So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Dear new mom,

I know, I know, there are so many open letters out there with so much (unasked for) advice, and that’s before all of the unrequested, undesired, and strident opinions pretending to be advice you’re given seemingly everywhere you go right now.

When you first have a baby, a lot of people will tell you that you HAVE to find your mom’s group, village, or tribe.

They’ll say:

“Go looking for it.”

“You’re going to need people to talk to.”

“Maybe the hospital has one?”

“How about a church group?”

“Maybe an exercise class?” (If this suggestion is made in conjunction with any comments about bouncing back, getting your body back, or weight gain, you have my permission, nay, encouragement to throat punch the commenter.)

The thing is, they are right (except for anyone who comments about your postpartum body, but that’s a discussion for another time)—it is so very necessary for so many reasons. This is one of those rare pieces of unsolicited advice that is important and can make all of the difference in the world. So, I’m adding my voice to the chorus and breaking the no giving unsolicited advice vow I made when I was where you are now.

It’s necessary when you’ve been up all night, think you will never sleep again, and feel like between the baby, you, and your partner someone is always crying. You need to hear from someone who is a few weeks further along who can reassure you there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and it won’t be an oncoming train. It’s necessary when you hit that afternoon or evening fuss-a-thon and need to talk or text with someone else who is just as frantic as you are and swap ideas. You’ll gain confidence when you are the mom who is further into the journey that is having a newborn, and you can offer advice as one who has been there.

RELATED: I Need a Village Because I Can’t Do This Alone

You will need that village as you celebrate your triumphs, like an uninterrupted shower, successful feeding, and when you quietly say with your fingers crossed and knock on all the wood, that your baby slept for a decent stretch the night before.

These will be the people who will sit and marvel with you at these small creatures who are so amazing and will understand how the center of your world has shifted so suddenly and drastically.

Hacks will get passed around and you will be grateful. If you’re like me, you will also wonder why they don’t put the fact that onesies are designed to be pulled down and off the baby when needed on the front of the package in bold, underlined with glitter. You’ll fondly think of the member of your village who shared that information every time you clean up a poo-pocalypse and don’t have to figure out how to get the poopy onesie over your baby’s head.

Germs will flourish, and you’ll look to your mom friends to share your anxiety over the runny nose. There will be someone to listen and understand when you have the millionth debate with yourself over whether it really is just teething, a basic cold, or if it is time to go to the doctor.

RELATED: What to Expect in Baby’s First Year? Sick Days.

It will continue to be necessary as you head toward the toddler and preschool years. These will be the people who understand you love your tiny human more than anything even though you’re cleaning the results of whipping off a diaper and running through it at nap time and fighting the urge to list them on your local yard-sale site.

When there is something you’ll fondly refer to years later as the great marker fiasco, they’ll offer advice from cleaning tips to which wine pairs best with any given disaster (the correct answer is whatever you have on hand). This will be done without judgment or questioning how the toddler found the markers in the first place. They totally get how these things happen, and you will probably have helped them through a minor flood situation caused by their child a few days earlier.

As little siblings enter the picture, you will need the meals, comfort, and advice, and you will enjoy helping your village in turn. They’ll marvel with you and share in your pride as you look at your firstborn with a tiny baby, and you’ll all wonder where the time has gone. You’ll support each other as you decide to add or not to add to your families. Sometimes nature, biology, or circumstances will make that decision for you. When the choice is taken out of your hands, these are the friends who will send you treats and love and will support you however they can when things don’t work the way you planned. The questions and challenges will change, but the very necessary and reassuring fact of your group will be there.

RELATED: My Village Looks Different Than I Expected

This village, however you come by it, will be incredibly important as life happens.

There are so many good and amazing things ahead for you, but not all days are good ones or easy ones. Hard times will come, marriage dynamics will change, losses will happen, dreams will have to change, and it will hurt. I don’t say this to you now to distress you but to prepare you. Your village will support each other through these times, and you will learn even more about who you are as a person and a parent. It is necessary to have a safe place to crowdsource information, vent, cry, and share whatever is on your mind and in your heart. You will have that.

Your baby(ies) will continue to grow, and your village might drift a little as time goes by. You might not get to see the moms, who you couldn’t imagine not seeing several times a week, for months or even years. That is hard, but when you do get to see them, know they’ll look at your gap-toothed, rumpled, rough-and-tumble 7-year-old and see the sweet, tiny baby you see in those cheeks that have almost completely lost their baby roundness. You will also still be able to see the tiny baby inside their big kid. You will all see the mothers you were as well as the mothers you are now. These people are now keepers of your child’s babyhood.

That’s not just necessary . . . it’s magical.

Love,
A mom who still needs her village

Katie McNally

Katie is a mother of gingers (kind of like dragons but scarier at points). She is currently at home reheating a mug of tea for the eleventh time and working on various writing projects as well as getting her life together in general. She is on the verge of turning 40 and mining it for any blogging material she can. You can read more on her blog, Knock, Knock, Knocking on Forty’s Door or follow Katie on Facebook or Twitter

I Know My Friends Aren’t Bothered by My Messy House, but I Am

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Sad woman by laundry pile

My house screams at me. It screams to clear off the kitchen counters, to put away the clean clothes, to organize the shoe collection in our entry, to gather up the scattered toys, to sweep the crumbs up, to place the throw pillows back on the couch, to clean off the table—you get the idea. Everything in my sight speaks volumes to the state it does not want to be in, for the chaos it is imposing.  Keeping home is a labor of love and never of balance for me. Everything that is cleaned, made, or organized will always get...

