Yesterday you held a friend’s baby, sniffed in her baby smell, relished her baby-soft skin. You marveled at her baby babble, delighted at the sight of her drunken sailor walk, her first days of learning to be upright & moving in this topsy-turvy world.
You tried to recall those moments with your own children, now 3 & nearly 5, & despite all the photos & videos you’ve taken, the memories are vague & hazy.
One of your girls is on the far side of your friend’s house with her genius daughter, aged four & reading books aloud with words like “delicate” & “invisible” & “fabulous.” The other is in a miniature circus tent, scouting out toys, studying their shapes & they way they are made.
No one is choking on small parts, or falling down stairs. No one is sticking their fingers in electrical sockets, eating fuzz off of the rug, pulling the blooms from the orchid & taste testing those, too.
Relax mamma. That time is gone.
& though there is a slight twinge for what once was, you do not necessarily want it otherwise. Those were difficult days, filled with exhaustion & a common urge to cry. Remember how it annoyed you when people would say “it will go by fast?”
I’m here now to tell you that it’s true.
I”ll whisper it first, because I know you are so tired & tender & the baby is wailing & her sister, 20 months, has chimed in & nothing seems to console them so it gets that you want to cry, too. These days will pass. Trust me. Breathe through the piercing cries. Breathe slowly, & deep. Lay down with them & sing, stroke their heads.
When they finally drift off to sleep & you scurry about, wanting to take advantage of the quiet time to get a few things “done,” I will stop you, hold you by the shoulders firmly but gently & look you square in the eye, just to be sure you are listening, & tell you that the dishes can wait. The laundry, too. Go take a nap with your babes. You need it. It will make you feel better, more able to enjoy the day when you wake.
Self care, dear mamma, you need more of it, & I will tell you this, through a megaphone if I must, to get you to listen.
Give the babes to their father, no matter how much he balks & glares & they cry for you. Get out of the house for some fresh air, a walk, a swim in the sea, some tea with friends. Take time for you to be you so you remember who you are.
Get together with your other mamma friends more. Stop worrying that you’ll be intruding or adding challenge to the scenery with your two lively beings & your tendency to spontaneously weep. They’ll understand. They’re where you are now, wondering how they can be so smitten by their children one minute & the next wishing they were drinking martini’s in Tahiti. Even the ones who don’t drink. (Especially the ones who don’t drink).
Call the friends that you miss, the ones without children who have fallen off the radar, who seemed to be freaked out by the chaos & have stopped calling & coming around. Call them & tell them when to come. Do not leave it open-ended because the days go by & they don’t come, & this will sadden your heart like a cold stone. Give them a date & a time, & to ask them to bring food & a sense of humor.
It might surprise you to know that asking for help does not make you inept, weak, or needy.
Asking for help gives those who love you an opportunity to be part of your picture while offering forth the support you need. It deepens your relationship & allows your children to feel that solid sense of community that you have come to know & love. It will impart a sense of trust with others, for both you & your children. It will keep your friends on the radar, help you feel less lonely.
I will remind you that you will one day be less lonely, especially as you consider your mamma friends who are waving goodbye to their children, sending them off to college or long sojourns with backpacks to find themselves. Those mammas feel loneliness in a way you can’t yet understand.
It’s all so precarious, the nature of time, the balance between give & take.
You’re doing a beautiful job with your children, dear mamma. All of the love & attention you give them, the healthy food you make, the order & beauty you surround them with- they are thriving & will grow into loving, grateful, spirited beings filled with wonder for the world around them.
But don’t work so hard, mamma. Go easy on your self, & try to create the space needed to enjoy yourself as much as you do the same for your children. Because you count, too.
Without you, none of this would have been possible.
Your Sparkle Power Mamma, …aka YOU! xo