Twenty-five years ago tomorrow I gave birth to my first child, our son. While I was reminiscing about that day such a long, long time ago, I realized how odd it was that I can remember every detail of his birth, and yet many of the years since then are a bit of blur.
I suppose that’s normal. We get busy with our kids and their lives, and suddenly those picture memories are all you have to show for it. Other than the amazing person they have become, that is.
I was Supermom when my son was born….or at least that’s how I saw myself. Bringing a human being into the world gives you this I-can-do-anything mentality. We brought him home from the hospital, healthy as horse (thank you, thank you) and still my Supermom mentality lingered. I didn’t need any help. Sure, I enjoyed the week with my hubby by my side, but this parenting thing…piece of cake.
About two weeks in everything came crashing down. I wasn’t sleeping…I wasn’t eating…I sure as heck wasn’t showering. What happened to Supermom?
Well, as it turns out, Supermom is human. Supermom does need help with everyday tasks when she’s trying to recuperate from bringing life into the world. She certainly needs someone giving her a ‘you’ve got this’ pat on the shoulder. Because trust me here folks, Supermom can easily become Super-crying-hysterical-mom in an instant.
Yes, I had a breakdown of sorts in the grocery store; standing there with my cart full of food I wouldn’t have the time or energy to cook, crying over which pacifier to buy. Twenty-five years ago I was a naïve twenty-six year old, with no clue how to take care of a baby; nothing but pure gut instinct guiding the way. Thank goodness for my level-headed hubby, who kept me at least partially sane during it all.
In celebration of my son’s birthday, I’d like to offer a little Supermom advice to all those new mommies out there:
You’re amazing. You just brought life into the world. Be gentle with yourself.
You can’t do it all. Don’t try. It isn’t weak to ask for help…it’s smart!
Listen to the experts and sleep when you’re baby sleeps. The dishes and laundry will be there when you wake up.
Take as many pictures as you can, because one day those memories will be nothing more than a vast fog you attempt to wade through for clarity.
Play music, sing, and talk, talk, talk to your baby. Let them hear your voice.
Choose your battles. You may not have many battles when your baby is little, but this is wise advice I gained along the way that was and remains to be invaluable.
This too, shall pass. When you’re sleep deprived and can’t form a coherent sentence, remember that a month from now all your challenges will have changed. I refer you back to item #1, because you can’t be reminded of it enough.
Twenty-five years ago we didn’t have the technology that we all take for granted. And you know what, I’m glad. I learned how to be a parent the old fashioned way…by doing. I didn’t need some fancy app to keep my kid contained in a restaurant…I parented and I said no and I spanked.
I will never profess to be a perfect parent. I also won’t gloat about my perfect kids. My kids are exceptional – no doubt about it - but they are human. They’ve made mistakes, taken chances, and along the way they’ve always had their dad and I to talk to. Being a parent is truly the greatest blessing. It is also the toughest job you will ever take on.
Happy birthday T. I love you and I’m so very, very proud of the man you’ve turned into. You have made me my own version of Supermom....because I’m YOUR Supermom.