Being a new mom is tough.
Being a new mom without your mom is even tougher.
I know because I’ve been there. I’m still there. Every single day I open my eyes and roll out of bed, I’m there. Every day I give baths, make sippy cups, and beg my son to sleep, I’m there.
I’m not really new anymore, though. My son has grown from newborn to infant to a one year old to the dreaded terrible twos. I’ve grown a lot, and learned a lot, most of the time the hard way, but I’m still right there with you, motherless.
If you’re there with me, this is what I want you to know.
I say this to myself more than I’d like to admit. My mom’s not here to remind me that I’m okay, so I have to remind myself. I’m reminding you now. You’re okay. I’ll say it slowly one more time so it sinks into your soul. You. Are. Okay. Make sure you got that. It’s essential.
Being okay doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It doesn’t mean you’re not exhausted. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to make mistakes. And it doesn’t mean you won’t cry.
You will. You will find yourself crying over the smallest and simplest things. I cry all the time. My baby says or does something I know she’d laugh at, I cry. I’m overwhelmed because I cannot for the life of me get my little one to sleep, I cry. I don’t have time to vacuum or do dishes, I cry.
I cry because I need help. I cry because I know my mom would sweep in and save the day if she were here, literally sweep, and mop, too. I cry because I still need her. You’ll cry, too, and it’s okay. You’re okay.
You’re Not Alone.
You may not have your mom, but you can ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone. There are people you come in contact with everyday that would be more than willing to help you. Aunts, uncles, cousins, mother-in-laws, they’ll help.
Don’t have those or don’t want those people to help? There are others.
I’ve had strangers help me. People in line behind me in the grocery store have helped. Ladies at my church have encouraged me. My boss’s wife has supported me. It’s not the help like my mom would give, but it is help. It may not be making dinner for me after a long day of work. It might not be washing my clothes because I don’t have time. It may not be watching my boy while I take a long overdue nap, but it is help.
A kind smile a stranger gives while telling me how smart my son is. A tag in a facebook post to remind me I’m loved. A surprise Halloween bib for my baby just because. A phone call when I’m at my breaking point to talk me down from the ledge of meltdown. Even articles and mommy forums online to give me advice have helped me not be alone.
They can help you, too. Just look around and reach out. Breathe and smile and be smiled back at. Speak and let someone listen. Most people, even people you don’t know, are more than willing to share their words of wisdom. Just ask. You’ll be surprised by the positivity you receive. I know I have been.
You’ve got this.
Being a mom is full of walks in the gray. Co-sleep/Don’t co-sleep? Cry it out/Don’ t cry it out? Time outs/Spankings/Both? Apple juice/water? Peanuts/No nuts? All kinds of questions will come at you on a daily basis. Most of them don’t have a clear answer. A lot of them have more than one right answer. It can be difficult to know what is right for you and your child.
If you’re like me, you think life would be easier if you could just ask your mom how she’d handle it. You’re probably right. But being motherless makes us as mothers rely on our own instincts, and more times than not, they’re right. The path may be more difficult because we have to carve it out mainly on our own, but it is our path.
You’re the mom. You can try something, if it doesn’t work for your family, do something else. You didn’t fail. You didn’t drop the ball. You didn’t let anyone down or make the wrong decision. You did the best you could and it didn’t work. So do the best you can again and try again.
You can handle it because God made you a mom. He didn’t make you perfect because life isn’t perfect. You’ve still got this. And He’s got your back.
You’ll Always Be #1
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, one I learned the hard way. Your child might cry after Daddy. They might cry after your sister. They might cry after your brother. They might wail and scream and beat at the door to get to them. In that moment, you may feel inadequate. You might wonder why they’re crying when Mom is still there. At least, I did.
Children want what they want when they want it. And that’s all they want. It doesn’t mean they love you any less. You’re still number one and always will be.
Because you’re the mom. The same way your mom is and always will be number one to you, you are and always will be number one to your babies.
Never forget that.
You Are Loved.
Mothers love us the most and the best and the deepest. I’m sure of this. Even now, I find myself longing for the love she gave me and it has been over ten years since she left this world. You will long for your mother’s love, too. You’ll always long for it.
You’ll always have it, too. Love doesn’t die. It just changes. Now, you’re the one loving the most and the best and the deepest, with the same love your mother loved you with. The great this about is you’re being loved back the most and the best and the deepest, too. That’s the only way your little one knows how to love, because that’s the way you’ve taught them to.