Dear baby girl,
It only took me nine months to get here, but I am becoming a confident momma.
I’m sure I’ll still have plenty of doubts for years to come, but I am finally to the point where I feel like I know a bit about what I’m doing, and even if I don’t, I’m realizing that’s okay, too.
I’ve learned that it’s okay if you occasionally miss a nap or stay up way past your bedtime. It’s not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world, either. Sometimes when you miss a nap it’s because we’re already out and about or traveling and you’re out of your routine. If you fight a nap, sometimes I take advantage of extra time together with a trip out shopping or to the park. I discovered that you’ll sleep eventually. And when you do, it’s really darn cute.
I’ve also learned that it’s okay to trust my instincts. Dare I say it’s okay to do what I want. I may not do everything that is recommended by the experts, but that’s okay, too. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking out for your safety and health first and foremost.
I’ve learned to embrace each moment as your momma, even when it’s tough. You’re still waking up at night to nurse, which is only once before you are up for the day. Even though I like my sleep, I know that someday I will look back on this time and miss our middle of the night snuggle sessions when all is quiet and it feels like we’re the only two people in the world. I know that each age and stage of your life will come with its share of challenges, but they will also come with incredible gifts and memories to last a lifetime.
I’ve learned it’s okay to nurse you to sleep. I don’t do it all the time, but most nights I still do. Is it not a great habit? Sure. Will it be hard to break you of it? Probably. But do I love the time we have together, and do I know that you enjoy it, too? Absolutely. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
On the flip side, I have learned that it’s okay to let you cry it out. I don’t nurse you before naps, and you gave up the pacifier at 4 months old, so naps are a time where we have to let you cry. Sometimes it’s only for a minute or two, other times it takes a while. Sometimes you don’t cry and talk to yourself before dozing off. (Which is seriously cute.) Does it still hurt me to hear you cry? With every fiber of my being. But do I know that you are okay, healthy, safe and secure? Yes. I know that you are tired and just don’t want to sleep. You don’t want to miss out on the fun of discovering the world around you, practicing your skills and meeting new milestones.
I have learned that motherhood is both the hardest job and the greatest gift. Being a momma is the hardest job I have ever had. It demands 24/7 attention and requires me to make stressful decisions. I have my moments where it plagues me with guilt that I might be doing something wrong or that I am not doing the best job that I could. It’s easy to get caught up in what we feel like we need or ought to be. I wonder if I am doing enough, being present enough, loving enough.
But then I realize I am more than enough in your eyes. I have learned that there is no “perfect mom” camp to be in. Sometimes it feels that way, but I have to remind myself there is reason there’s the saying that “Momma knows best.” Being able to love and provide for you is the most wonderful, rewarding experience, and it fills my heart with so much joy.
The biggest thing I have learned, that I will always hold close to my heart, is that being a mother requires sacrifice and selflessness. It is in this giving of myself for you that I have received the greatest gift of all: your love for me.