for all the perfect mothers

I thought motherhood would be different for me.  I believed that all my hard driven tendencies of perfectionism and people pleasing would simply fall by the wayside when this tiny little person arrived on the scene.  Because wouldn't my love for her outweigh all that ingrained nonsense?

Alas, it was not to be.  And thus I found myself crying like a lunatic in the middle of the formula aisle at my local Wal-Mart with a two week old baby in the cart while my husband rubbed my back and assured me that not nursing this baby did not mean I wasn't a great mom, even if the boob nazis said different.  (and they did say that, to my face, true story)  Anyway, it turns out learning to be a mom can be pretty difficult when lots of voices are contributing to your idea of what being a momma is.  It took me some time (okay years) to learn that houses can be messy, clothes can be wrinkled, and cereal is a perfectly acceptable supper.    I would have loved finding a note like this tucked under my door during those first few months.

Dear Mother,

When you lay that baby girl down to sleep today please lay down the “perfect” you are carrying around with you.  You don’t need it like you think you do.  This idea of what you think mothering is and who you have to be isn’t really what this is going to be about.  This, dear heart, this is going to be all about love, and nothing about perfect so let’s just go ahead and put that down now.  So if her outfit doesn’t match or you never get that perfect picture for your Christmas card life will still be good, pinky promise. 

While we’re talking about laying things down would you go ahead and lay down “expectation” too?  This expectation you have for yourself and that other folks keep trying to place on your shoulders will just get in your way.  Because while you’re busy loving this baby that shadow of expectation will follow you around like a stray neighborhood dog if you don’t put it out of the house today.  You’ve got a lot of people telling you what to do, which is kind of odd, considering you’re a grown woman who just gave birth to another human.  I’m not sure why they think you’re going to need this truckload of advice because mostly you don’t.  It will help if you decide early on who her mother is going to be, the crowd out there bursting with expectation, or you.  You aren’t going to have time to constantly be second guessing yourself so you would be wise to pick you and stick with it.  You don’t think you know best yet, but you do.  Let’s not forget who endured the infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy part of this life experience.  You’re made of pretty stern stuff little momma so you don’t have to let anyone else tell you how to mother your child.    

It’s really pretty simple. 

Feed her, change her, hold her.

Listen to your heart and listen to your child.    For nine months your two hearts have beat within the same rhythm so hold her close and keep moving to that rhythm.  Pretty soon she’ll be dancing to it.

You’ll see.


Here's praying all you mommas get a moment of rest in a busy season of growing.

Happy Mother's Day,


 Writers Seth and Amber Haines have complied a book of letters for mothers, from the wise to the funny, to encourage all of us mothers in our daily work with these little people we call kids. It's a thoughtful gift for mothers in any stage of life.  

*I didn't receive any compensation for sharing their book with you.  They're just good folks who do good work*