Looking into my daughter Matilda’s eyes for the first time was the most poignant experience of my life. I felt like I could do anything after giving birth, but that superwoman feeling only lasted so long. As soon as the exhaustion, postpartum hormones, and total lack of sleep set in, I was left asking, “How did Mom do it?” When you become a mother yourself, everything about your relationship with your own mother changes, and certain things become much more clear.
Your hat comes off
As you fumble your way down the freshly paved road of motherhood, you become keenly aware of all that your mom has done for you. Late night crying fits and diaper changes with my daughter have made me eternally grateful for the woman who persevered through my midnight bellows when I was a wee babe. She dealt with my tantrums as a Terrible Two and my “devil may care” attitude as a dreaded teen, all while taking care of my equally challenging (but lovable) siblings and being a doting wife!
Little things mean the most
When my mind wanders to the future and I think about birthdays, special occasions and graduations, I am full of nostalgia. I remember the masterful birthday cakes, the encouraging words, and the warm embraces that only a mother can give. I worry that I won’t live up to my own memories, but I’m thankful for those moments and look forward to making them for my own children. I know that as I plan Matilda’s first birthday party, I will relive my childhood and try to pour all that joy into perfectly wrapped presents, fabulous decorations, and a room full of people that love her.
Dinner at six, freshly laundered piles of clothes, carpools, date nights, grocery shopping, bath and story time … the to-do list grows exponentially as your brood expands! However, somehow my mom managed to get it all done. Things weren’t always perfect, but Mama put us first. And now I do the same with Matilda. No matter what, I want to make sure my babe knows how special and loved she is. The newest episode of The Hills may have to wait, and there may be a little less time for painting my nails, but I know the memories I create now for my little one will be the ones she draws on when I pass the torch to her.
I can’t believe I treated her like I did!
Looking at my new baby, I shudder to think of my sweet cherub being unkind or not wanting to be around me. I think back to the way I yelled at my mom when I wanted to stay out as late as some of my less-restricted friends. I think about how much she must have worried and wanted to protect me. After giving birth to my daughter, I apologized to my mom for being such a bratty teenager, and she laughed and told me I wasn’t bratty. Now that’s true love.
A new BFF
Growing up, my mom always said, “I’m not your friend, I’m your mother.” I understand that now—but as I’ve grown older and become a mother myself, that statement is no longer true. Only a friend could listen to you cry about not getting any sleep and be there in a New York minute—armed with coffee—when you need her. My mom is my partner in crime, my style consultant, and my gardening expert. She is, by all definitions, the best friend a girl could get.