Thursday, August 5, 2010

To Myself in Six Months.

Dear Ashley,

I am so curious what your life is like with a baby. I can imagine – you are probably exhausted and overwhelmed but so happy. But really, I have no idea. I am not writing to you to muse over what life with a baby is like, I’m writing to you to remind you who you were pre-baby, pre-mother. Undoubtedly, there is much I don’t yet understand and cannot fathom about motherhood, but I do know a few things I want to help you keep in perspective.

Spend time with Mike. That man you married? That man who is the father of your beautiful baby? He’s pretty fantastic. Don’t forget to appreciate him daily, to let him know how much he means to you. I know you can’t afford to get a babysitter once a week (or even once a month, let’s be honest) – but make sure and spend as much time as you can with Mike. And talking about the baby’s pooping and sleeping habits? Doesn’t quite count as quality time with your husband. Snuggle with him after the baby goes to bed, the dishes can wait. I promise.

Don’t worry so much. If I know you, and I think I do, you worry about whether the baby is growing at the right rate, whether he’s sleeping enough, whether he’s eating enough, whether he’s getting enough tummy time, if he’s too hot, if he- JUST STOP. Enjoy your baby, don’t spend these precious early months overanalyzing and over thinking your every move. Trust yourself. You are a good mom.

Talk about things other than your baby. When I was in college, I remember writing in my journal that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have children, because it seemed that my family members who did immediately forgot about everyone else in the world (I was obviously a bit hurt). I know priorities are rearranged and your baby is Super Important – but don’t forget that your family and friends are still around. Figure out which friends and family are happy to discuss cloth diapers, sleep schedules, and parenthood – and which ones want to stab their eye with a fork when you do so. And don’t forget – you are more than just a mom.

Learn about things other than your baby. Keep listening to podcasts, reading books and blogs about current events and social issues, and generally just caring about what is going on in the world. I expect having a baby didn’t completely remove your desire to learn and grow. Pick up a novel if you’ve read three parenting books in a row. Your brain will thank you.

Record it all, but don’t spend so much time capturing that you forget to experience it. Everyone tells you how fast this time flies by, and recording it (even when you’re tired) can help you remember it. Blogging and photographing are fabulous, but don’t let them take precedence over spending time with your baby.

Spend time with you. Go get a cup of coffee. Go for a walk (or run! You can run now!). Read a book in the sunshine. Journal. Pray. Write. Call a friend. Take a bath. Go out to dinner. Don’t lose yourself.

All my love,

PS: Moms, do you have anything to add?
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