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Challenge: Perfectly Imperfect Parenting

A letter on your very first Mother’s Day

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Dear new mom/mommy/mama/parent –

Congratulations! You’re expecting a baby, or recently welcomed one. I bet you’re wondering if you’re really qualified for this new role. Maybe it’s a lot harder than you thought. Maybe everyone scared you with horror stories, but right now you’re actually enjoying yourself (while waiting for the other shoe to drop). We want to tell you something that you’re not going to hear too many places.

A little background: we work with new and expecting parents all day, every day. Oh, and we’re raising our own babies, too. We’re in deep when it comes to the world of early parenthood and we love it. Well, except for one thing.

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In the name of authenticity and honesty, too many people have confused scaring new parents with supporting them. What we mean is, instead of acknowledging the (very real) gaps in our mental and physical healthcare systems, or addressing the iniquities within parental care and education, too many people think that sharing the “dark side” of parenting alone is helpful.

We’ve sat through the baby showers where well-meaning people give the “just you wait” speech. We’ve done those 3am deep dives on social media, looking for answers and finding the experts who were going to sell us their perfect solution. We’ve made the mistake of thinking that if we could just do everything “right,” we’d worry less and have more fun.

And you know what? None of that – not the scary stories, not the self-induced pressure, not the belief that there’s one correct way to do things – helped when we were dealing with our own bumpy postpartum experiences. What did help? Acknowledgement that yes, parenting is hard (and parenting in the US in 2021 is really, really hard), but then reassurance that we could not only survive, but that we could enjoy, those early days with our kids.

Enjoy it? Yup, we said it. We needed to hear not just the dark, but also the light. To hear from parents who had real challenges, but who were also extending a hand to help us avoid some of those same pitfalls. To see parents embrace their perfectly imperfect, unique approach to parenting - and then actually have fun doing it.

In that spirit, we’re going to share with you five things that we love about having young kids. While some may resonate with you more than others, we hope our list inspires you to think about the parts of parenting that you enjoy. These are the things that get us through the hard days, and motivates us to hang in there when things do get tough:

  • Getting to watch our children try new things – there’s a reason you have (or will soon have) thousands of pictures of your baby giggling, meeting the dog, trying sweet potatoes and walking on grass for the first time. Those moments are so, so sweet. When you’re a parent, suddenly the raindrops you would normally ignore and the firetruck you’d barely notice become the most amazing things to the person you love the most. It’s one of our favorite things.


  • Snuggles – sleepy snuggles when they’re still waking up from a nap. Middle of the night snuggles when you’re the sleepy one (and they’re wide awake). That newborn grip on your index finger. These days, we’re constantly wrestling with our wiggly toddlers to get snuggles, and when we do convince them to cuddle up with us, we feel like they’re our sweet, tiny babies again.


  • Getting to be silly together – how many nicknames do you have for your child? How many of them are ridiculous? That’s just the beginning. From made up words to inside jokes to goofy dance moves, being silly is the language we share with our kids and it brings us the best moments of each day.


  • The chance to do things differently – so many of us are parenting differently than the way we were raised. As parents in 2021, we have the benefit of research, psychology, and childhood development resources to support our desires to give our kids something we didn’t have. Whether you want to teach your child resilience, critical thinking, or communication skills you weren’t given, you can find support to do so. We sometimes feel like we’re making it up as we go along, but as our kids get older we’re getting to see them blossom into confident and empathetic little people.


  • Nap time! Few things are as satisfying as watching them finally close their eyes and knowing we can grab the contraband chocolate and turn on something that’s not Frozen (we love you, Elsa – thanks for all the times you’ve distracted our kids and kept us sane on car rides). You work really hard as a parent. Enjoy the quiet (even if it’s never long enough) and take a moment to congratulate yourself. You’re doing an amazing job just by being the loving, caring parent you are.

This Mother’s Day (no matter your official title – we’ve declared this an inclusive holiday!), take a moment to celebrate the little moments that keep you going.

Love,

Two moms who have been there

At Like A Sister, we believe everyone needs a “sister” by their side as they navigate the early years of parenting. We use our backgrounds (postpartum doula care, new parent education, certified lactation counseling ) to support you as you learn how to make the right choices for your family. Find more at: https://likeasistersupport.com...

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