Promise to a New Mother

My dear friend,

Soon, so very soon after eons of waiting, you’ll be bringing your new little one home.  You’ve been a mama in your heart for a long time, but now finally the world will recognize you for it.

As my first act of welcoming you to the sisterhood of diapers and drool, I make the following promises to you:

First and foremost, I will never give you advice unless you ask for it.  Whether it’s baby gear, sleep schedules, toilet training, or preschools, I’ll leave my soapbox in the closet to gather dust.

Never will I say, “Just wait until…”  For better or for worse, where you and your little one are now is where you should be.   Also it’s not nice to terrify mothers of two-year-olds about what age three will be like.  It’s just not nice, people (even if it’s true).

I will never utter the phrases, “You don’t understand because…” or “You’ll understand when…” These dismiss the fact that you are smart and kind and loving and you always do your best to understand where others are coming from even if your own path is different.

Speaking of which, I promise not to counter every one of your stories with one about my own children.  You’ve probably already heard them all anyway.

If you call me to tell me every single milestone your little one hits, I will squeal and clap along with you each and every time and tell you that you are one fabulous mama with the most clever baby.

On the days when you worry that your baby hasn’t yet hit a milestone, I won’t tell you what you should do or that it’s no big deal or that babies do things in their own time or to be patient or (worst of all) to be grateful because that milestone only makes life harder.  I’ll just listen.

I promise never to notice your unwashed hair or rumpled clothing, but if you happen to mention it, I will immediately offer to babysit (or pay for one if you insist on living way too far away) so you can have an hour to yourself.

I promise to call or write often and talk about the baby if that’s where your mind is or NOT talk about the baby if you need to just be an adult for 20 minutes. I will totally understand your need to interrupt the conversation every two minutes to avoid meltdowns or handle snack requests.

But I will also understand that you are busier and more exhausted than you have ever been, and that when you do have a half-hour to yourself, you probably want to just sleep or read or watch tv.  I will miss you, but know that you’ll be back when the fog lifts.

Every birthday and Christmas, I will check first before sending clothes or toys or books to see if you have something in mind.  But if your brain is frazzled and you don’t know what you want or need, I’ll just pick out something and send it, along with a gift receipt.

I will sympathize when you’re at the end of your rope and say you aren’t sure why you wanted to be a mom in the first place, and promptly forget it afterward when you are having a better day.

Most importantly, when I screw up and do every one of the aforementioned things, I super-duper-double promise to apologize profusely and try a thousand times harder next time.

I am honored to share this journey with such an amazing friend.   I cannot wait to meet your little one.  Because I also promise that I will always love you both with all my heart.



13 Responses to Promise to a New Mother
  1. Gramma
    August 27, 2011 | 12:28 pm

    wonderfully written, Jessica! I just heard words fly out of my mouth that broke one of those promises and wished I could take them back. You’re right about doing our best to be present for what KP needs and be available if she asks..

    and a huge welcome to baby AP!!! Cannot wait to see more pictures of this beautiful baby woman.

  2. decoybetty
    August 28, 2011 | 3:48 am

    I think this just mailed (and of course followed through with) to all new mommas. I had no idea, until my sister in laws had babies, that being a mom made everyone so judgemental (there I ago be judgey! – but you know what I mean!).

    • Jessica@Team Rasler
      August 28, 2011 | 8:49 pm

      I do know what you mean! I have a hypothesis: I think that there is almost nothing we care about more than our kids, so we spend ludicrous amounts of time trying to figure out how to keep them alive and happy. After reading and thinking and worrying and deciding, some moms simply can’t fathom that there is any other right way than the one they chose! Out come the soapboxes, regardless of the spirits they might crush.

  3. Ashley
    August 28, 2011 | 7:33 am

    Well put and so kind! Great point about being a judgmental mom, you should always follow your instinkts.

  4. OneMommy
    August 28, 2011 | 7:48 am

    Beautiful letter! So true about the things you wrote. I hate it when people start telling stories of their own kids when I”m in the middle of a story of my own… (although I am probably guilty, too!).

  5. carina
    August 28, 2011 | 10:25 pm

    What a lovely post. I would have loved to have gotten a letter like this when I first started out as a mother.

  6. Jessica
    August 28, 2011 | 10:52 pm

    These are great things to do for a new mom. I know I would have appreciated it in the beginning and still would today.

  7. Heather
    August 28, 2011 | 11:49 pm

    What an amazing post! I sure hope I’m not pregnant and don’t know it, that letter made me puddle up!

    Stopping by from SITS

  8. Melissa @ Completely Eclipsed
    August 29, 2011 | 7:02 am

    Every woman should get a copy of this when they leave the maternity ward! It’s so true. I’ve been victim to many of them, and sometimes the perpetrator myself. Great post.

    Stopping by from SITS

  9. Rachel
    August 31, 2011 | 12:33 am

    I adore this. How many of those things we learn after we become a mom and we want to run screaming from all the advice? 🙂 I especially love the not-terrifying-a-mother-of-a-two-year-old.

    I am so tweeting this 🙂

  10. Shell
    August 31, 2011 | 6:20 am

    We should all make those promises to new moms!

    I hate(even now) when people say “Just wait until….”

  11. Lady Jennie
    August 31, 2011 | 11:32 am

    Oh gosh – you’re so virtuous! Let me sit here in sackcloth and ashes because I broke every rule (except judging appearance since mine needs so much work).

  12. classycareergirl
    September 2, 2011 | 9:14 pm

    This post was so sweet! I am not a mom yet but I can imagine that your tips are soooo helpful to new moms!!

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