Dear Lost-Decade Me,
That’s what they call it, you know. That span of time when you placed yourself on hold because you had children whose diapers and organic food and boo-boo’s weren’t going to fix themselves.
Those years when your name was MOMMOMMMMOMMM and sticky little fingers would slide under the bathroom door as you rested or cried or snarfed down some chocolate. And then you brought yet another human into the world all over again and somehow kept TWO of them alive.
You stayed in the trenches with them despite the tactile overload and postpartum depression and knowledge that your husband rather missed the old, carefree you. You successfully taught them how to not eat buttons or rocks, but more importantly, also how to love.
I am proud of you.
That whole-hearted commitment you put out there was really good stuff. I mean, like WOW. Since nobody ever really told you that, I am here to say it: Good job. You will not regret it.
There are few more things I would like you to know, too. Not about you-the-mom, but about you-the-you.
The real person who, a decade later, I promise–you will find waiting for you again. And then you will be saying these things, too, because you will honestly just wish you had known better.
So here you go:
- Wash your hair.
I am just going to say it, Sis. That whole ‘natural’ thing that you are into because it is healthier doesn’t mean you’re supposed to go …uh…that far.
Privacy or no privacy, take the shower. Every day. Put on the mascara and buy the tinted Burt’s and squeeze that lil’ bootie into some real pants and leave the house.
Go to the gym and turn off the Veggie Tales playlist and take care of YOU. Nobody else can do it for you.
Also, don’t wear your slippers to the grocery store. You’ll regret that eventually.
2. Push the stupid vacuum.
And scrub the stupid tubs, and make the stupid beds. Quit taking it personally that someone has to do that stuff and you happen to be the only grown-up there that day to do it.
It’s not about whatever feminist-inspired thing you are tempted to make it into. It’s not a thing. Don’t make it into a thing.
Make your home pretty because you live there, even though you know your children will make it messy again. And then teach them how to clean, too.
3. Get over yourself.
OH MY GOSH, GIRL. You walked into parenthood still nursing the wounds of your own childhood. It’s true.
And I hate to tell you this, but there are still more losses and tears to come. So you might do well to handle your stuff today.
If you love yourself (and you do), then get over yourself and call somebody who can help you. You will be such a better parent once you let God heal up that heart of yours. Don’t wait.
4. Let people go.
You’ll be tempted to try to hold onto friendships that hurt during these years, simply because you are lonely. But the truth of the matter is, you deserve better.
Those friends who look down their nose at you after you accidentally overshare about your messy house (or worse, your hurting heart)– get them out of your life and don’t ever look back.
Your tribe is out there and until you make room for them, you’ll be stuck with people who make you believe you are lesser. And it’s just not true.
5. Look up.
Yes, of course. Go ahead and be present and available and all the things you have ever dreamed of being as a mom. But those dreams on your heart? They matter.
After all, how can your babies learn to shoot for stars, unless you do it at least a little bit, too?
Try some stuff. Fail at it. Let your children see you aim at something new and fall, and re-calibrate and try again. This is the stuff dreams are made of.
They don’t want your worship, mama; go ahead and look up. You won’t get lost unless you are trying to. And we all know you aren’t trying to.
By the way, Lost-Decade me. Did you know you are a super cute dancer? An insanely hard worker? A heartfelt and insightful teacher? Did you know that your understanding of salvation, your relationship with Jesus, and your life in His Kingdom is going to absolutely EXPLODE in these hard years?
You won’t even believe what you find in yourself in these “lost” years. I mean, if I do say so myself, you’re kinda awesomely lovable in your own distinctly difficult way.
Hang in there. Keep being you. You are who this world and your children (and even your husband, who still somehow remembers how you looked before children) need. Stop worrying.
And someday soon-ish, when you are just a little older and you see all this you-ness that was born while you were busy forgetting yourself for those long-short years, you will find that your lost decade and everything born from it will be crazy beautiful to you. You’ll see.
Jennifer DeBrito, CSP, CCLD, CCBE is a Master Splankna Practitioner and Colorado Springs Doula and Childbirth Educator. She is the owner of Eden’s Promise, LLC and the founder of the Adopt-A-Mom Project. She authored Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional, and is the creator of the Expectant Parents Workshop childbirth preparation class. Jennifer also specializes in prenatal and postpartum wellness coaching. To learn more about Jennifer, go to EdensPromiseLLC.com.