When I first started off writing Notes to Mommy, it was when I was in the thick of taking care of a baby and it was meant to be something that I referenced if I was ever insane enough to contemplate a second child. A rational voice to combat the crazy baby fever. While I don’t have baby fever quite yet, I’ve grown a lot as a mother and now it’s meant to be a reminder to myself of the things I wish I’d done differently.
Don’t care what people think – As a new mom, I was so self-conscious of what everyone thought about me and my mothering skills and so sure that people were constantly inflicting judgment about every decision I made. I was desperate to prove that I knew what I was doing, that I was still cool and that motherhood hadn’t changed me for the worst. I wanted to please everyone and as a result, ended up miserable more often than I needed to.
Don’t fear mistakes – It’s probably normal that every new mom doesn’t want to make a mistake but impossible to actually accomplish. Rather than criticizing and doubting myself for the mistakes, I’ve learned to embrace them as learning. Instead of seeing them as proof that I’m a bad mom, I see them as proof that I’m a resilient mom and a good mom for growing from those mistakes rather than repeating them.
Raise the child you have – The child I got was not the child that I thought I would have. Before Sydney was born, my husband and I used to joke that our daughter would look like mama and act like daddy. My husband is a very calm and patient person. Instead, she came out like daddy’s double with mom’s personality. I spent too much time focused on the fact that I didn’t have the calm, zenned out baby that I thought I would have but instead I got a willful and independent one. I wish that I’d nurtured that independence more rather than being frustrated by it.
This too shall pass – When you’re in it, whether “it” be sleep issues, growth spurts, teething or whatever, it feels as if it will never end. From what I’ve learned and heard from other people with older children, it doesn’t necessarily get easier. Each stage of your child’s childhood brings about new obstacles to conquer. Conquering these obstacles can bring about a feeling of accomplishment that feels amazing and I wish I'd focused more on that eventual feeling than feeling miserable. While the obstacles may come one after another sometimes, they all do eventually come to an end and the time really does go by fast.
You are not alone – I wish that I’d shared my thoughts and how I was feeling as a new mom more often. The more I shared my feelings, the more I learned that I was not alone and more I realized I was not alone the less personally I took everything. Whether it’s thinking I was a bad mom or thinking that my child was out to slowly destroy me slowly through sleep deprivation! I wasn’t necessarily doing anything wrong, this was just life with a kid and life as a mom. Also, the more I shared, the more I was able to discover potential solutions to my issues by learning about how other people had solved the same issues rather trying to figure them out alone