I was a fairly young mama, 21 years old and only married a year and a half before I gained the title mommy and soon after added two more to the bunch. I don’t regret starting our family young. However, there are some things I would have loved to truly know deep down in my soul on those days where I found myself lonely and weary in the mommy-hood trenches.
You do know what trenches I am talking about, right? I think we’ve all been there before; exhausted, un-showered, begging Starbucks to deliver a venti to you, puke in your hair, surrounded by noise, mess and chaos. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, please message me. I want to know how you avoided that scene because I’m knee deep into it right now with our fourth!)
Sadly, I can’t write myself then, but I can write this to you, sweet young mamas, so here we go…
Dear Young Mama,
You are beautiful. I know you don’t think so. You see the bags under your eyes, you see those deep and red stretch marks, and you feel exhausted. But I see a young mama devoted to her littles. I see her smile, I see her laugh, I see her hold little ones close, and kiss the top of their sweet heads. I see her put herself last, so that her babies can come first. That is beauty. You mama, are beauty. Learn to believe that. It will carry you through all the hard days.
Oh mama, you are more capable than you give yourself credit. Even when you think you are at your breaking point, you can and will push through. Somehow you will make it through that long and exhausting day successfully. You will rock mac & cheese thrown at you, tantrums at Target, and even conquer poop smeared into the carpet. And it all will be worth it. Motherhood will be your biggest accomplishment and greatest adventure. Embrace it all.
Sweet mama, there is this weird mama phenomenon, after you collapse on the bed at the end of the night, you will suddenly desperately miss your babies and be tempted to sneak into their rooms to kiss them one last time. Some nights you will do just that and fall asleep in their beds, smelling their freshly bathed hair. And you won’t even care that you missed your favorite show or that your dinner remains cold and untouched. You are exactly where you want to be.
That being said, remember to take care of yourself too. You are important. You need rest, you need to eat, you need to be able to breathe. It’s ok to step out of the house once in awhile by yourself. Go to Starbucks alone or with a good friend. Go to Target for something else besides diapers and wipes. Go to the gym in the evenings, or find your own corner in a bookstore. Don’t waste your time being guilty for taking care of you. It’s absolutely true that you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others well.
Ask for help when you need help. Admitting that you are in need is not a sign of weakness, rather it’s a symbol of strength. Find your tribe. Your circle of people that will encourage you, laugh with you, cry with you, and cheer you on. You need them and they need you. Friends will enrich your life in beautiful ways.
Please don’t buy into the lie that everything about motherhood is honeycomb and roses. It’s not. There are some phases that you will never miss, believe me. But those sweet and tender moments? Soak them in because those will be moments you will long for again. However, as your babies grow and change, so do the phases, and they are all equally as amazing. So try as your might to enjoy the present and to be present.
Sweet young mama, sneak kisses under the covers with your spouse. Take time to be silly with each other. To talk with each other. Even if you are tired. Nurture that relationship just as much as you are nurturing your relationship with your babies. Your marriage is worth the effort and the time.
But most of all young mama, BE KIND to yourself. Don’t compare yourself to the internet or other mama’s around you. You are perfect the way you are and your children need you to be just you.