Well folks, she’s here. Our sweet surprise (ok, really our holy crap why is this happening what are we going to do) Baby Sunshine arrived at the end of July. She was so excited to meet us, she came a day before her due date with 3 1/2 hours of labor. THAT was an experience. Thankfully, she arrived safely and without a hitch. We were home eating pizza on the couch 4 hours later (our birthing center experience was AMAZING). There I was, euphorically launched into #MomLife, staring starry-eyed at a little face that kind of looks like me (ok, mostly like her dad, but a little like me).
The funny thing about #MomLife so far is the being spit up on, getting up at weird hours, being responsible for KEEPING A PERSON ALIVE, etc., is not the hardest part. Those are just things you do. You love that little person so crazy much, you get up at 4am, even if you don’t really want to. The hardest part of #MomLife is believing truth about it and not giving into the #MomLies that sneak in and try to get you.
9 Mom Lies that are out to get you
#1. You are enough.
You are not enough to handle this alone. When moms talk about finding your tribe, they aren’t going hippie weird on you. Probably if you were stranded on a desert island with your newborn, you could take care of her all by yourself. I don’t know how you’d get stranded on an island with a newborn, nor would I recommend it. Aside from the rigorous workload a newborn can bring to your life, there’s an emotional roller coaster of hormones, expectations, fears, and doubts that can leave you feeling a little woozy. Don’t you dare try to navigate that mess by yourself. If you don’t have good people, find some. Join a moms support group or take a prenatal exercise class or post on a Facebook moms message board. Don’t believe the lie that you can handle this on your own.
#2. You are not enough.
I know, I just told you that you can’t do this by yourself and you need a tribe. Yes. Also, some days you will feel like you cannot do this, you’re going to die from lack of sleep, and if you smell like spit up for one more minute, you’re going to lose your mind. Momming is HARD. You are doing a HARD THING. You can do it, and you are doing it. Don’t believe the lie that you are not going to make it.
#3. You need all the things.
Don’t get me wrong, gear is great and headbands are heavenly, but you don’t need all the things. Probably you should go unfollow all the Instagram designers of baby graphic onesies and tiny headbands and mini moccasins, etc. etc. because it’ll mostly make you discontent with what you have. Here’s a weird thing I’ve noticed about babies. They have no concept of status. Your baby does not care if he’s riding around in a Solly baby wrap or a Baby Bjorn carrier or an open backpack. Your baby does not care if she’s riding around in the gazillion dollar stroller that has a built in phone charger or on a blanket in a red wagon. Don’t believe the lie that you need all the things.
#4. You can do all the things.
Take it from a busy, go-getting, do-all-the-things kind of girl, YOU CANNOT DO ALL THE THINGS. I am bumping up against this boundary right now, and it is driving me crazy. I have this picture in my head of the ideal wife and mom who gets everything done on her list and always looks amazing. Well, let me tell you, there are piles of laundry waiting to be folded on my couch, we ate sandwiches the other night for dinner, and I still haven’t written some of my baby shower thank you notes! I assume you eventually find a rhythm and your kids get big enough to help with cleanup, but for now, I have to be content that my little family is fed and the house will get cleaned when I have a spare minute. Do what you can when you can, but know that you’re creating a whole new normal. Don’t believe the lie that you can do all the things.
#5. You being a mom is the only thing that matters.
Don’t get me wrong, being a mom matters BIG TIME, and we’ll get to that in #6. I probably don’t have to tell you, but Baby Sunshine is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. Ever. Ever. She also takes a lot of work, and likes to spit up on everyyyything. Baby Sunshine is super important, but if I thought that being her mom was the main thing, I would be wrong. Our kids benefit when we have our priorities in order, when we put God first, when our marriages are healthy, and when they don’t get to thinking they’re the center of the universe. Don’t believe the lie that being a mom is your single, solitary identity.
#6. You being a mom is insignificant.
Sometimes, you can get a little bogged down in wiping poop off of everything, fighting for time to do your makeup and trying to make parenting decisions. When I was on maternity leave, my husband would come home and ask how my day was and what I did. Saying, “Well, I fed the baby, and changed the baby, and managed to get some clothes on myself and feed myself” felt a little flat. I didn’t close any big deals, didn’t run 5 miles or have a deep conversation over coffee. But hey, I kept this small person alive when they couldn’t do it themselves. I taught them a small lesson in what love feels like and maybe planted a seed of kindness that will some day grow into a kind person. Don’t believe the lie that you being a mom is insignificant.
#7. You should be momming at someone else’s pace.
Have you ever seen that movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting? The title in itself is kind of a joke because no two pregnancies, moms, or babies are the same. Pretty much the only thing you can really expect is you absolutely will not give birth to a giraffe. Other than that, everything is kind of up in the air. This doesn’t change once the baby is born. Some moms heal quickly and are back to working out right after their 6 week appointment. Some moms don’t leave the house for a few months because they just don’t feel ready to navigate the world with a newborn. Some moms don’t have any issues with post-partum depression. Some get hit really hard and it takes a little while for things to even back out. The only thing you should be doing is momming at your own pace. Don’t feel bad if you’re totally fine with leaving your baby with your mom while you run to Target. On the flip side, don’t feel bad if it takes you a couple months to feel confident taking your mini out. Don’t believe the lie that you should be momming at someone else’s pace.
#8. You will be stuck in this phase FOR.E.VER.
I can’t really imagine Baby Sunshine walking around and telling me about her college application essays. It doesn’t seem possible that this small person will ever grow up that big and learn to walk and read and have best friends. This phase of diapers and slobber and waking up at 4am won’t last forever. Some day I might even miss those 4am snuggles and finding mysterious stains on the front of my shirt. Every phase has a fun part and a hard part. Don’t believe the lie that you will be stuck in this phase forever.
#9. You are choosing the wrong method.
As soon as you get pregnant, you are plunged into a world governed by methods. Oh, are you using the Bradley Method? Hypnobirthing Method? Lamaze Method? Eh, nope, I’m just going to keep calm and push that baby out. Is that a method? Once the baby is born, it’s are you using The Happiest Baby on the Block? Babywise? Attachment Parenting? Are you Co-Sleeping? C.I.O? Nope, I’m doing Baby Sunshine parenting, but thanks for asking. Glory, there are more methods than you can shake a stick at, and each one seems to have articles and testimonials and someone with a Ph.D. behind it. Inevitably, you will feel like you’re choosing the “wrong” method. Your job as a parent is to do your research, know your kid, and make the best decision you can for your family. Don’t believe the lie that you are choosing the wrong method.
#10. You are responsible for how your kids turn out.
This one is really hard. I would love to think that if my husband and I bring up Baby Sunshine to be a Jesus-loving, creative, adventurous learner, that’s how she’ll turn out. As it happens, I am only responsible for my parenting, not my child’s, uh, child-ing. I’ve known successful kids with awful parents, and awful kids with successful parents. You are accountable for doing your best job parenting, not making sure your kid is popular or successful (or even happy). Don’t believe the lie that you are responsible for how your kids turn out.
So there you go, moms. Affirm the truth about #MomLife for yourself and your fellow moms. Because when you’re sleep deprived, things get muddled, including the reason that smelling like spit up is so worth it. Our little people need us.