Dear Young Mom of the Future,
I may not know you yet. Right now you might be five years old, dressing your baby dolls and pretending you are a mommy.
It’s such a good thing for little girls to dream of. Being a mom is the most wonderful thing in the world. It’s also hard. I’m in the trenches now and I love my kids more than life itself. But I want to remember what it’s like. Dear, sweet, overwhelmed young mom of sixteen or twenty or twenty-seven years from now, here is my promise to you.
I will be your friend. I will come to your house uninvited with a nourishing meal and dark chocolate in hand, and I will clean that house for you. I will fold the laundry and wash the crusty piled-up dishes. I will rock your fussy baby so you can take a shower and a nap. I will blow bubbles and color with your preschooler and help your third grader with his homework. I will take your kids to my house for the afternoon, if you wish, so you can go to the gym or have a lunch date with your husband or have a Bible study or read a novel or take your grandmother to the doctor or go grocery shopping or buy lingerie without a vocal 3 year old in the fitting room.
I will not judge you, inwardly or outwardly. If your floors are sticky, your bathrooms are dirty, your closets are disastrous, and you haven’t found time to shower today, I will not look down on you. I get it. Some of us are naturally organized and driven and manage to get most of it done, and some of us are just plain overwhelmed. I will not put on a plastic smile and then secretly tell my best friend what a slob you are, I will not make snide “helpful” comments, and I will not self-righteously imagine that I would never have let this or that go like you have. I will extend grace to you, just like God has extended grace to me.
I will pray for and with you. I will lift you up to God, who loves you and your husband and your kids more than you can imagine, the One Who can aid you far more than I can with my paltry suppers and babysitting. I will pray His blessings over you, spiritually, physically, and in every other way. He is the best Helper of all.
I will understand how passionately you love your children and how much you want the very best for them, and yet how it sometimes seems like too much. I understand that you really think you should be like that softspoken mom at the park who obviously has unlimited patience and guides her children with grace every moment (which is a fallacy, by the way—no one is that perfect). You can confide in me. When you yell at your toddler who just WILL NOT STOP WHINING, and you are eaten up with guilt and shame and the fear that you have completely failed as a mother and that if anyone knew they would agree that you are a bad mom and that you have ruined your child forever…I will come alongside you without judgment, I will listen and reassure you, and I will help you learn tools to handle that frustration. And hopefully a bit of assistance from me will be the safety valve that keeps you cool in the meantime.
I will be glad to share the bits and nuggets of wisdom I have learned in the trenches, but I will understand if you choose not to always put my advice into practice. Sometimes it is just too much, and maybe you are so exhausted that you can’t remember what day of the week it is…or postpartum depression has a hold on you and you have spent the morning on the bathroom floor crying while your toddler watches one TV show after another…or my suggestion just feels like one more guilt-inducing obligation you should fulfill to be a good mom…or there is a generational divide I don’t understand…or it’s simply not the right choice for your family—that is OK. I am not the Holy Spirit and I don’t want you to feel pressured to follow my ideas.
Young mom of the future, maybe right now I am where you are. I am tucking these memories away for you. The good memories, yes. Sticky hugs and kisses, sweet nursing babies, snuggles and books on the couch, “You are my favorite mom ever,” trips to the zoo. Memories of the most precious parts of being a young mom. And I am also saving the other memories: the exhaustion, the messy house, the not enough time, the sticky floors and piles of laundry, the feeling overwhelmed and wondering sometimes just how I am going to get through the day.
Don’t worry, dear young mom. Help is on the way!
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