A friend of mine was once asked when she felt able to say she had the whole parenting thing figured out. Her response: “the day before I had my first child!”
Y’all, that would also be me because it’s true, right?!? Before our first precious child comes along, it’s all just make belief and planning. And, us gals are so good at that. We’ve probably spent a good portion of our childhood playing house. Then, we feel like we’ve spent a lifetime preparing, so of course we’ve got it right!
This is an open letter of confession and apology to the many moms I have judged over the years for not having it all together when I (not yet a mother) had parenting all figured out. Maybe you can say “me too” or breathe a sign of relief knowing you’re not alone.
To the friend I judged for not looking at me, listening to me, and giving me your full attention during a conversation – I’m sorry! I didn’t understand why you felt like you always had to have at least half your attention on your child. Selfish me, I felt like what I was saying wasn’t important. I should have been more patient. I am now you and I get it. Turns out moms develop an insane ability to be in conversation while also watching their children!
To the friend I did an inward sigh and eye roll to when you listed off all your child’s accomplishments and accolades – I am sorry! I didn’t realize how important and life-changing it was to see your child hold a spoon for the first time! I cannot even imagine how excited I will be throughout the years as my children continue to accomplish great things like eating with a fork or putting their own shoes on! Now I get it. Every.single.thing they do is an Instagram worthy moment!
Not becoming a parent until the age of 36 there were many times I was the only non-parent in a group of friends. I am sorry I found your conversation crazy at times. How can a group of grown adults spend so long discussing the ins and outs of parenting, comparing products, taking about poop, and sharing milestones? You have a break from them and yet you spend your time talking about them! I get it now. They consume your thoughts. When they’re not around you kinda think about them more because you’re wondering and worrying. Is he okay? Did he settle in childcare? What time did he eat his snack? Did they change his diaper? Your mind uses that time to think about everything and you use that time with mom friends to ask everything!
I’m sorry for all the times I have judged so many SAHM friends, and strangers, for not having their homes spotless and catalog picture ready at all times. I mean you’re at home all day, so I didn’t see how you could possibly let the laundry pile up or have dishes in the sink. I knew I would have a clean home, laundry done, and there would always be clean plates to eat from when I was a mom. Then I had a kid! Y’all, they consume your day!
And you don’t stay home all day because you’re out taking them to activities, doing grocery shopping, Target runs, etc.! I get it. I start the day with good intentions and put clothes in the washer but that is sometimes it. There has been more than one occasion when the end of the day comes and I realize those clothes never did make it to the drier.
I am SO sorry I judged you for feeding your child junk food! There was no way I was going to do that. As a SAHM with all the time to do all the things, it was going to be organic, homemade food for every single meal. Every day. Even on road trips! Then life happened. I get it. Some days you just have to get food into your child and they choose to so politely (cough cough) decline the food you lovingly made them. Or you’re just simply exhausted, open the fridge or freezer, and get something from there into your baby’s mouth because they have to eat!
Friend, I didn’t believe you when you told me how hard this parenting gig can be at times and I’m sorry.
I’m also thankful you welcome my questions and concerns without judgement or criticism. Friend, I am thankful I am not in this alone and thankful you understand. The truth is we are all so good at being perfect – in theory. Let’s give ourselves and others some grace and be imperfect together! Let’s have more “me too” moments. I know I’m not the only one who has gone to bed with laundry sitting in the washing machine, dishes in the sink, and an obstacle course of toys throughout the house!
Baby number two is due in March and, my friend, I am sorry because I still won’t have it all figured out and might even become less organized and more distant for a while! Be patient with me, please. Like they say, the days are long but the years are short. While I have this precious time with my children, I plan to be present for every single moment, knowing that one day I will breathe and have 5 minutes, even a whole day, to myself … and probably miss their sweet faces the whole time! As hard as it is at times, being a mom is the best job and I simply love it!
I am thankful I have had my eyes open and become a different, better, I believe, person. I am still your friend who loves you, is interested in your life, wants to hear from you, and even though I seem preoccupied, I will always try to make time for you … like you have done for me.