Letter to a New Mom (from Her Future Self)



Dear Kathleen:


Happy Mother’s Day, and congratulations on the birth of your son. You probably already know this, but pretty much nothing is going to be the same for you from here on out. You will know anxiety, pain, and fear like you’ve never known before. But you will also know love, happiness and contentment like you’ve never dreamed of.


Please be sure to enjoy these next few months and years. Surprisingly, they are among the easiest you will have. Not because your son will grow up to be a bad kid. In fact, I’m happy to report that all those fantasies you have about the man he will become don’t even scratch the surface. As of this writing (he’s 23 now), he has grown up to be kind, funny, resourceful, almost uncomfortably smart, ridiculously athletic, and genuinely loving. Also, not that it matters, he’s super handsome too.


No, these early years are the easiest for the simple reason that, although this may be the most physically demanding time for a parent, they are among the most emotionally and psychologically simple times to be a mom. There’s one way to do something: your way. There’s no cajoling or reverse psychology. There are no emotional landmines to tiptoe around. There are no fragile psyches to support. He physically can’t fend for himself right now – at all – so you never have to feel an ounce of guilt over providing for him. 


There will come a day, sooner than you think, that you have to walk a tightrope between letting him fend for himself and making sure he has just enough of a net to catch him when he falls.


And he will fall. Not badly, but he will. And watching him fall – worse, not preventing him from falling – is the absolute hardest thing you will do. But, as you will learn, it is also one of the most important.


He will fall and mess up and disappoint because he is human. And you will bandage and fix and forgive because you’re mom. You simply don’t know any other way to be.


I’m not sure how to get this letter to you (we’ve made some ridiculous advancements in the last 23 years, but time travel isn’t one of them), but I know you’re feeling anxious right now, so I’m counting on some wrinkle in the space/time continuum to, at the very least, send you some calming vibes. 


Being a new mom is filled with worry, and almost none of it ends up being justified. He’ll keep breathing every day – for almost 8,000 of them so far – and making you proud for just about every one of them.


So, take a breath, take a nap, and enjoy this special time. It just gets better from here.