Dear Brand New Mom: What I Mean

Dear Brand New Mom,

It may be frustrating to hear experienced moms (or even grandmas) make comments about how things will be in the future – you’re just trying to figure out how to manage your new baby in the present. The comments may be the last thing you want to hear. I realize now that I say things like this with the best intentions, but I know they are often not received as I’ve meant them. Let me try to translate:

What I say:

“Oh, they grow up so fast…watch out!”

What you might think:

Good grief, I can’t wait to get some sleep, please let them grow up! Let’s get to the next stage already!

What I mean:

My kids are older now, and I miss the baby stage. I wish I could remember that stage more clearly but it was just a blur. Be prepared to feel this way too. Take lots of pictures and write down tiny details because your memory fades.


What I say:

“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”

What you might think:

Yeah, right, when exactly does this baby sleep? And when they do, I have 839 things to get done!

What I mean:

Do not feel guilty for letting your other responsibilities go, and go take care of yourself.


What I say:

“Oh just wait ‘til they are teenagers, then you can start complaining about parenting!”

What you might think:

I’m in the depths of hell right now with this parenting thing, I got it.

What I mean:

The challenges that parenting bring grow and change as your kids grow and change. The problems you have now won’t always be there, and be ready to tackle new ones.


What I say:

“You want to do ‘xyz’… Trust me. I learned the hard way.”

What you might think:

I’m a smart cookie, I will do it my way, thank you very much.

What I mean:

You will find out all of this for yourself, but somehow I feel like if I tell you it will help you learn it faster. I know it won’t, and you need to experience it for yourself, but I want you to know I’m here for you if you have any questions, because I’ve been there.


What I say:

“It will get better, you’ll figure it out.”

What you might think:

I don’t know, I am not sure I’ll ever get used to this parenting thing. I’m tired. I’m confused. I’m not sure of anything.

What I mean:

It will get better. You’ll figure it out.

 

Give yourself time. There is a steep learning curve. Trust yourself!

 

Sincerely,

A Mom Who’s Been There

 


About the Author

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Jen Winckler is a Newborn PEPS leader in Snohomish County. She is a stay at home mom (aka. Volunteeraholic) to two boys, ages 10 and 8, and is still trying to navigate the constant curve balls that parenting dishes out. She used to dread the minivan driving soccer mom title, but has come to love watching her boys play their hearts out (and did sell the minivan as soon as they could open their own doors without banging the car in the next stall).

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