Dear new mom...
"All you really need are a tiny bit of clothes, a blanket, diapers, some sort of food, and your arms. The rest is extra." -
I read this from a blogger I follow, WhiteHouseBlackShutters, who typically writes about remodeling. But, she is pregnant with baby number five and the new mom nerves are starting to settle in.
This one little line, in her long list and letter to herself, it grabbed me, took hold and wouldn't let go kind of grab.
It reminded me how simple parenting a little one is suppose to be.
How terrified we all are of getting it wrong,
how forgiving new faces are
and what it really means to be someone's mother.
I kind of went into parenting with eyes wide open.
I knew that the day to day was not a Pampers commercial.
I knew that my body would not rebound.
I knew that I would age.
I knew that it would be hard, and tiring and terrifying and take my breath away.
And then she came.
And what I didn't realize is how little she actually needed.
How natural it felt to be her mom.
How comfortable it felt.
I didn't realize how much I would love her.
I didn't take that part into consideration.
I didn't realize that in my arms, she too was comfortable, she too felt natural and safe.
I didn't realize I wasn't complete, that I was missing this extension of me, in her.
The rest is extra.
They age, and it becomes more complicated, or at least you think it does.
The natural love becomes more challenging.
The tantrums more frequent, the demands more exhausting.
And you think there is more they need.
That class, that lesson, that sport, that field trip.
They age and you forget that all they need are your arms, the rest is extra.
I don't know how to categorize a mom six years and two kids in.
I am certainly not a new mother anymore but I am also not experienced.
I have walked through some mounds of awful, I have held the wonderful.
I have aged, I have too many stories.
But, I am still just starting out.
I don't have any of the answers, not for you, and definitely not for me.
But I will hold on to this nugget of advice.
I will carry this knowledgeable and experienced mom's advice with me.
And so, my only advice, the only thing I know to be true is...
Wrap your kind and loving arms around them.
Let them know that is where they are safe,
at 6 hours old, at 6 years old, at 16 years old, at 46 years old.
Wrap yourself so lovingly into them that you don't know where one ends and the other begins.
Show them your arms, tell them they are for them.
We carry the weight of parenting and the weight of family forever.
We carry them even though we have put them down years ago.
Let them know they are always welcome in your safe and loving arms.
no matter their age,
no matter the challenge,
no matter the demands,
no matter what you think they need,
all they truly need are your arms, the rest is extra.