Nothing make you appreciate your own mother more like becoming a mom yourself. No matter what anyone says, no matter how many movies you watch, no matter how many classes you take, having a baby is like nothing you can imagine. Nothing prepares you. No words of advice matter. A new baby is incredible, but also frightening, lonely, and sometimes miserable. A new baby opens your eyes to parenthood and your heart to vulnerability. As a new mom, you'll face many challenges, some of which will leave you wanting your own mom.
My mom is my best friend. I confide in her, I ask her for guidance, and I come to her for comfort. Some days, nothing can help heal my stress, anger, or anxiety like a hug and a talk from my mom. That is the type of relationship we have. We talk and text multiple times a day. When my daughter was born, my mom had just lost her job. Although it was devastating, it was also somewhat of a blessing-in-disguise. I was lucky because as soon as my husband went back to work, my mom came to help. She came over a few times a week until I went back to work.
When my mom was not around, and when I was completely alone, I felt overwhelmed. My daughter had colic and acid reflux, she did not eat, she did not sleep, and she did not stop crying. I also did not stop crying. When my mom was not around, I constantly wished she was, so there were more than a few times when new motherhood left me calling for my own mom. In the end, and even when you experience a huge change in your life, some things will always remain the same.
When You're Alone For The First Time
The moment my husband left for work is the moment true fear entered my being. "What am I going to do?" I kept thinking. "How will I survive?" I watched him leave, saw the door close behind him, listened to the sound of his footsteps and the growl of the engine in his car, and I knew I was truly alone for the first time in over a week. At that point, I wanted my mom. I did not know what I was doing, but I knew she'd know.
When The Baby Gets Sick
It's the middle of the night and I wake up to the baby wheezing. She sounds like she can't breathe, so I panic and we drive to the emergency room. It's croup.
Meanwhile, I lose about five years off my life and cry for my mommy because I just don't know what to do and we can't get to the hospital fast enough.
When You Lock Yourself In The Bathroom For The First Time
The first time I locked myself in the bathroom was probably at the tail-end of our first week home. When all the shock of having new baby wore off, and all that was left was every other feeling and emotion, I decided it would be best for everyone involved for me to lock myself in the bathroom and cry.
So there I was, lying in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, crying and regretting every decision I ever made. Sobbing into my arms and a towel, I wondered if I was really cut out for the whole baby thing, and I thought of how badly I wanted to be a teenager again and hear my mom knocking on the bathroom door telling me to get out. I wanted it all to be a bad dream. I wanted to sleep for a year. I wanted my mommy.
When You Have Your First Post-Baby Fight
There will come a time when you and your partner will start fighting over everything. It happens kind of unexpectedly and mostly because you're both so exhausted. I have a strict policy about discussing my disagreements with my husband with my parents: I do not. Ever. But, something about the vulnerability of that very first post-baby fight, for a slight moment, made me want to leave my house, drive straight to my parents' house, and cry on my mom's shoulder.
When All You Want To Do Is Sleep
"Mommy, will you sing me a lullaby and rock me to sleep? Or, maybe you can rock my baby to sleep while I get an hour or so in? Please?"
Some days I was so tired I just wanted to cry and have my mom by my side. All I wanted was for her to tuck me in and gently rub my back until I fell asleep.
When Everything Hurts
You know how when you're little and you fall down and scrape your knee you call for your mom to kiss it and make it all better? Well, let's just say the pain you feel after a delivery is slightly beyond a scraped knee. When everything in your body aches, when you're bleeding and you're sore, and when you're emotionally a wreck, you really want your mom to come kiss it and make it all better.
When You Want To Be Alone
There are plenty of times I wanted to be away from my husband and away from my baby, but I wanted to be with my mom. My mom, the woman who raised two kids, knows what it's like to want to be alone. I never understood that feeling until I became a mom. I also understood how, when nothing in the world makes any sense, wanting your mom is one of the only rational thoughts you can hang on to.
When You're Sick
Pre-baby, I could handle any kind of sick. I was a trooper, working through various colds, battling the flu like a champ, and holding my own hair back while succumbing to stomach viruses. But when I'm exhausted from a new baby and my immune system is in the toilet, and I catch a cold, I crumble. All I want is my mom to come over and make me chicken noodle soup and hot tea. That's all I really want.
When You're Trying To Breastfeed And It's Not Working
How did she do it? How did my mom do this supposedly natural thing without any help? As I was trying to (unsuccessfully) nurse my daughter, my mom was my champion. She showed me tips and tricks, she helped me position the baby, but mostly she gave me peace of mind. When I was killing myself emotionally and physically trying to breastfeed my daughter, my mom's words saved me. She said, "Nothing is worth you killing yourself. The baby needs a sane mom. Either start pumping or give her formula. She will eat and you'll both be happy."
She was right. I stopped trying to nurse, because it clearly was not working. I started pumping, my daughter started eating, and we were both much happier.
When You Realize How Hard Motherhood Is
There's a moment when we all realize that this whole motherhood thing is no joke. The epiphany doesn't take long, but it hits you like a brick. "This is what it's like to be a mother," I thought to myself. The constant worrying, the sleepless nights, the anxiety that is permanently burrowed deep in your gut, the explosive love, the relentless guilt, the undying need to do what is best for your kid no matter what. It's all really freaking hard. So I think of my mom and I think of everything she's done and continues to do. I think of how incredible and amazing she is. I love her and appreciate her more every single day.
I've said it before and I'll say it again and again: becoming a mom made me appreciate my own mom. I get it now. I understand the sacrifices moms make. I understand their bond with their kids. Now I know that no matter how old my kids are, they will always have moments when they want me around.