I have a few friends who are currently expecting their first babies. I know my friends will be terrific mothers, but there is a gentle reminder new mothers should hear:
Some days you won’t be that good.
Some days you won’t be that good of a friend. You will be knee deep in learning your brand new babe who is demanding, awe-inspiring, exhausting, and mysterious. You won’t have the time or the energy to chat on the phone catching up. Grabbing lunch with a former co-worker will feel like an Olympic event. You will forget loved one’s birthdays, you will think celebrating friends’ milestones are logistically impossible, and you will have to cancel plans at the last minute for a myriad of reasons. Some days you won’t be that good of a friend — but a good friend will understand.
Some days you won’t be that good of a housekeeper. Even the most diligent of cleaners will find their standards lower at times. You will step over the clutter and ignore the dust bunnies. It will make more sense to just pull clothes out of the “to fold” pile rather than actually fold and put laundry away. Your vacuum will take a sabbatical. At some point, though, you will get a burst of energy, and you will put your home back in the order that makes you feel comfortable. In the meantime, cut yourself some slack and ignore it as best you can.
Some days you won’t be that good of a co-worker. If you return to work after your too-short maternity leave, you will have days that your body shows up to the office but your mind and your spirit have called out. You will cut deadlines too close and you might mix up meetings. Just look at it like you have permanent first dibs at the coffee machine.
Some days you won’t be that good of a spouse. You will be more drained than you ever thought possible. You will not want to utter one more coherent word or thought out loud. You feel incredibly lonely and overly loved at the same time. Giving your undivided attention will be very difficult. Your temper will be short and your expectations will be high. Your idea of “Netflix and chill” will mean exactly that — preferably alone. But in this you will also have another person who thinks your baby is the most amazing human ever created. You will observe your spouse interact with your new little one and fall even more in love. You have a teammate in this New Parent Chapter in life. That is irreplaceable.
There will even be some days when you won’t be that good of a mother. You will lose your patience at the smallest indiscretion. You will spend too much time distracted by other things. The thought of changing one more diaper or getting up one more time in the middle of the night will bring you to your knees. You will burst into tears for no apparent reason, and you will probably sob alongside your irritable baby because you are at your last wits. You will have days when you feel in a funk and just make it through keeping everyone alive. Repeat after me:
I will keep everyone alive. I will eventually get some decent sleep. Every day will get a little bit easier.
There will be all of these days. There will be days when you are just not that good. But I also want to remind you of one more thing. Your baby will never hold any of this against you and will still think you are pretty great. You are a great friend, you are a great spouse, you are a great person, and you are a great Mother. And being a mother is (almost always) pretty great.