These wishes were born last year as we prepared to have a "virtual baby shower" for my life-long friend Amy, who now lives way up in Alaska. Some are tips that were passed on to me in the last 5 years of parenthood. Some are, quite frankly, things I'm still working on for myself.
While I wrote these words for a dear friend about being a new mom, this is pretty much what I tell anyone who is about to embark on the path of parenthood.
I hope you love... every minute of being a mom. Chances are you might not though, heaven knows I don't always. In those moments know you are not alone & it's OK. You know what they say: Parenthood is the best job there is - but the hours suck and the bosses really are just whiny little tyrants. (Speaking of whine, I also hope you also love wine, because… Well, look up mommy and wine on Pinterest. You'll get the idea.)
I hope you learn... to sometimes be selfish. This is so much easier said than done, at least for me. Even harder not to be guilty about it. But you need time off. To yourself. Alone. So schedule it for yourself - a few minutes every day if you can, a few hours every week. Exercise, read, soak in a shower or tub, go have your toes done, hide in the kitchen and surf the internet watching cat videos. Time for YOU will make all the difference.
I hope you ignore... the unread mail, the piles of laundry, the dirty bathroom, and all the other chores for a long time. Particularly the first few months. Always remember you just GREW a person. Inside you. Then had it pulled out of you. Trust me, your body needs a wee bit of time, or like 6 months, to recover from that experience. In the meantime, that little person you grew is still looking to you to take care of it. You have plenty to do feeding & bathing the 2 of you. For the love of all that is right and holy - the dishes and laundry and vacuuming can damn well wait for someone else to do it.
I hope you aren't afraid to follow your instincts, your mother's intuition, your heart. No one on the Earth will ever know your baby like you do. There are lots of places out there to seek advice, and lots of folks who will give it. I've got the greatest pediatrician on the planet. She is no nonsense, no drama & is extremely supportive of me as a parent & in trusting my gut. This gave me immeasurable confidence. So I will pass along her wisdom: Listen to your inner voice. You will know what is right for you & your baby & your family. Do that.
Likewise, I hope you aren't afraid to ask for help if you need it. Particularly when you feel like you don't know what you're doing, that you cannot do what you think your baby needs, or that you just can't handle it - please say that out loud & repeat it until someone hears you.
Maybe more importantly - don't be afraid or ashamed to accept the help. Five years and 2 kids into my parenting gig & this is probably my greatest struggle. No, no one is going to do whatever it is the way you probably think it should get done. Take a deep breath & just be OK with that.
I hope you grow to be the mother you always wanted to be. You are still amazing even if you find you became another mommy altogether. Expectations are funny things - at least for me. They often get in the way of my seeing the beauty of reality, because it's not what I envisioned.
I hope you laugh at how absurd being a parent is. I hope you laugh even as you are crying in frustration. I hope you laugh when your kid does something SO outrageous you want to scream. I hope you laugh when the baby poops on the shirt you just put on, or throwsup down your back 5 minutes after the first shower you've managed to have in 3 days. I hope you laugh at yourself, a lot. I honestly believe you have to laugh at yourself or you'll cry your eyes out. Me, I usually do both at the same.
I hope you remember every moment & cherish them... Oh no, no please don't do that. Why do people even say that? "Remember these times, they are so precious. They grow so fast, hold onto every second." Yeah, don't bother. For one thing entire months are a flipping blur & seriously, a lot of it you'll be happy to forget. Unless you're really into bodily fluids, maybe. Me, not so much.
Instead, when the those sweet, funny, remarkable, sunlit, beautiful & otherwise perfect moments happen - take a mental picture. If it stays all gauzy and you have the time, then go grab the camera. But first, lock it in your mind. I promise you, when the roller coaster car is flying off the rails, you'll remember - and be able to laugh.
I hope you believe... You're already an outstanding mommy.