I remember having days with Olivia that I thought I was busy. Like, really busy. Now I just laugh at my former self because I had no idea what busy was like until I had two little ones. The joy has multiplied times a million, truly. But I wish I had savored more of those days with just one because they were much easier compared to life now.
My husband and I joke that some days around here are really hard...busy and exhausting. But I'm sure when I have my third baby someday, I'll look back and realize I really wasn't as busy as I thought I was and that things weren't as hard as they sometimes feel. So I wanted to write a letter to my future self, to read when I'm a mom of three and going through the first months with a newborn as I've just done with Penelope and did two years ago with Olivia. To remind myself that even though it feels hard, new, and exhausting, I can do it just as I've done it before. Because there have been long days and late nights over the past two months that I wish I'd had a letter to read reminding myself of those very things.
Dear Future Self and Mom of 3,
You're probably sleep-deprived, exhausted and feeling a bit overwhelmed now that you have three tiny souls under your care instead of two. Three souls to cherish endlessly and to love with a love that is imperfectly perfect. You want to give them strong roots in your home, your family and your values...but swift wings to fly and the freedom to be who they were meant to be. A heavy task in itself.
You will probably worry every single second after they're born. Just like you did with your first two babies, you won't want to leave their side. Your baby will be so fresh and new, so helpless and tiny. The thought of going anywhere without them or doing anything apart from them will scare you, just as it did the first two times. Even sleeping more than a foot away from them will make you weak in the knees. Oh and you'll think you will know exactly what to do and when to do it, because after all, you've done this before, right? Not exactly. You will probably have just as many moments of "I have no clue what I'm doing" or "What should I do???" as you had the first two times. More experience, yes. More knowledge, yes. But being a Mom of three? A whole new world.
You'll probably tell your husband -- and yourself for that matter -- that you have no idea how you're going to get through the days and nights of balancing the little ones you love so very much, trying to take care of yourself, maintain your marriage and sustain your relationships & commitments, running on such little sleep and sometimes, little hope. Because it just seems so hard. You ask him when it will get easier and repeatedly say, "I don't ever remember it being this hard." You will miss what life was before and wish you had savored it more. I promise, you will. Well, savor it now. Savor the moment you are living in because once that moment is gone, you will never get it back. Instead of focusing on what you miss and how it was before, how things have changed and how easy it was and how hard it feels now, find joy in today. In these three tender spirits, these three tiny souls. In the chaos and the messes and the never-ending balancing act that requires grace upon grace as a Mom of three.
I want you to know that you will undoubtedly have days where you don't think you can do what you have to do. You may not even know how to do what you have to do. And you'll probably cry. A lot. Let's be real, you're just a cryer. Because you wear your heart on your sleeve and your emotions are so strong and real no matter what season of life you are in. You are born and bred a passionate soul. And you'll question yourself and you'll doubt yourself. You'll probably feel guilty for taking time to yourself but you know deep down -- just as you did with your first two -- that you need that time, those moments and minutes without the weight of your whole world on your shoulders. But you know what? You can do it. And you will do it. Just as you did the first two times. Days will pass and nights will end, you'll start getting sleep again and piece by piece, you'll gather your life back together and what once felt so new and unfamiliar will become normal. A new normal. And with enough rest and newfound hope, a better normal. A way, way better normal.
Last but not least, don't forget that I know who you are -- you're a Mom, and you want to take care of everyone and everything. It's in your blood and coursing through your veins. Saturating every cell of your being. And for awhile, you'll think you can do it all. In fact, you will try to do it all. And whether you admit it or not, you believe that no one else can do it as well as you can, because after all, you're their Mom. And no one else is. But then in a 3am haze as you struggle to open your eyes and you feel like you could sleep for a year straight, you remember that you don't have to do it all. And that you shouldn't try to do it all. That instead, you should do what you can do with what you have, to the best of your ability. You will figure it out along the way. And you'll love them with a love you've never known was possible. And that love will carry you through the darkness. No matter how many children you one day have, that love will only grow.
And then one day, you'll look back and wonder how you got to where you now find yourself. You'll wonder how and when time started passing quicker than ever before. You'll wonder when hard became easier. You'll wonder how you even did it. And you'll start to think about doing it all over again. Because your dream is being a Mama. And as hard as that job is...that calling...as self-sacrificing, character-building and forever tiring as it is...it's all you've ever known and all you'll ever want. Don't ever forget that. Because what you're doing is worth it. It's so, so worth it. Take it from me, life doesn't get any better than this.