Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Letter to Myself

Most of my posts have been about Mason. Which makes sense since he's so new and cute and cuddly. But one thing I haven't posted a whole lot about is motherhood. Being a new mommy. My life. Since having Mason, I've learned so much. I've screwed up. I've had good ideas. I've had bad ideas. I have good days. I have bad days. But through all of this, I have made little notes in my phone to myself. Notes of encouragement. Do's & don'ts. Simple statements that make total sense when you read them with a rational mind. And tonight, I've decided to put all of these thoughts into a letter to myself so I can always have this to go back and refer to. Especially in the future when the Burnside family expands even more. [Don't be getting any big ideas from that statement either.] Since writing a letter to yourself is a little awkward, I guess I'll just get into this thing.

Dear Self,

Let me start off by telling you how awesome you are doing. That's right. You. Are. Awesome. You became a new mom just a little over four months ago and I am amazed at how well you are doing. However, you tend to beat yourself up sometimes. I know being a mom can be challenging. But that doesn't mean you get to judge yourself every day. You are still new at this. You still have time to learn. Honestly, you'll be spending the rest of your life learning how to parent.

I wanted to write this for you to have something to go to, other than your first pick, the Bible, to feel encouraged. If anything, it will remind you that there are good days and bad days. And on any day always be thankful that God chose you to be a mommy!

1.) Pick your battles. Do you really need to change your child out of every onesie that gets a little spit up on it? Do you really need to clean the kitchen right now? [Yes, cleaning the kitchen is a battle. A full-on war at my house.] Do you really care if he gets baby food all over him? Sometimes, you just have to let life happen. No matter how messy it might be.

2.) Don't compare yourself to other moms. I promise not every mom out there fixes their hair every day and puts on make up. I promise not every mom out there dresses cute and looks super polished. I know there are some moms out there like this. And I commend them for their efforts. Seriously. You deserve an extra jewel on your crown [no matter how sarcastic that might sound. I really do admire you!]

3.) Don't compare your child to other children. If I've heard one phrase, I've heard this: "Not every kid is the same." That couldn't be more true. Sure, some kids have a lot of the same attributes. But sometimes your kid might develop a little slower. Sometimes a little faster. They might be bigger than everyone else his age. He might be smaller. Might have ton of hair. Might be bald. You catch my drift. Either way - he [or she] is still God's sweet creation and he's perfect just the way he is. 

4.) You don't always know everything. This kind of touches back to #2. I promise that not every mom out there has all the answers. We are all still learning this thing called Motherhood. Embrace that and join them in this journey! And don't pretend that you have it all together either. Fess up to your faults. Admit when you really don't know something, no matter how dumb you might feel. One of them might actually have a great solution for you that could change your life.

5.) Don't let your camera get in the way of enjoying the moment. I have felt true conviction over this lately. I realize you take millions of pictures and videos of your child. You're a new mom. That's what new mom's do. Especially since social media is like the new way [besides blogs] to document your child growing up! And it's completely ok. But just don't let trying to take all those pictures get in the way of you actually embracing the moment. When your child rolls over for the first time or laughs for the first time, don't be so focused on your camera that you miss the moment! Enjoy every single moment with that baby. And keep posting pics...their grandparents LOVE them! ;)

6.) Start saying no. This one is huge. I realize before having Mason, you thought you were superwoman. You thought you could do it all. But let me tell you can't do it all anymore. You can be a mommy, a wife, a friend. You can even have a full-time job [other than being a stay-at-home mom]. You can serve in your church. But you are going to have to start prioritizing things before you start saying yes to everything. Will this new commitment affect my being a wife and mother? Do I really have time to do this? These are things you need to ask yourself before ever saying "yes" again! 

7.) You have literally lost your mind. When you got pregnant, you lost a little bit of your mind. And when you gave birth to Mason, I think a whole 1/3 of your memory disappeared. Hopefully you gave Mason some of that. Regardless. You've lost it. It's probably not going to come back. And it's really not going to return when you have more kids. So just accept that. Make millions of reminders for yourself on your iPhone. And move on.

8.) Don't sweat the small stuff. This coincides a little with #1. And a lot with #9. But it definitely deserves it's own number. You will live a very stressful life if you don't start letting go a little bit. Babies cry. They poop. Sometimes they poop on their clothes. [Ok, a lot of times] Sometimes they just cry because their bored. Sometimes you take them in Target and they have a screaming fit and you have to leave without making a single purchase. Sometimes you can't get the house clean because your baby wants to be held all day long. Sometimes they have to wear the same socks 3 days in a row because those are the only ones that will stay on their feet. Hear me when I say this: "IT'S OK!" These instances are not life or death. Life will still keep going. I promise.

9.) You have lost all sense of control. Ok, that sounds a little dramatic. You can still control SOME things. Like what kind of baby food Mason eats today. Or what he wears. [Sometimes, the lack of clean laundry decides that for you.] But, most of your control is gone. You now have a new human being who fully depends on you, but you can't quite fully control. [And some days this will drive you CRAZY.] You can't stop his arms from swinging while eating his sweet potatoes that just happen to knock the spoon out of your hand and get sweet potatoes EVERYWHERE. You can't stop him from getting hungry. You can't stop him from pooping. [I just realized how much I've referenced poop. I should have a clever joke here, but I got nothin.] Just know [what you've known from the beginning] that you can't control every situation. Like I said in #7, accept it and move on.

10.) BREATHE!!! Yes. You. Just breathe. [Ever After reference, anyone?] Taking motherhood one day at a time is all we can do. Life throws you curve balls. Huge, giant curve balls. But just remember to breathe, count to 10, check your iPhone for all the reminders you've set for yourself for the day, and get to it! Life is too short not to enjoy every moment! Babies are only babies once in their life. Soak it all in and HAVE FUN!!

Love, Yourself.

[Awkward signature...oh well]

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