At your baby shower someone gave you a beautiful, hand-illustrated baby book in which you have diligently recorded each of your child’s major (and lesser) milestones. There are photographs secured with pretty washi tape, little baggies of clipped baby curls and run marks where your bittersweet tears have hit the page and smudged the ink of your notes to remember everything.
And that’s beautiful, but I wonder: Have you been recording your milestones, mom? They’re certainly less glamorous; maybe even taboo or inappropriate. But they are milestones nonetheless and I think under celebrated too. So here’s to you and the top 10 milestones of being a mom.
- Congratulations on your very first postpartum poop! Not the baby, silly. You! They warned you about this and you’ve been suffering low-grade fear for hours, even days now, as you pop those giant stool softener capsules. I’d like to tell you all the rest are easier, but still, the deed is done.
- Yay! You’ve survived the puke you weren’t prepared for! You assumed you’d never be caught in public unprepared; but you already used that one burp cloth and there’s poop on the blanket. So what can you do but wipe that surprise vomit off of your lacey dress with disintegrating paper napkins from the gas station? At least baby can go naked. When you get home just get into the shower, fully clothed with the kid.
- Thanks for sharing! You’ve endured the sheer shock and embarrassment of your first breastfeeding mishap. Of course you and I know you didn’t mean for it to land in your restaurant neighbor’s coffee mug. But you’re a life-giving goddess and sometimes there are side effects to being so fabulous.
- You’ve got a new friend and it’s the Starbucks drive-thru guy! If your neighborhood barista can start making your order without you even having to step out of your car, I applaud you. You’re making good use of that car time. The drive-thru is for mommies!
- I’d like to be the first to honor your seventh trip to Target this week! It takes endurance, planning and determination to go to Target every day! It’s only Wednesday and you’ve been seven times? That’s like a mommy marathon and I’m so proud of you!
- Did you just lick your thumb to clean your kid’s face? Let’s avoid the obvious: We all said “we’d never do that.” Instead, praise yourself from having officially crossed over into mom territory. You’re beyond social boundaries and you do what it takes to get the job done!
- Gold star for bathroom time! It’s a good thing that selfies are a thing because the first time you complete a personal hygiene routine, alone and uninterrupted, you document that business! Take out your camera, girl, and show us how good you look!
- There’s a party in your tummy! So yummy! So yummy, yummy! Oh, sorry. This isn’t about getting a meal to yourself. That’s a milestone, I think; but I hear it happens much, much later in life. No, I just wanted to give you a pat on the back for singing “Yo-Gabba-Gabba” all to yourself. You’re so wrapped-up in love and care for your children, you don’t have time for Top 40 anymore; and that’s OK! Who needs today’s hits when you’ve got preschool music to jam to?
- Today you told off a stranger. And you’re shocked by it now – maybe half proud of yourself, half reeling from humiliation. But she had the audacity to say something about your kid and you don’t even know from whence that mama bear rage came! But feel good. You’re feeling that fierce love that only a mother can know.
- And the number one milestone is: FORGETFULNESS. It is so blessed. You can’t even remember any of the things I’ve talked about in this list and you are certain that they haven’t or won’t happen to you. That’s because you’re busy recording things like first teeth and real smiles and wobbly steps and smashed avocados on spoons. And those are the things that trump everything else. Those are the beautiful, heartwarming moments that matter and make all the silly things fade away.
(But seriously. If you’ve figured out how to get alone time in the bathroom, could you please let me know?!)
Sarah Ann Noel married into a family where she became the fourth Sarah Noel, so in the interest of originality, Sarah Ann Noel it shall be.
Sarah is a wife, a mother, and a prodigious over-thinker, fueled by superfluous amounts of caffeine. She likes to color coordinate her books and leave her hair messy. She and her family travel a lot, which Sarah documents through photos and video. Sarah is a freelance writer and contributes regularly to several magazines and online platforms.
She is working on her first book. Read more at sarahannnoel.com.