To the new moms: hold on

babygwen1

I feel infinitely smarter since having my children. Not only smarter, but more confident. I guess that comes with the territory of being responsible for the lives of three growing babies, 24/7, for over 5 years now.

Today, I had to admit to myself that my “baby,” Hudson, isn’t a baby at all anymore. Mini-man rarely lets me hold him still so I can kiss his cheeks over and over as he drifts off to sleep. His arms encircle my neck these days, and his legs are so long they dangle down the rocker’s sides. He’ll be two in March, and just like the first time I held his five year old and three year old big sisters, the day he was born is as clear in my mind as this morning.

Where did the time go? I know where it went, and it has been well spent pushing my children on swings, teaching them how to color, count, walk up and down stairs, blow bubbles, swim, slide, ride a bike, use a spoon, make a bed, build a fort….New moms, my hope for you is that you don’t wonder where the time went either, so hold on:

Hold on to tiny hands; admire teeny fingers and toes. Kiss squishy baby cheeks all you want, listen to the coos, giggle and squeals of this new life learning how to be a part of the world. Don’t wonder if it’s a waste of your time to gaze at your newborn’s face hour after hour while he or she sleeps. It’s not.

Hold on to your baby as long and as often as you want. The only thing you’ll “spoil” is your own experience by not doing so. Sooner than you know, your little one will be wiggling out of your arms – then crawling, toddling – and letting go of your hand, whether you’re ready or not – and walking toward his or her own adventure. When this happens, don’t be sad. You are witnessing your child growing.

Hold on to yourself. You transformed from the former you to a mother the minute you conceived this life, but don’t forget what makes you tick, or you will get lost. When you find a nano-second to spend on and with yourself, don’t feel guilty. A mother with charged batteries is a better mother.

Hold on to your spouse, and remind one another that you’re on the same team as you grow as parents, even when you’re both drained of energy and haven’t slept more than 2 hours straight in months.

Hold on to your confidence as you feel like you’re clueless, exhausted, and foreign in your own body as you heal from pregnancy, birth and the wrath of postpartum hormones, all while you navigate through this new role of motherhood. You are amazing.

Hold on to the knowledge that your little one loves you for you, no matter how you dress, cook, if you never exercise, get any laundry done, if you perform well at work, or how fantastic or awful your hair looks today. And you should too.