Dear New Mom,

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

I wrote this when baby Brooks was 10 weeks old, but never hit “publish.” I’m rediscovering it now as though someone had written it to me as we prepare for baby #4 in a few short weeks. If you’re in the throes of newborn life like we’re about to be, I hope it’s an encouragement. 

Dear New Mom,

Congratulations! You’re in for a wild ride, in case one thousand strangers haven’t already told you. Even though I’m a mother to three now, it feels in some ways like being a brand new mom all over again. Nothing can prepare you for the sleepless nights and constant demands of a newborn. Even if you have an “easy” child, he’s still a newborn with newborn needs. If he’s awake, he wants to be held. If he’s asleep, you have to keep the volume of the house to a manageable decibel (if other kiddos are around), which is also stressful. And you might try to frantically fit in a few to-do list items while he does sleep.

Ten weeks out from birth, I’ve been trying to find bits of myself again. There’s a swallowing up of womanhood that naturally happens in these early days of baby mothering. But I find that just a little time to make me feel human again goes a long way. When I first wrote this letter, I’d begun listing things to cope with this unbelievably full season of your life: wake up before they do, play worship music, get outside, wear the baby, nix the sugar, treat yourself. I wrote this list after a night I'd gotten a decent amount of sleep. When I reread it this morning (after piecing together about 4 hours with a baby on a growth spurt), I had to laugh. Because these things I was coaching you (and myself) to do hold no weight when you're depleted, exhausted, and discouraged.

Instead, there are two words that keep coming to the forefront of my mind these days. Simplify and savor.

Simplify. Make the big things the big things, and let the rest go. Did you get out of bed this morning? Did you feed yourself and your kids? Did you end the day with living, breathing souls? I call that success. Everything else, seriously, can go. For us, that means really limiting what we do outside the house these days. Brooks is the most peaceful baby I've ever met, but he starts screaming the moment you put him in his carseat until you take him out. So spending 20+ minutes in the car to go to preschool, to Bible study, or even to the grocery store is a harrowing, stress-inducing experience. So we limit our trips out for this fleeting season.

Savor. Have you hugged your babies today? Looked them in the eye? Read to them, prayed with them, held them without also holding your phone?

Finally, and most importantly, open your Bible. I know that sounds like a classic Sunday school answer, but I mean it because I've personally seen the benefits of it and the pitfalls when I don't. Don't think too hard about it... if you're like me, you want to set the stage for a picture-perfect quiet time with your hot tea, calming music in the background, your cozy blanket. Let's be honest: there's just not time for that most days. In the 5 minutes that you know you have that all the kids are sleeping before they magically wake up all at once with various needs, spend it in the Word. The God of the universe is your very life, and you can't afford to miss time with Him. He will imbibe you with strength, with courage, with purpose to not just barrel through the day but to bring meaning and glory back to Him though your mothering.

Whether you eat or drink... do it all for the glory of God.
Whether you scrub the pans in the sink or read another story or rock a colicky baby or nurse a cluster feeder for the 10th time today... do it all for the glory of God.

I'm preaching to myself, sister. But maybe you've heard something helpful, too.

All the love and mom hugs coming your way. You've got this.

Whitney

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