Dear “New Mama” me,
This is your future self (a couple of decades into the future, to be exact). Don’t think too hard on this one; just take these words for what they are.
I want to let you know that you did it! It was all worth it. Not that in the depths of your soul you ever doubted that, but there were moments when the pain of exhaustion, sacrifice and the juggling act of pursuing dreams while daily pouring your heart into your family threatened to overwhelm. It is overwhelming – I’m not denying that! I’m writing to you amazing young woman, because from where I sit, perspective shines light on the fact that what love does, matters.
Now, I’m not here to tell you the future – you’ll have to unwrap that gift with each new day. I want to address where you’re at now. And first things first, the sleepless nights aren’t pointless. They aren’t some rare form of torture (although it sometimes feels like it!). They are hidden moments of connection; of holding and nurturing and sustaining a most vulnerable gift. What love does for the vulnerable is a much-needed gift in the atmosphere of today’s world. Nights of self-giving pave the way for years of self-giving that influence a future leader. And don’t forget your husband, whose giving heart shares those sleepless nights. You’ll look back on this time and see how these nights strengthened you as a team. You’ll see how the seeds of compassion, nourished by his parents’ endurance, flourish in your son. Some of the strongest leaders are those who embrace compassion.
I want to tell you that you aren’t alone in the daily hustle. In fact, you are quite privileged. The opportunity to work from home as you are now is a gift. Many women the world over don’t even have this choice. Many women must make much more difficult decisions. You know this, but it doesn’t always feel like it. In moments when feelings threaten to overtake reality, remember that moments build days, and days build a life. Each moment is your life, so embrace every one. Be present with the hard feelings – don’t bury them, but don’t build your identity on them either.
You are brave for trusting your “gut” and pursuing your dreams. Carving out time for what makes you come alive isn’t wasteful. Sometimes you feel selfish for chasing dreams, but you model what a whole woman looks like to your son. You show him that to love yourself is as important as loving others, and in doing so, you encourage him to pay attention to the dreams in his own heart. By discovering who you truly are, you help him do the same. Real selfishness is to live a life that is any less than you were made for.
You are wise for investing in your marriage. Even though it’s hard, even though you must continue digging deeper and getting to know this person you “do life” with, your love is the reason why this whole adventure started in the first place. You grow together, even in the impossible moments. You’ll both realize, even more as the years go on, that the depth of forgiveness is any successful relationship’s hidden weapon.
It’s OK to mess up and it’s OK to rest. In fact, it’s more than OK. Both are a necessity. Don’t roll your eyes, but you are a human “being” – not a human “doing.” Allow room for laughter. Allow room to do nothing at all. Meander. Realize that mistakes are the path to success. Make space to rest in your faith, because it will sustain you in the days ahead.
When you look in the mirror after a sleepless night, with a full day facing you- see beyond the dark circles and foggy mind. See beyond the task of the day. Know that you are compassionate. You are a leader. You get what needs to get done, done. You are brave. You are wise. You are you, and that is what makes you the best mom for your young child.
Your Future Self