Keep Reading

Friends Can Be a Sanctuary

In: Friendship, Grief
Group of friends hugging

A sanctuary is defined as anywhere people go for peaceful tranquility or introspection. My friends became my sanctuary when my husband, Frank, died. They became my refuge and my safe place. Friendship is one of the most wonderful gifts in this world. It is beautiful, comforting, ever-changing, and, for me, a fixed point.  My friends seemed to know exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Their love and constant support got me through the worst of times and gave me the courage and confidence I needed to move forward.  I could never give an adequate thank you to...

Keep Reading

What If the Woman Who Seems to Have It All Actually Admires You?

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood

I’ve known her for a long time, and as long as I’ve known her, she’s always been beautiful. Beautiful on the inside and even more beautiful on the outside. Her makeup is perfectly done, her hair with not a strand out of place. And her clothes? Chic. She is well put together, always in vogue. While I have recycled the same clothes for the past five years, she is on point with the latest trends. She can even rock a pair of sweatpants. Her pictures on Facebook and Instagram posts confirm this as well. (She also has a successful career,...

Keep Reading

I Will Be a Friend Who Prays

In: Faith, Friendship, Living

You mentioned it casually. They had found a lump in your breast again. You’ve been here before, and maybe that means you better know how to navigate it. Except how can we possibly know how to handle such things? What emotions lie hidden behind your words? You tossed out words like lumpectomy and biopsy as if you were sharing a grocery list. I don’t know you well yet, but as you spoke the words, I had a deep desire to let you know I’m sorry. Seated around the table that night, you asked us to pray for you. I committed...

Keep Reading

My Daughter is a “Middle of the Pack” Friend But She Will Always Shine In Her Own Way

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
girl hugging little sister

My daughter and I were chatting about her day when she nonchalantly said, “I didn’t get invited to my friend’s birthday party.” She shrugged her shoulders, yet I could tell her feelings were hurt. And right then, my mama heart broke into a thousand pieces. My child is a “middle of the pack” friend. She’s the girl that doesn’t always get the invite to birthday parties or sleepovers. She’s the girl who sometimes gets lost in the mix, OK playing by herself on the playground if her friends are too busy with others. RELATED: We’re Not All Designed to “Fit...

Keep Reading

Someday I’ll Be a Better Friend But For Now, Thanks for Waiting

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood

I’m that friend. The one who takes forever to respond or sometimes doesn’t at all. She’s me. I’m the follow-up to the “Maybe she’s . . .” article. I’m telling you now—I’m overwhelmed. There IS a harder fight going on. I’m maxed out. I’m stressed. I’m saving my energy. My phone? I don’t even know where it is. I simply can’t add any extra thoughts or decisions to my overstimulated brain because every ounce of what little energy I do have HAS to go to my kids. RELATED: I’m a Bad Friend Right Now—Thanks For Loving Me Anyway So I...

Keep Reading

I Want To Be a Friend Like Jesus

In: Faith, Friendship, Living

I sit in my recliner this morning, covered up with my blanket, listening to the outside sounds of the slow morning going on outside my window. I’ve already prayed and read my Bible study, ready for my day to begin. I grab my phone and send out texts to my friends, “How are y’all feelin this mornin?” See, a nasty, nasty bug has swept through our community like a hurricane. I feel like every day, a different person has come down with it. Bless their hearts. (As I close my door and spray Lysol throughout the air!) After I send...

Keep Reading

At the End of the Day, All We Can Do is Our Best

In: Friendship, Marriage, Motherhood

I spend a lot of time wondering if I’m doing it right as a mother. When I turn off the TV and tell my 7-year-old he has had too much screen time already. When I tell my daughter that if she doesn’t eat her veggies, she can’t have any dessert. When I yell at my kids because no one was getting ready for bath time as I had asked. When I am more than happy to drop off my kids with the grandparents so I can have some me-time. I spend a lot of time wondering if I’m doing it...

Keep Reading

Cherish the Friends Who Show Up

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Friends in a circle

My daughter napped in three places during our first two weeks home: the stroller, the car, or, more often than not, on my chest. “It’s normal,” the public health nurse explained when she called, adding they often grow out of contact napping. She finished with advice I had received many times heading into maternity leave.   “Enjoy the snuggles.”  Assured everything sounded normal, I resolved to do just that. Settled on the couch with a warm blanket, an iced coffee, and the remote, I enjoyed snuggling my sweet baby. At first.   I was not surprised when the enjoyment faded. I...

Keep Reading

Good Friends Help Lighten the Load

In: Friendship, Motherhood
friend washing dishes

She grabbed the dishcloth and started washing my dishes. Without asking if she could do them, without waiting to be asked, without questioning why yesterday’s dishes were still in the sink . . . She grabbed the dishcloth and started washing my dishes. You see, just a few hours before this, she was on one end of the phone and I was on the other. She was folding up her laundry as she listened to me vent, cry, laugh, and talk about how lately my shoulders are feeling a little bit more weighed down than normal. As hard as it...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections