If there’s one thing I share with prospective and new moms, it’s to relax and don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m well aware just how ridiculous it must sound to these moms-to-be and new moms.
How many times have we watched a new mom struggle to find her place in the motherhood? We’ve watched her pretend to love being a mom. We’ve watched her cry. We’ve watched her berate herself over and again for not measuring up to someone else’s standard.
We’ve all been there. Some of us stay there for what seems like a very long time. I’ve said this many times before and I stand by these words: it is what it is. When we decide to allow motherhood to be what it is, then we find the true wonder. It’s at that point that we can stop pretending. Some of us get it right away and some of us may take a little longer but that’s okay.
I’m fortunate to have learned early on to relax as a mom. It’s not an easy thing to do. But I love to challenge myself and so I did as a new mom and still do. I’m determined to enjoy motherhood, even at its toughest.
I remember the day of my infant son’s baptism well. For obvious reasons, of course, but also because it was the day I decided that I was good enough to be a mom.
An in-law made a surprisingly warm-hearted comment to me, which remains a strong memory for me to this day. It happened after the baptism ceremony, while I held my baby and watched my own mom cut into the cake. She couldn’t have picked a better time to tell me that she was impressed with my relaxed mannerism and outward happiness as a mom. I smiled affectionately at her. I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled and thanked her.
I’ll never forget that moment. It was defining for me.
Maybe it was the way I held my son. I distinctly recall holding him against my body but facing away from me. Picture me giving a baby the Heimlich maneuver. Yes, that’s the position.
Maybe it was the way I let things just happen that day. It made no difference to me that brunch was served late or that it rained non-stop. Nor did I care on that day that my pant size was still in double digits.
Whatever it was that my in-law observed on that day 17 years ago, I’m grateful to her for bringing it to my attention. She’s responsible for much of my mom sanity today.
It’s not to say that I don’t have bad days with my kids. Oh, I have my fair share. I feel the same pains that other moms feel and I am forced to make the same difficult sacrifices. I have meltdowns. I deal with guilt. And I beat myself up for not doing a better job. But I always bounce back at the end of each day and remind myself how I love my children with every breath. Then I rouse my perspective again.
I also remind myself of the giant bucket of margaritas that has become a Mother’s Day tradition for the women in my family.
Motherhood. Just relax. You can do it.