794693DC-19C8-42A4-B22C-D3918008992AI can remember all to well the cliché advice that strangers along with family and friends so eagerly tossed my direction, it was as if they all had read a script of what to say to a young adult or soon to be mother. “Don’t grow up to fast.”, “Enjoy this while you’re young.” and once pregnant it’s; “You better get all your sleep now.” {{As if one can simply slumber a little extra and save it in a jar for the nights when sleep is void.}} “Date while you can.”, and then when baby arrives, “Cherish these moments.”, “Don’t hold them all the time, you’ll spoil them.” followed by a host of other repetitive sayings. All the effort expressed by people who, no doubt meant well and no ill harm, could have saved those general statements and instead imparted some influential, indispensable information.

Nobody warns you, and I mean REALLY warns you about growing up to fast or about motherhood, but I assume that they too probably are still caught in their own whirlwind of aging. I picture us all being caught in the tornado that Dorothy found herself in, in “The Wizard of Oz”, except ours is more personal, fitting to the trials we face in our own lives. It’s as if an older adult catches us in one of the revolutions, holding a gaze just long enough to throw out a sudden warning, but then the gaze is snatched apart by a violent change of their own winds, and its every man for themselves. Perhaps it’s the fear of rejection or the awkward silence that ensues once a weighty once of wisdom has been granted, whatever the reasoning behind the forbearance of such wisdom, I decline to hesitate on sharing it, if I’m looked upon and judged as awkward or to “deep” so be it, if that’s the price and scorn I must bear to possibly be a light in a dark place for another, I’ll gladly pay it and wear that A for awkward!

Nobody warns you that the baby won’t be the only factor in your sleep deprivation, but your mind will be as well, thoughts will swirl in your head so speedily you won’t even be able to digest the thought before another comes whipping by. Thoughts like “When does SIDS statistics start to decline.” “I hope she’s getting enough nutrients through her milk.” “What if she has cancer?” “What if I’m messing up and she’ll be messed up?!” etc., the amount of thoughts you will have are enough to make the Guinness World Records.

Nobody warns you just how exhausted you will be, how you can forget to eat resulting in you being even more exhausted, which in return causes that evening shower to slip your mind as you fall asleep in the glider with a baby sprawled across your chest which is clothed by a t-shirt donned with a host of baby’s fluids.

Nobody warns you about how different your relationship with your husband will be, how you feel so torn between him and the baby. You will find yourself with one and wishing to be with the other, sometimes admitting defeat and make haste to end that date night or call a babysitter last-minute to try to fill the void of loneliness you both so heavily feel. You feel completely delusional because how can you miss someone who you see everyday? You long for his touch and conversation but are so overstimulated by little hands pulling on you, your brain is exhausted from the thoughts you’ve had all day about the baby that conversation at this point would be one syllable responses which would just irritate your husband, and your ear drums are to the point of rupturing from all the cries and high-pitched giggles and squeals so if your husband doesn’t speak in his deep voice that’s all the better.

Nobody warns you that time seems to pass sluggishly and then almost instantaneously the little, squishy pink baby you coddled in your arms, now stands chest high on you, you realize you no longer have to bend down to kiss her, now you only have to nod your head ever so slightly before your lips reach the top of her blonde head and you can breath in her scents of shampoo and sweat which has replaced the sweet smell of infancy and baby powder. Best advice is take pictures and lots of them because they grow so gradually you don’t even notice it until it’s too late, time cannot be reversed and pictures be taken so take them now, take them in the everyday moments, not staged by a photographer. Take the picture of them playing in their underwear in the rain, take the picture of them enjoying their favortite meal, take the picture of them crying while tattling on the offense caused by their sibling. For heaven’s sake, Take. The. Pictures.

Nobody warns you that your heart bursts open with overwhelming pride whenever your child shows kindness or love towards someone who isn’t very lovable by society’s standards. Truthfully, all emotions are BIGGER than they were pre-baby, when you birthed that babe your heart mimicked a caterpillar turning into a butterfly; before your emotions were stationary, limited to only one plane and selfish, feeding only oneself. After child-birth your heart’s wings are developed and it takes flight, a new beauty shines forth from your wings, {{if you’ve never seen a butterflies wings microscopically, your missing out}} different layers of colors blend together to portray works of art by the Creator’s own hands. Those colors are your emotions, different depths of red and blue, all cohesively creating a new, improved you.

Nobody warns you that you WILL lose yourself, in the twister of diapers, all nighters, feedings, and raw emotions you will lose yourself, its inevitable. You pour yourself into your children and your husband, into your church and community, into your business, then when it’s all quiet you realize there’s nothing for your own cup and besides that you don’t even know what flavor you like anyways. You forget what brought you joy before they came into your life, since being with your husband, you always did what he wanted to do because you wanted to make him happy. Then the littles came along and it’s whatever would be fun and memory making for them, but remember yourself Momma, don’t forget about you. Don’t get so busy filling up everyone else’s cups that yours is completely empty. Don’t let the mom guilt hinder you from doing things for yourself. Your littles need to see you make yourself a priority so they too one day will do the same when they become parents. Do it for yourself and if you can’t do it with that mindset then do it for your kids, they need your example.