You know I love me some Oprah. I have it in a corner of my vision board that I shall be speaking to her at some point in time. So it is no wonder that the words “what I know for sure” are so ingrained in me that when I say the words in my head, it is her voice I hear them in.
As I round up to my birthday on Friday, I wanted to share what I have learned in these 40 beautiful years of life. It is a small gift to you that pales in comparison to the gift you’ve given me (it’s one of the things I know for sure). And so, without further ado, here we go.
- If you think it’s hard, you’re right. If you think it’s easy, you’re right: Mamihood is what you make it. Own it, be filled in it, listen to your heart because whether you believe it at this moment or not, you know what’s best for your baby. Breastfed? Great! Bottle fed? Great! Cloth diapers? Outstanding. Pampers? Fantastic (though I might judge you if you use Huggies, true story). The happiest Mamis I’ve seen are the ones who own their Mamihood. The good and the bad.
- Labor is not for the fainthearted: I know that most of us don’t think about this when we are ovulating but, one should strongly consider labor prior to having the seed and egg meet. Why? Because once they do, there’s no turning back and suddenly you find yourself unable to pee and waiting on your culposcopy scar to literally tear so you can dilate and before you know it, you’re 40 hours in and already making a list of situations in which you will remind your little miracle about said 40 hours.
- Breastfeeding hurts! Don’t let them fool you, people! It hurts. And no, you’re not doing anything wrong. It’s just that having an 8 pound, toothless being attached to one of the most sensitive parts of your body takes a little getting used to. On the upside, if you ever need to go to war, your nips shall be ready to roll!
- Sleepless nights are bullshit: I would love to write about sleepless nights but the hormones and the brain’s natural ability to make you forget about this shit in order to trick you into continuing the human species and procreating again means that all I really feel when I think about sleepless nights is love for the sleeping girl in my arms (apparently, the brain is also really good at inserting whatever the hell it wants into your skull. If it’s this good, I wish it would rebuild my site while I was sleeping)
- Mami knows best: I love my pediatrician because she says this. Cut out the drama, the people commenting on what you’re doing (that are nowhere near in the same place as you), the magazine article you just read. Sit still and know that you are doing what is best. Never doubt that if you’re coming from a place of truly doing what’s best for your kid, 8 times out of 10, you’re doing what’s best (sorry, I had to add some margin of error there. It’s not you, it’s me).
- Doing it alone is hard: being a single Mami is difficult, to say the least. Navigating co-parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done (labor included). Some days I wish it were different but I know that this is what’s best for the frog princess for a lot of reasons that I will discuss with her when she’s old enough to understand.
- Taking care of yourself is key: I type this and it’s still something I struggle with. My coach is insistent that I date myself once a week for 90 minutes. When I do, my mind is clear, I can work on the things that I know need to be worked on and I can continue to build on my successes. I wish I’d done this from day one. But that leads me to #8…
- No regrets! Mamihood is perpetual motion wrapped around time and sealed with a bow of years. It moves fast and regretting things only muddles the awesome. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, figure out what needs to be done differently and then keep it moving.
- They will do what you do, not what you say: When the thunderstorms roll in, we see the lightning first and then, depending on the distance, we hear the thunder. In that same way, our kids will do what we do first and foremost. It will come natural to them, even though they will hear the words later. If we settle for less than what we deserve, so will they. If we don’t demand what we are worth, so will they. This one thing has caused me to make life-changing decisions and be bolder than I ever thought I’d be.
- Be grateful: for the good days, the bad days, the funny days, the sad days. Love them all. We get this day ONCE. It will never return and we don’t know if tomorrow will be here. I’ve learned to be filled with gratitude even on the hard days (which Ann Voskamp calls eucaristeo). Live in gratitude. For your children, for their health, for their tantums, their smiles, their tears, for yourself, your hardships, your joy. Live in gratitude for your Mamihood. Right when I turned 30, I knew I wouldn’t have kids even though I wanted them. I’d had my first battle with endometriosis at 26 and the chances dwindled with each passing year. I know so many women that didn’t get this chance to carry a life inside of them and nurture them from the inside out. Live in gratitude and abundance will find its way to you.
What did I miss? What do you know for sure about Mamihood?