Dear Sweet Mama

Dear Mama,

Hello sweet girl.

I see you.

When you are not looking or paying attention, because how could you be with that baby and all? While you are just trying to get through your day, just trying to do well in this minute of your life.

I see you.

Yes. YOU.

I see you at the grocery store, baby in cart, slobbering all over their fingers and rattle, while you murmur as you check off your list, "Hey sweet baby…. we’re almost done… just a few more… where is the spaghetti sauce? Oh my gosh - $3.85 for THIS jar of sauce?! Can you believe it, sweet baby? How are we even supposed to live?”  But your voice is soft and every now and again you smile big and tickle sweet baby’s feet. You are rockin’ sweatpants and a semi-clean “Mama Bear” t-shirt, while your hair is wrapped up high in a trendy topknot. Except you don’t feel trendy, you feel like you need a shower. Your hair hasn’t been washed in days and MAYBE there’s a teeny-tiny bit of spit-up in it. A pedicure would be nice and probably a salad, but those Cheetos are DEFINITELY going into your cart. With Diet Coke. The Bachelor is on later and hopefully you’ll get 15 minutes in before you crash out.

I see you.

I see you when your baby starts to scream. I see you sing and murmur and clap the first song that comes to your head. I see you desperately try to find that damn binky, the one that someone’s old grandma tried to PULL OUT OF YOUR BABY’S MOUTH last time you were at this store. I see the other mamas look over at you and I see you avoid their eyes because you know, you have learned, they are not always looks of solidarity and help, and who can even deal with all that mama-judgment right now?

I see you swallow a shaky breath.

Oh, precious mama, it is so hard not to cry.

I see you with family. It’s a mixed bag isn’t it? Some are like cool water being misted on your arms during a scorching day, others are like Jaws after he had his teeth professionally sharpened by Satan’s dentist. Everywhere you look, someone well-meaning and experienced is slicing your ideas and mama-hood visions, cutting you to the bone. Or maybe it’s more subtle, a little slip of words, just enough to make the chin-hairs you no longer have time to pluck stand on end, but then they laugh and you wonder if you are LOSING YOUR ONE-FIST-TWO-FIST-SEEING-RED-WHAT-DID-SHE-SAY MIND. And then you know you haven’t when you hear the magical passive-aggressive, “Well, I’m not trying to tell you what to do (a-HEM) but it worked for ME and as you can see, MY PERFECT BLAH BLAH BLAH, turned out JUST FINE.”

I see you feeling second-rate. I see you comparing it all.

I see you holding your tongue, your heart, and the pieces of your pride.

Oh precious mama, chin-up. There is more than way to mothership and all ways are led with LOVE.

And running parallel with LOVE is the lane of LEARNING.

Enjoy your baby. If you want to pick them up every time they cry, you go on ahead and do it.

If you want to use Pampers instead of cloth, get yourself a trash can and Pamper away.

If you want to make your own baby food instead of buy the jars, have fun finding recipes and pureeing.

If you want to homeschool, send to school, open your own preschool – Sweet MAMA. YOU CAN.

One binky or ten. Twenty binkies or none – whatever you think is best. You are MOTHER.

You have been hand-picked, chosen by God, to mama this child with all the love and encouragement growing inside you. You will feel overwhelmed, but guess what Sweet Mama?

WE ALL DO.

Don’t be fooled by the open-mouthed surprises and sun-kissed smiles on social media. Don’t despair when you see a tidied house and walls that look like a Pinterest board. They are filtered snapshots and the one you saw may be number 47.

Seconds later? Someone barfed Spaghetti-os all over the wall. Someone took off their diaper and is trailing poopy-pebbles down the hall like directions to the bathroom. Someone got into the cat’s litter box and is happily throwing sand into the air. You won’t see these. Or maybe you will. What you won’t see is the freak-out beforehand. The deep breaths to calm down. The eleven seconds of panic tears before they are wiped away so the cleanup can begin.

We all struggle.

Enjoy the mess. It’s gone so fast. Read all the Dr. Seuss. Watch all the Frozen. Sing at the top of your lungs, “Let it Goooooo! Let it Goooo!”

Ok. Maybe not that.

Drink all the pretend tea you can get your hands on and glue stuff until construction paper and Popsicle sticks are your wallpaper.

These are the moments OUR LIFE is made of.

I know. I spent way too much time worrying about mopping the floor and unloading the dishwasher. Way too much time making sure their clothes were clean. Someone once called me “The Drill Sergeant.” Back then I thought it was a compliment. Now? I wish I would have relaxed and savored more.

Jump in the puddles. Slap together a mud-pie. Watch your child laugh and giggle until the brightness of their face warms your whole soul. It’s so worth it.

The colicky crying will end – eventually. The constant laundry will taper off. I promise they will stop sucking their thumb – one day. They will sit on the potty and do their business – proudly – and it is OK if you bribe them with M&M’s or stickers. Such is parenting.

They will remember your hugs when they are scared of monsters, and your lap when they are tired.

They will run to you to kiss every boo-boo, and then make up more so you can bandage them with Mickey Mouse.

They will want your approval and your attention.

They will proudly present everything they find to you, one treasure to another.

You are their hero.

You are MOM, Mama, Mum, Mommy.

You make everything better in their world.

…..

I believe in you, Sweet Mama.

You believe in yourself.

XO

Shannon Wasser

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