I cannot believe your due date is almost here! It seems like almost yesterday we were two high school girls belting out The Bodygaurd Soundtrack as we got ourselves ready in the bathroom every morning!
You are about to embark on the incredible journey of motherhood and I just wanted to take a moment and encourage you, lift you up, and tell you what a wonderful mother I think are. I know you haven't actually given birth yet-but you are a mother already, whether the baby is in your tummy or out of it. I guess that sounds a little strange.
God has given you so many gifts and talents, each one of them uniquely designed to meet the needs of your baby. You are your baby's mommy for a reason! Another one that sounds strange, but is so true!
I don't want to waste my words on cliche statements like "Treasure these moments, they won't last forever" or "Someday you'll miss this stage." Except... Well... they're cliche for a reason. When you have your baby, a part of you will miss being pregnant, and when your child is two, you will miss their newborn stage, and when they start school, you will think "How did five years just pass in the blink of an eye?" I don't understand it. I just know it happens. And I am sure when we are older we will both recall how our twenty somethings used to be in diapers!
I guess I also want to pass on a few tidbits of "lessons learned" from the last five years. I am no sage and I am still learning and growing as a mom. Every. Single. Day. However, even in my "early years" of parenting, I have learned a few key lessons.
1. You can't go it alone. I don't mean you can't be a single mom. You can. Although I hope you never have to journey down that road. What I mean is, you can't do it without God. That's another one of those statements that sound cliche and I have heard it a thousand times before. But, darn it, if it isn't true! God is not burdened by the weight of our struggles. He's God. I tried it with out leaning on God, it's a lot harder that way.
2. There is no one "right way" to parent. It seems like, with how difficult parenting can be, God would have written a universal manual for us! There are so many different "schools of thought" out there and and many a parent that will tell you, "This is the best way." It's simply not true. It may be the best way for them, and they may have had success with a certain parenting technique that you may want to adopt (and then it will become the best way for you too!) but that doesn't mean it's the only way. There are lots of ways to get your baby to fall asleep. There are many different ways to potty train a child. You are not less of a mom if you don't breastfeed, working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, to schedule or not schedule...It's up to you (and Jake). Try out the things you think will work for your family and if they don't succeed, try something else.
3. Some days are better than others. You'll have good days and not-so-good days. Mom used to tell me "This too, shall pass." And it always made me feel better. Something I have learned is that while not everyday is a trip to Disneyland, everyday has merit and value.
4. Connect with other moms. Share your experiences, joys and struggles with other who are going through the same thing. Mom groups, church, relatives (wink, wink). Even strangers. I had one of the most encouraging talks with a mom I met for the first time at one of the play places here in town. I will never forget it. Try online. I have found an amazing group of women to connect with, right here, through blogging.
5. When it comes to you babies health, trust your instincts. They call it the "maternal instinct" for a reason. If something doesn't seem right, follow your gut. In my opinion, it's always better to be safe than sorry. And remember, you are your daughter's best advocate!
6. Be ready to eat your words. I can't tell you how many times, before I had kids, I would say to myself "I am not going to do that, when I have kids." I was so sure of myself...And then I had two kids. And I realized a few things weren't as devastatingly important as I once thought they were.
7. I will always be here for you. Seriously. I mean it. Call me whenever. Even 3am. I am available to listen.
8. Date Night, Date Night, Date Night. Caring for a child, there is not always time for one on one time with our spouses. Make the time, even when it seems impossible. Date nights have helped Trevor and I take an uninterupted "time out" for one another.
9. It's okay if you don't know stuff. I didn't know how to change diapers or care for a newborn before I had kids. In fact, I was rather afraid of newborns! I had to learn "on the job" and I just figured it out as I went along!
Have I overwhelmed you? I hope not! I love you so much and can't wait to meet my niece!
**This post added to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop