Dear new mothers and soon-to-be-mothers and maybe even mothers who have been mothers for a long damn time,
I’ve decided to write you all a letter based on things I’ve learned since becoming a mother. I have four children; the oldest is 10, and the youngest is 18 months old. Although I haven’t been a mother as long as many other mothers, I think I’ve earned a place to be able to share some advice that should help you not only be a better mother but perhaps will also bring you some inner peace.
1. When grocery shopping, always park next to a cart corral. Forget trying to find the closest space to the door.
2. If your mother-in-law comes over and folds your laundry, don’t get annoyed. She just saved you from folding a load of laundry. I don’t care if she folded it upside-down or inside-out. The job is done. Be grateful.
3. If she wipes your countertops, mops the floors, and cleans your toilets, it’s not because you’re not a good housekeeper; it’s because you’re a good mother.
4. Hand the camera to your husband and ask him to take a photo of you and your little ones. He’s not going to think of it so stop expecting him to. It’s not that he doesn’t love you, it’s that his brain doesn’t work that way. Cut him some slack and just ask; you’ll end up getting a photo you’ll always be glad you had.
5. If your child prefers your husband over you sometimes, don’t get sad or hurt; be grateful your child loves his or her father.
6. If your husband tells you you’re beautiful after having a baby, don’t respond with an insult to yourself. He said it because you’re beautiful. Listen to him.
7. If you feel like your mother is advising you as a mother, she’s not judging; she’s helping and she wants to see you succeed. She’ll never stop wanting you to be a successful, happy person. You’ll do the same with your own child someday. Just take a deep breath and say, “OK, Mom.” Even if you don’t agree. Your child will do the same with you someday.
8. If you’re pregnant and reading this, after you have your baby, you won’t be the center of attention anymore, your stomach will resemble mashed potatoes, and your boobs will swell and hurt like you’ve never felt before. Motherhood is not always pretty. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be sad. The beginning is so very hard.
9. If you’re pregnant and reading this, I guarantee you think these things won’t happen to you or they won’t be as bad as you think … but they will. (But you still won’t believe me.)
10. If you’ve made a decision to breastfeed, make a commitment to breastfeed. If you decide it doesn’t work for you, it’s more difficult than you thought, it’s just not for you; don’t make excuses, you’re the mother, it’s your decision to make. Own it.
11. It’s okay to want time alone. It’s good to have time alone. For all of you.
12. Don’t ever judge other mothers. When you judge others, your children can hear you. When you love others, your children can hear you AND feel it, too.
13. Don’t ever judge other children.
14. Do something for yourself every single day.
15. Every day, from morning to night, there are people who love you more than they love themselves. Even with your imperfections, your lack of patience, even without makeup, you are so loved. These people are your children and they are so lucky to have you.
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