I have only been a mother to little babies for six months now (how did that go so fast?!?!?), so I am by no means an expert. In fact, I am pretty sure I know less about parenthood today than I did the moment the boys were born. Motherhood has humbled me, big time. And (on most days), I'm so thankful for that. Before I had the boys I thought pretty highly of myself. I had watched my friends have kids and thought I had a pretty good handle on this whole parenting thing. I was going to be that "laid back mom" who made everyone marvel at my mad mothering skills. First, I don't know where I ever got the idea that I had a shred of an easy going personality. And second, I was way wrong. Like I said, motherhood has humbled me. So this post is mostly a confession about all I've learned these last crazy six months. It's not a parenting manual. It's just reality. And I'm sure in the next six months my eyes will be opened to the many more things I have yet to learn.
So consider this a letter to my first time mom self. It's what I only wish I knew six months ago.
Hold the baby. Seriously, Courtney. Pick up that sweet baby you helped create and snuggle until both your hearts are content. I was like a "holding Nazi." The boys could only be held at certain times of the day and for only a prescribed period of time. My poor dad came to visit right after they came home from the hospital and I was so stressed about them getting used to being held and never sleeping at night that I took no pictures of him holding the twins because he hardly even got to hold them. I'm sure he held them some, but not as much as he should have. Courtney, hold the baby.
Self-soothe will come later. Again, I was obsessed with this whole self-soothe idea. I read all these things about the importance of learning how to self-soothe. I didn't want them to be poorly adjusted and have issues until they were adults because they never learned this vital skill, so I stressed about it. And stressed about it and stressed about it. They will learn it, Courtney. If they don't, I'm pretty sure they won't be relying on you for comfort when they are eighteen.
Relax. Just relax. Sleep patterns will emerge. You will survive the sleepless nights with most of your sanity in place. They will eventually stop crying, and life will settle into a good routine. Relaxing will help you enjoy the moment, which is the most important thing in these early days. The precious, baby moments won't last forever and you will want to remember yourself relaxed and happy, not frazzled and crazy.
Put down the books and get to know your baby. Having twins has really made me see that no two babies are alike, even if their DNA is exactly the same. If I believed everything a book told me I would be trying to fit one or both of my children into a mold that he simply wasn't made for.
Let go of your need for control, because it's just an illusion anyway. This is a lesson that God obviously wants me to learn because he keeps bringing it up in my life. I want to learn it well.
And most importantly, Courtney, be thankful to God for these precious gifts. You aren't guaranteed more sleep. You aren't guaranteed days of ease. You aren't guaranteed obedient children. But you are guaranteed a heart full of love. And that's what I want to remember from this first year of life. I want to remember that my heart swells with love for these precious boys every time they look me in the eye and smile bigger than I knew possible. I want to remember that I'm daily brought to tears over God's provision for these boys. These are the things that will stay with me even when the most well intentioned day doesn't even come close to going as planned.
It's been a good six months as their momma. And I can't wait for every month after.