Sunday, February 5, 2017

To My Sister as She Steps into Motherhood

Little Sister,

I am so excited for you and this amazing journey of motherhood you've decided to embark upon.
I kept saying I wanted to write you a post about the truth of stepping into motherhood. Me, I know the writer- has struggled for days on how to sum it up? How do I explain to you it's a love like nothing you've ever experienced. You'll just see for yourself in the coming days, months, and years. The crazy thing even as much as you think you love him right now as you watch him grow into his own little person that love will even get more consuming than it is in these first few days.   Your heart now beats outside your body because it's all wrapped up in everything that child will see and do and be. You now have a front row seat to the most beautiful story you'll ever see told though it'll sometimes be funny yet other times frustrating and even heart breaking.

It's because of that fierce love you'll survive the nights and days on end of sheer exhaustion from too little sleep and too many demands. It's because of that love despite the moments you'll want to strangle your own child you'll still love him more than you ever thought it possible to love someone.

As you're about to take that baby home I don't know whether you're terrified or confident about  taking home this baby that you're now responsible for molding into some kind of responsible, successful, loving adult. Unfortunately- more so than fortunately probably- everyone and their mother will have advice and an opinion for you on how to do this motherhood thing. Literally everyone, including people you don't know, are going to tell you how to mother your child. Everyone is going to have an opinion on how to feed your baby, how your baby should sleep, how you should sleep, how you should feel, about what coat your baby should be wearing, why your baby cries too much, why your baby doesn't cry enough, why something is wrong with your baby because it cries too much or doesn't cry enough. Honestly as your older sister all that bossing around I've done to you over the last thirty plus years was really just to get you ready for this moment- to thicken your skin now and get ready to be bossed around like never before.

Here's the deal- bossy, know it all people like myself aside- some days you're going to rock this new mom thing and think "Forget those fools. I know exactly what I'm doing!" Then the next day maybe not so much. But honestly, here's the thing. Your baby isn't going to remember how many times you mess up this first year so it's all good. You will figure this out. What works for every other mom is not necessarily going to work for you, and believe it or not no one else knows better than you what's best for your baby, you, and your new little family.

Really when it comes down to it you just have to find your own way. Which will seem great and reassuring to hear one minute and terrifying the next because now that it's your kid you can parent all those ways you said you would when you watched from the sidelines, but other times it will be terrifying because well, no matter what you think you know or how you think you'll do things, those babies from day 1 have a mind of their own and some days you'll be begging someone to tell you what to do to just make that baby eat, sleep, poop, do whatever it is you want it to do. I wish I could tell you I have the answers but probably not.

As I said those babies have a mind of their own, and as much as everyone, maybe even you, will try to fit him into some typical mold, of what is typical for baby at such and such time, don't fret when the baby doesn't fit those molds. He will be his own person, different from you and your husband, different from his cousins, different in his own unique individual ways.

Some days you will love this motherhood thing; other days you'll wonder what were you thinking. Some days you'll think you want a half dozen more, and other days the one will seem like half a dozen by itself. Just remember you'll be fine. You will know and do what's best for your baby and you, and it may not be what other people think is best. But, hey, it's your kid this time so you can do this motherhood thing however you want! Just remember on the tough days- despite how much everyone else may seem to know how to do this motherhood thing-we all struggle. We all fail at different times in different moments, but that kid will love you no matter what. He will look at you like you're his whole world, at least in the beginning for awhile. Though it's easier said than done cut yourself a break on those hard days.

I wish your new little family the very best. This will be the toughest but most rewarding thing you've ever done.

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