afraid you’re going to lose yourself, or at least part of yourself. maybe your friends. your favourite past times, travelling, your bank account. you will change. and you will be very different. and you will also be the same, because while the world looks different through mom coloured glasses (which, despite all words given, is something impossible to explain to someone until they hold their own baby – biological or not – in their arms, and that’s not me trying to be a douche bag, it’s just the honest to god truth) and almost a complete mind f*ck (seriously), you are still fundamentally YOU, and these wonderful things about yourself that you’ve been working on lo all these many years will be passed on to your kith and kin, making them wonderful, too.
you look at your mom (or other moms, like tv moms and celebrity moms and grandmoms) and think, i’m not her, and i can’t be her. we are so different. and you are different, but you know what? you’re also the same. she’s a woman who lived and loved before you came along and also, she probably thought the same damn thing. society holds up a picture of a mother and we say, “this is what mom’s should look like” and that’s wrong wrong wrong. like outfits at old navy, mom’s come in all shapes and sizes. and please, do not let instagram and pinterest fool you. some women look like they have it altogether on paper but the reality is never as simple and filtered as your cell phone would have you think.
the point of this long and wandering note is this: as a friend, albeit an online one, i’d like to place a comforting hand on your shoulder and let you know that those butterflies you’re feeling are normal, and fine, and it’s all going to be fine. because you need a friend to tell you that sometimes. you also need friends to tell you to stay the hell off google, no you don’t look like a sausage in those pants and yes, eat the extra slice of pie because you are eating for two (but you’re not really eating for two, i know you just like pie and morning sickness is a bitch so pie is worth it).