Hindsight’s 20/20 isn’t it? Especially when you’re looking back on your own childhood when you're a new parent. When we're new parents, we're automatically endowed with these new insights, new feelings on responsibility and family, and, well, the acute knowledge that we owe our parents (or parent or grandmother or caregiver) one hell of an apology. If you grew up with a present and supportive mother, becoming a parent will inevitably make you think about her, and end up forcing you to say all the things every new mother should say to her own mom.
Seriously though, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that becoming a mom made me think back on my own relationship with my mother. She lives over 300 miles away, but has managed to maintain a steady presence in my son’s life since he arrived thanks to semi-reasonably priced flights, our modern highway system, and the marvels of technology (FaceTime and endless video calls for the win). As a result, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to consider everything that moms do for their kids, and everything they do when their kids have kids (shout-out to my dad, too, although that’s another conversation for another day).
Now that I'm in the throes of motherhood, I realize that my mother really did know what's best and she really did have my best interests at heart and she really didn't want me to be miserable for the rest of my life. Basically, I realized that I owe my mother a big apology, among other things, like:
"Thank You For Everything. For Life. For Shelter. For Clothes. For Acne-Fighting Face Wash When I Was A Tween. Everything."
How can you properly thank a parent who did a good job? It's nearly impossible, I've learned, but hugs are a perfectly reasonable start.
"Speaking Of When I Was An Acne-Fighting Tween, I'm Sorry About The Sass"
I may or may not have shouted angsty nonsense and slammed a few doors. I'm not proud. However, since I grew up outside of Seattle (where it was super cloudy all the time) I do feel my angst was slightly warranted.
"Do You Have Baby Pictures Of Me And/Or My Siblings Available?"
Trust me on this one, please. As your baby grows, you'll be glad to have them.
"Also, Do You Have Any Of My Old Baby Gear?
One of the best pictures of my son (as an infant) was when he wore a teeny tiny vintage sweatsuit in the colors of the college where his dad and I met. Pretty clutch that my parents happened to, A) buy baby clothes in support of the best university ever, B) keep them for decades.
"Will You Hold My Baby While I Take A Shower/Get Something To Eat/Lay On The Floor In A Semi-Comatose State?"
Chances are, she will be happy to do so. You will get to function like a human, and she'll get to be the loving, attentive grandmother she has probably looked forward to being for far too long.
"Will You Change This Diaper/Put The Laundry In The Dryer/Hold My Hand While I Cry?"
Perhaps those seconds can even turn into minutes?
"Is This ______ On My Baby Normal?"
As a new mom, I asked myself this question at least eighteen times a day. Veteran moms may not always have the answers, but they will at least be able to reassure you that you're not crazy for asking.
"My Apologies About The Spit-Up On Your Shirt"
Although, deep down, I think it made my mom feel like a legit grandma, but it's still gross.
"We Are Ordering Pizza For Dinner Tonight Because I Don’t Want To Cook And I’d Rather Have Your Help With This Newborn Than Ask You To Do It"
I learned this one the hard way, you guys. My mom paid us a visit and stayed with my partner and I after we brought our son home, and she offered to cook so, so many times (which was super helpful, don't get me wrong). However, what was even more helpful was when she was hands-on with the baby. Like, I've been cooking for years. I'd had a baby for a few days. I needed an expert.
"I'm Effing Tired. Everything Hurts."
Because sometimes all we really need to do is just be heard.