When I became a mom, both my partner and I were shellshocked. It honestly took several months before we got used to the idea that we were parents. Our daughter joined our family via adoption, and we only had six hours notice before her arrival. So, needless to say, the whole parenting gig took us by somewhat of a surprise, which is why, looking back, there are things I wish my partner said to me when I became a mom.
To be fair, I'm sure my partner feels the same way. Both of us were trying so hard to figure everything out all at once that we barely had time to think, let alone say thoughtful or helpful things to each other. In some ways, it's a sort of a shame that we didn't get to ease into our roles as mother and father more slowly. Then again, the enormous gift of our daughter fully outweighs all those petty wishes. I still wonder what it would have been like to be a little more prepared, but in the end and always I'm so glad we entered parenthood the way we did: in a total whirlwind.
We didn't even have a car seat or a bassinet or a single piece of clothing for our newly adopted daughter, so clearly what we said to each other was more along the lines of, "How many diapers should I order?" o,r "Are you sure you made the bottle right?" Still, hindsight is unforgiving and now that time has moved me forward in the motherhood journey, there are definitely some things I wish he'd said when I became a mom.
"You're A Natural"
On the one hand, it was so natural to be a mom and it was so natural to be my daughter's mom. That feeling was instantaneous upon meeting her. Still, there were moments that I felt like I was at a disadvantage because I didn't grow her in my belly for nine months before meeting her. I wish my partner had recognized the moments I felt insecure and reassured me a little more.
"You're Already A Great Mom"
I think every new mom might need to hear this now and again. A lot of mothering comes naturally to most of us, but a lot of it feels like we've been thrown in the deep end of a very large, very exhausting, very unforgiving pool.
"You Never Have To Do The Dishes Again"
Ah, wouldn't that have been nice? Ha! Needless to say, those words have never, ever been uttered in my house.
"Our Baby Knows You're Her Mom"
Because we adopted my daughter, there was a lot of conflicted emotion living up in my head about whether my daughter was bonding with me. I spent a lot of time simply giving myself pep talks about how she was bonding, and how she knew my love for her. I also had this stupid little voice in the back of my head, though, reminding me that my heartbeat wasn't the same heartbeat she'd been hearing for the last nine months.
"I'll Get Up With Her Tonight"
When my daughter joined our family, my husband had just started a new job and I was staying home with her in the daytime. That meant that most of the time I felt responsible for getting up in the night with her. My husband did stay up late enough to feed her so I could crash early and stock up on a few hours of sleep, but I wouldn't have minded if he offered to get up with her in the night a few more times.
"We Will Figure It Out Together"
As a new mom I felt a lot of pressure to figure everything out immediately. Never in my life had I been handed a brand new project with very little instruction, that came with so much pressure of success, so I took it all very seriously. Add the pressure of being an adoptive mom who wanted to make everything totally perfect, and you get a crazy lady who tries to do everything herself. I needed my partner to take me by the shoulders, look me in the eye, and say, "We will figure it out together."
"Go Take A Nap"
I was high on the adrenaline of becoming a mom for about three months before I crashed and felt like I could barely get out of bed. I wish my partner had forced me to get more rest when I couldn't make myself take a break from my daughter.
"Our Baby Is Perfect, Because Of You"
I still wish my partner would say this more often. He gives my daughter so many compliments for how cute she looks in her sweet little outfits, but guess who does all the work to put those outfits together? Guess who has to get them on her wriggling body? A little credit here, please!