My daughter got her first book fair order form recently and I immediately geeked out remembering how much I loved pouring over that flimsy piece of paper, picking out the latest Babysitter’s Club books. This may age me, but in addition to books, I used to beg my mom to let me order posters like this classic to the right. And even though it may look like something from an elementary schooler’s Trapper Keeper (again, old), I’ve decided to revive this classic by making it a mama mantra.
Parenting truth: despite how you feel in that moment, the bad days will get better. Momming is hard and sometimes it’s hard for days or weeks or even longer before it gets better. Better. Not easy. Your veteran mom friends will say “oh kids get so easy when they are X months” and it’s so disheartening because that month comes and goes and still, nothing is easy. And on those days/weeks/months when you or your little one are working through something, it’s downright ugly. It’s cry while you’re driving to Gymboree ugly. Binge eat a party size bag of m&m’s alone in the pantry ugly. Wine at 4pm ugly. But, chin up, kitten. You’re a mom, the only breed of humans more resilient than children, so you will make it through… just hang in there, mama.
When you scroll through Facebook and feel a lump in your throat when you see your old coworkers doing amazing work that sometimes you wish you were doing instead of raising a baby… hang in there, mama. Next week on an easy day you will count your lucky stars (again) that you took time off to watch your little one grow up.
When it takes three hours to plan, pack, and drive to a one hour activity for your kid and she spends 53 of the 60 minutes whining and the other seven refusing all of the food you packed… hang in there, mama. In the blink of an eye, she will be making that peanut butter and jelly sandwich by herself and her new found independence will break your heart.
When you walk by a mirror and you turn away fast because you know how long it’s been since you fixed your hair or got your eyebrows done, and maybe if you don’t look you can still pretend that your reflection resembles your pre-child self… hang in there, mama. This stage of life isn’t glamorous, but soon you will have uninterrupted hair and makeup time, and it will feel oddly lonely and quiet and suddenly like a strange use of precious time.
When you’re up three nights in a row because your toddler’s bicuspids are trying to cut and misery really does love company, especially Mom’s at 2am. When the resentment gets thick and you feel like you might run away if you don’t get at least six straight hours of sleep… hang in there, mama. Your child (or maybe their teeth?) seem to know exactly where your breaking point is and she will sleep before you reach it, even if it’s just for one night. The mom-rejuvenating power of a single night’s sleep is truly a miracle, and will refill your compassion and patience deficit.
When you find yourself chatting with the Amazon delivery driver or a stranger at the playground because you literally feel like you are breaking in two from the loneliness that comes with spending your day without other adults… hang in there, mama. You know who else feels this way? Every other mom. Soon a girls night will be thrown together and even with too many drinks and too much kid talk, you will feel brand new the next day.
When your partner texts to say she won’t be home before the baby goes to bed and your heart drops as you look around at the tornado of toys, crying child trying to climb your legs, and mountains of unfolded laundry. When you feel like crying because you were already unsure of how you were going to keep it together until 5:30… hang in there, mama. Tomorrow she will surprise you by coming home early and swooping everyone up for dinner and mambo taxis.
Hang in there, mama.