A Letter to My Mom

This letter is in response to the daily prompt from earlier this month:

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. Wherever in the world you are, write your mother a letter.

Dear Mom,

I just have one question for you. How did you do it?

Now that I’m a mom, the things that I took for granted while I was growing up seem like monumental achievements, and I wonder how you managed.

How did you simultaneously care for twin newborns and a precocious toddler? When did you sleep or eat or shower? What were you thinking as your babies were crying and your eldest was clamouring for your attention? Thank you for always making all of us seem loved and important and like we were a priority, even though you had a thousand other responsibilities.

When did you find the time to teach us all to read before we started kindergarten? How did you manage to help each of us with our homework and science fairs and school projects? Thank you for instilling in each of us a life-long love of learning and for playing an active role in our education all the way from preschool to university.

Where did you find the time and money and energy to involve us in so many extra-curricular activities? You sat through dance recitals and airband concerts, swimming lessons and karate tournaments. You picked us up and dropped us off from Brownies and Beavers meetings. You helped us rehearse poems for Speech, Arts, and Drama and put together costumes for Christmas concerts. And I never once heard you complain, even though there must have been times that you would have rather just crawled into bed instead of driving the thirty minutes into town to get us to another lesson. Thank you for a childhood of memories and experiences that have enriched me as a person.

How did you manage to get a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table every night, even when you were working full-time? Eating out was such a rarity, I remember going to McDonald’s with a friend in elementary school and not even knowing what or how to order. Thank you for teaching me the importance of nutrition and sitting down as a family for dinner every night. Thank you for teaching me how to cook, and for making it fun by letting us be responsible for choosing recipes and helping you make them.

How did you keep adult worries from plaguing our childhoods? I never heard you discuss money or any of the other issues that must have consumed a working mom with a husband and three kids. Thank you for preserving my childhood and letting me a kid. Thank you for having the strength to keep those things from us, even though I’m sure there were times that you wanted to say something in front of us. Thank you for making home a safe place.

How could you keep on giving all of these things (and more) in the face of tantrums and complaining and “I hate you”s? How could you keep on going, year after year, knowing that your children wouldn’t truly know the depth of your sacrifice until they had children of their own? Were there days when you wanted to run away and never come back? Thank you for putting up with us when we were ungrateful and mean and for not turning your back on us, even if, at the time, we deserved it.

You’ve set the bar high, and I hope that I can be even half of the mom that you are. I don’t know how you did it, but thank you.



Why Do I Blog?

A few days ago, the daily writing prompt was:

Why do you blog?

A simple question. And truthfully, a simple answer. There are a few different reasons that I blog.

I’m a new mom, and so am in the middle of a huge life change. I have tons of thoughts about the things that are happening to me and around me. Sometimes I’ll lie awake at night, just pondering everything that I’m learning. It honestly feels like my head is going to explode with the jumble of disorganized ideas and questions that I have. I need to get these thoughts out of my head, and writing helps. Putting these abstract thoughts into organized words and paragraphs makes sense of them and provides me with some order.

I want to remember these moments with my baby, the good and the challenging. I can already look back and see how much both he and I have grown in the last six months. I can only imagine what life will be like two years from now…or ten years from now. I don’t want to forget any of it.

I’m also writing for the benefit of other new moms. When I had my baby, I didn’t really have much of a support system. Other than my sister and my mom, no one around me was really there to help me through the difficult transition. None of my friends have kids, so although they could be empathetic, they couldn’t truly relate or understand. I felt so much guilt and shame and worry over so many different things, like my struggle with breast-feeding, the debilitating lack of sleep, my changing relationship with my partner, my total lack of self care…the list goes on and on. Once I got my head above water and started venturing out into the world and listening to other moms, I realized how completely normal and common these issues are. I wasn’t alone in any of them.

I’d like to imagine that late one night, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, a new mom who hasn’t been out of the house or even showered in days comes across one of my posts and recognizes herself in something that I’ve written. Maybe it would validate something that she’s feeling and make her feel a little bit less alone.

That’s why I blog.


Today’s writing prompt on The Daily Post is:

Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from).

This is something that I thought a lot about when I first brought my baby home from the hospital. I was not prepared for how difficult it was going to be. Before he was born, I spent 33 years of taking care of no one but myself. All of a sudden, I had to spend 24 hours a day tending to this little person whom I had just met.

I had help for the first day or two once he came home, but after that my partner was back at work and I was home alone all day. I had no idea how to manage my time. I think I showered once during that first week. I ate maybe once a day, and slept almost not at all. Baby P. wouldn’t sleep in his bassinet, so I would stay up all night, holding him on the couch so that my partner could get some sleep. I used to dread night-time. When 9:00 pm rolled around and my partner went to bed, I would cry because I knew that it meant a long, lonely, sleepless night.

During these nights, when the world was asleep and the only sound that I could hear was the buses passing by my house, I used to fantasize about how I could get some rest. Maybe I could run away to a hotel for a night or two! No, only irresponsible moms abandoned their new babies. It had to be something outside of my control. I was just recovering from a c-section; what if my stitches ripped open and I had to go the hospital? Yes, that would work!

It sounds horrible that I would actually take comfort in thinking about being in pain, or that somehow being hospitalized was preferable to taking care of my baby. I can’t explain it. The sleep-deprived brain thinks many surprising things. I would never actually do anything to hurt myself, but thinking about my escape route got me through many long nights.

Things are better now, of course. That shock and adjustment to parenthood passes, and you get into a routine. There are still some days where I dream about spending a night in a hotel all alone. Just me and silence and a big comfy bed. But I know that I would get there and start wondering what my guys were up to…and wish that I was at home in my own bed, listening to the monitor to hear the soft breath of my sweet baby boy.