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Dear Young Mom, Your Day is Coming

Dear Young Mom,

children in grass with mother

Photo by Jordan Rowland on Unsplash

I remember how hard it was to have 3 kids under the age of 4. The days were long and the nights were longer. When the 4th child came 4 years later, I gave up on trying to get a full night of sleep again. I carried a diaper bag for 11 years and I forgot I had a name besides “Mommy”. A few years later after a divorce and remarriage, I added a fifth child to our family. Adding the stress of blending two families into one seemed overwhelming. Now, all of that is a distant memory.

Young Mom, your day is coming.

I know you’re anxiously awaiting the removal of the current shelter-in-place orders. You can’t wait to get out again, to shop again, to socialize. You desperately need some “me time” for your sanity, and you would do anything to drop the kids off at Grandma’s for a night. You miss your friends. You miss the mall. You even miss the parent pick-up lines and the PTA meetings because at least that got you out of the house.

Patience Young Mom – that time will come.

Meanwhile, I’m savoring every last second of this quarantine. Right now I have 5 kids at home between the ages of 11 and 19, but come August, I will be down to 2. Our oldest daughter will return to college out of state; the next two will be brand new college freshmen. They’re missing out on their high school graduation this year and prom and all of the other big celebrations most seniors get to enjoy. I’m sad for them and yet selfishly I just want to keep them locked away for one more day. I know that in a few short months, my house will feel empty. I know I will miss the noise and the laughter around the dinner table and the drums and guitars and singing that fill our house every day.

Young Mom, your day is coming.

While young moms (all moms really) are burning the candles at both ends right now, juggling working from home with raising babies, I’m going for drives and enjoying Starbucks drive-thru dates with my teens and playing ridiculously long games of Apples to Apples. We’re making up songs and watching old movies and dancing like lunatics in the kitchen. While we should be out shopping for prom dresses and buying graduation party decorations, we’re laughing at quarantine memes and scoping out which stores have toilet paper. None of this was in the plans, yet I can’t help but hold onto it tightly, knowing that very soon I will be willing to give anything to have this back. 

young mom holding baby

Photo by Andrae Ricketts on Unsplash

You are wishing for these days to pass, but I’m trying to hold on to every day I can.

Young Mom, if I had a dollar for every time an older mom told me to “cherish these moments” when I was your age, I’d be writing this article from my private island right now. I don’t need to tell you that. You know that our babies grow up fast and that in a blink of an eye, they will be adults.

What I want to tell you is that it’s ok to struggle. It’s ok to be tired. It’s ok to long for a night out. No matter how much you love your babies, it’s normal and healthy to want some space. Especially right now during this pandemic! Your day is coming.

I also want you to know that I see your sacrifices.

You may feel like nobody notices, but I do. I know you’ve given up the job you love to stay home with the kids. I saw you forgo your monthly hair salon visits and bi-weekly pedicures to pay for dance lessons. I watched you trade in your Mercedes for a mini-van. When I was your age, I felt like I barely had anything; what few things I had, I gave them up for my kids. It was hard to make ends meet. I knew I had to work to pay our bills but then felt like a horrible mom for leaving my kids with a babysitter.

No matter what I did, I didn’t feel like it was enough. I made mistakes. I got things wrong. And yeah, I doubted every decision. That’s motherhood. That’s part of the sacrifice.

Young Mom, your day is coming.

Today, I washed my hair with expensive shampoo. My husband has been encouraging me to start investing in myself, so I have been. I’m writing a book I’ve always wanted to write. I’m volunteering part-time for two local non-profits that mean the world to me. I buy the expensive bread and eat the organic fruit and cook the ridiculously tedious meals that take forever to make because my health is worth it. I paid for the monthly access to online holy yoga and take the time to meditate every day. I’m planning the trip to Boston to research my family’s past. I do the things I never thought I’d be able to do.

My day is here and Young Mom, yours is coming, too.

Whatever it is that you’ve given up, I want you to remember that your day is coming. You will sleep again. You will shop again. You will have time to pursue your goals and dreams. In the meantime, self-care is crucial. Take a 5-minute walk. Paint your nails. Take a nap when the baby is napping. Do things that will improve your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health whenever you can. But don’t distress if you can’t do it all. You will get there, at whatever pace is right for you and your family.

I see you. I see your life. I see your family. And Young Mom, I know that your day is coming.

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