This is a love letter to all you young moms out there. This is for the moms who may have been led to this post by Googling phrases such as “tips for young moms” or “help for busy mothers” and the like. I’m not going to tell you how to organize your pantry or how to fix your marriage.
This is simply a letter full of compassion, empathy, encouragement, support and hopefully, inspiration. I can relate to your state in life. I was once a young mother, too. In fact, I had my first child at age 20 and my youngest at age 42. I remember what it was like to feel as though forming a coherent thought was a challenge. (What date is it? Wait. What year is it? Why did I come into this room? What’s our dog’s name again?) I’m glad you have somehow found a few minutes to read this love letter. I hope these tips for young moms help you persevere (and smile) through the busy, sometimes chaotic days of childhood.
All the cliches about blinking are true
One of the most important tips for young moms to remember is this: Your days are long but your years will be incredibly short. Okay, that’s not really a tip as much as it is a statement. However, it’s the unspoken insight within that I hope you’ll remember. When an older woman (like myself — and believe me, it still feels weird to acknowledge that because in my head, I am still your age) says, “Don’t blink or you’ll miss their childhood.” pay attention! It’s true.
We often get tips for young moms from our own mothers. Mine used to tell me to write things down. I wish I had listened. At the time, I was convinced I would remember every cherished moment with my babies, toddlers and teenagers. My mother warned that a time would quickly arrive when all the memories would merge together in my mind. I would not be able to remember which child did what or where we were when such and such happened. She was right and it happened a lot faster than I could ever have imagined.
Tips for young moms should include embracing the mess
Perhaps you stay home full time with your kids or struggle to balance work outside the home with your family life. Either way, your house is probably a mess sometimes. If you have toddlers or teens, ‘sometimes’ might feel more like EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. OF. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. Stop comparing yourself to your friends. Worse yet, stop comparing yourself to falsified images on social media. Trust me. That mom who posted the gorgeous picture of her children playing in a field of sunflowers? She probably left the house that day because she was sick of looking at dirty dishes and mountains of laundry.
Your kids won’t remember that you got all the laundry done or that your floors sparkled. They will remember the stories you read to them, the board games you played and the times you snuggled next to them in bed. Your teens will one day fondly recall how you welcomed their friends as though they were your own children. Yes, teens make REALLY. BIG. MESSES. It’s okay.
Enjoy the journey
This is not a love letter with tips for young moms to help you strive for perfection. On the contrary, I want you to know it’s okay to be imperfect. Your children still love you. God loves you. You need to love yourself. Children make messes and they make mistakes — some, far more than others. They’re learning and so are you. Don’t focus on the bad days. That’s all they are. Bad days are temporary. They are fleeting, and by no means do they define you.
One day, you will walk past a mirror and catch your own reflection. You’ll do a double take and wonder who it is. Perhaps, you will lean closer toward the glass to inspect the tiny wrinkles and strands of gray hair. The realization will hit home that your muscles aren’t as firm as they used to be. Then, you’ll notice it: The silence. All the giggles and screams (and sibling fights) and constant noise that once made you feel stressed and overwhelmed will now be but a distant memory. It will stun you because you won’t be able to figure out how time was able to pass so quickly.
Remember these tips for young moms
When I see one of you in public with a baby on your hip and toddlers in tow, my heart swells with joy for you. You are beautiful and I hope you know how beautiful you are. Your state in life is sacred. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I could give you all the tips for young moms about what to pack in a diaper bag or how to freeze meals ahead of time. There are myriad articles and books on how to parent teens. Reading such things and sharing experiences with your mom friends is helpful.
However, the next time you feel stressed or doubt yourself, think of this love letter. The days feel long but the years will feel as though they passed at supersonic speed. Your everyday, ordinary life is extraordinary, so embrace every unrepeatable moment you have with your kids — even the ones where you threaten to storm their rooms with lawn-sized trash bags. Yes, someday, you’ll miss those days, too.