Recently the marvelous moderators at the podcast Down to Birth (check it out sometime—I cannot recommend it highly enough) asked me what I might tell mothers of newborn or small children. (I suppose they thought I might have some wisdom!)
I really had to pause, as there is so much to tell mothers in that tender, terrific and often terrible place. They are blissed out at the very same time they are overwhelmed and exhausted.
All I could think to say, from the bottom of my 74-year-old heart, was something they probably have heard before . . . it all goes so fast, in the blink of an eye. And that they should consider just treasuring it. Yes, the days are often absurdly long. But the years are always wildly short.
And I added that, in each of those often seemingly never-ending days, there are always meaningful and even magical moments to capture. That you probably have random times in each day that make your heart sing. Grab those and hold them tight, for those are what feeds our mama souls.
And here is one other thought I also included in my answer . . . all over the globe there are thousands of other mamas doing the same thing as you . . .nursing a fussy baby in the light of the moon, rocking an overtired toddler, or packing lunches while trying to drink her now-cold coffee and wrangle everyone into the day. Reach out and find those women with whom to share the experience with—the good, the bad and the ugly. They will prove to be a lifeline.
Recently, I have been packing lunch for my oldest grandson, who is close to five, and in a wonderful Waldorf pre-K. His Mama is away, and his Papa and I have been tag-teaming. For years and years and years, I packed lunch for my three children while they each attended Waldorf Kindergarten through sixth grade. That was, I might add, three DIFFERENT lunches each day, as their tastes were, and still are, not the same. How many lunches on how many days? The numbers boggle my mind! Some days I was utterly and simply tired of this task, but, of course, wanting to send them with healthy, delicious food that they would consume. Mostly I think I succeeded, but I often disliked the undertaking immensely.
Fast forward and imagine me this morning in my kitchen, the very one that 35 years ago I was gulping coffee and assembling those lunchboxes. Here I was putting my grandson’s lunch box together with my mind strolling through the years and my heart so grateful that I would get to do it again.
So, to those mothers in the thick of the gargantuan, sometimes gleeful, and often just depleting and draining days, weeks and months . . try to remember there are others involved in the same sweet struggles and that you can and should support each other on this journey. And try to gain perspective on just how quickly it all gallops by, even though it can seem like slogging.