Letter to a new mom: The secrets of motherhood

ChicagoNow bloggers are joining forces today in support of new moms as they celebrate their first Mother’s Day.

Dear new mom,

Happy Mother’s Day! Of course, within the Maternal Sisterhood we like to think of every day as Mother’s Day.

Over the next weeks and months I will be sending periodic letters indoctrinating you with the deepest secrets of motherhood. Many of the early ones will focus on visual signalling to communicate with other moms. Please study those messages carefully, but do not share them with anyone who is not a member of the Maternal Sisterhood.

There will be many times when you will want to communicate with other moms without speaking. Maybe you don’t want to wake your infant. Maybe you don’t want to alarm your spouse or show weakness to judgmental family members. Still, you may need help from another mom or you want to alert another mom of something. This is why we have created the universal visual code of moms.

While yoga pants are a fairly straight-forward greeting that is difficult to screw up, it is important that you carefully study the subtleties of the rest of the code. You will cause a lot of confusion if you have the baby spit up stain on your right shoulder when it should have been on your left.

I recall an embarrassing incident of my own when I was a new mom and I misinterpreted “unwashed hair in a ponytail” as “unwashed hair in a ponytail under a baseball cap.” The woman was mortified as was I.

This is the first secret of motherhood. The near universal slovenliness of new mothers is not due to laziness or exhaustion. It is actually an elaborate code used to communicate with the rest of the mom network. Learn it, and use it. It can serve you well.

Some new moms are disbelieving about the code at first as you may be, but think about it. Do you really think that humans would have survived so long if human mothers truly lost all sense of hygiene and poise upon the arrival of their babies?

What sort of evolutionary idiocy would entrust the new offspring of a species to caregivers who are so frazzled and overwhelmed that they can’t even keep up with their own basic grooming and who start crying based on nothing at all? Nature, a mother herself, is not such a fool as that. No, I assure you the disheveled new mom look is a facade. Our kids’ depend on it being so.

I hate sunshine

Do you think this is a joke? Some nonsense preventing you from being able to “sleep when your baby sleeps?”  Perhaps you think this letter is merely the ravings of a lunatic who hasn’t had a full night’s sleep in at least 3 years and who has been driven slowly insane by the seemingly never ending torture of stepping on small, pointy plastic toys multiple times a day over that same time period.

That’s okay.

If you don’t like what I say ignore it. Seriously.

As a mother you will be bombarded with more advice and philosophies than you have ever faced in your life. Some of it you will seek out in books, magazines, and blog posts. Some of it will be thrust upon you by family, friends, and strangers. Some of the advice will be helpful to you. Some of it will make you sad, frustrated, or even angry.

If someone’s opinion makes you feel badly about yourself as a mother ignore it. That may be the most important advice I can give you.

If, however, you are still craving advice you can read 40 parenting tips I wish I knew earlier. If you need some encouragement you may also like 40 reasons being a parent is f***ing awesome.

You should, however, under no circumstances read A toddler’s guide to co-sleeping. You are not yet ready for those truths.

Good luck, new mom. I’ll be in touch. If you need anything before then just wear a gray t-shirt inside out. I’ll find you.

Sincerely,

Maternal Sisterhood Orientation Director, who may or may not be wearing pants right now

You can read all the letters to new moms by ChicagoNow bloggers here.

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You can also find Kim Z. Dale on Twitter and Google+ and like Listing Beyond Forty on Facebook.

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