Mother’s Day.

All day today, my mind has been running down memory lane.

Who am I kidding? It’s more like I’ve been having fragmented thoughts between hypocritically yelling over my kids to “lower their volume” and equally finding moments to snuggle with them.

But during those little pauses throughout the day, I found myself reminiscing about the pregnancy and newborn days.

It feels like eons ago that I proudly announced that I was pregnant for the first time.  At the same time, I can hardly believe my youngest will be two years old this week. The old saying about the days being long but the years going fast is painfully true. I am feeling it today.

Today, I thought about how the season of pregnancy announcements, packing “the hospital bag”, and finally getting to sniff my baby’s newborn scent is gone forever.

And what I also thought about was how much I learned along the way. I kept thinking about how much life has changed in the last eight years and my own evolution as a mother and individual.

They say hindsight is 20/20.

Well friends, today as I relish in a new chapter of life where my youngest is a full-blown toddler and I officially bid goodbye to the season of baby bumps, I feel compelled to share my lessons learned to those women who are just embarking on the beautiful, yet messy journey of motherhood.

So here it goes. If you are just getting started whether you’re sporting a pregnancy bump or baggy eyes from taking care of a newborn, here are a few things that maybe, just maybe, you haven’t heard yet.

  1. Avoid comparing the 3 B’s. You think you know it. Your better judgement tells you not to compare. But sometimes you just can’t help it.  Don’t ever compare your body, baby or baby daddy. There’s already enough going on with emotions running wild and hormones acting a fool. Remember, this is your individual journey. Find your rhythm. It may look nothing like your best friend’s or that super cool woman you met at that breastfeeding club. Resist the urge to feel like you should be doing it all differently, because you see someone else on a different track. It’s okay to get inspired, but it’s not okay to knock yourself or feel like you’re behind.
  2. Set small goals for big achievements. Look, I know you are some bigshot who has always been quite capable of overachieving. You’re about to get wrecked as my son calls it. Which reminds me, I should probably tell him to stop saying that. But here’s the thing, small things like showering, eating, and feeling sane are now going to be your daily challenges. Set small goals, write them down, and give yourself recognition when you achieve them. It will feel amazing.
  3. Ask for help. No, really ask and don’t feel bad. There’s a cultural tendency for American women to feel like they should be able to DO IT ALL BY THEMSELVES. Like, it’s a sign of weakness if they ask for help. Look honey, you’re bleeding into mesh underwear, you haven’t slept more than 2 hours at a time, and you’re responsible to keep a helpless human-being alive. You need help. Nobody needs to be a martyr here. Find help and lock it in.
  4. Remember the person you were before motherhood. That person matters. She’s in there somewhere. You might not recognize her anymore and she has certainly changed. But she’s there and she needs to be noticed too. Did you blast music in the car with the windows down? Were you a socialite that met with friends all the time? Were you a runner? Or a motorcyclist that rode cross country? If you’re the last one, I really want to hear from you. But the point is, that person matters. Her passions matter. Her joy outside of motherhood matters. That is what makes you unique and your kids need to know that version of you, too.
  5. Laugh. Or at least try. There is no doubt that there will be tears. Tears of exhaustion. Tears of fear. Tears of stress. Tears of joy too to be fair. But you must find the humor sometimes. It’s a little funny when a tiny human being gushes yellow milk turd all over the changing table and onto you, no? How can someone that small do so much damage? Look, crazy things are going to happen. May as well have a positive attitude and laugh about it.

And most importantly, enjoy the ride.  If you want to hold your baby all day, hold the baby. If you want to take a thousand pictures, take a thousand pictures. And if you want to spam your family and friends with those pictures, you just go right on ahead. There aren’t rules when it comes to these things.

This is it, mama. It only happens once with this precious baby.

Before you know it, you’ll be having fragmented thoughts between hypocritically yelling over your kids to “lower their volume” and finding moments to snuggle with them.  To reminisce about the pregnancy and newborn days that will only be a sweet memory of the past.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and moms-to-be!