Dear Firstborn, Thanks for Letting Me Screw Up

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Dear Firstborn,

I had no freaking clue what I was doing those first few months after you were born and you just kind of hung in there for me. For example, you were so damn hungry all the time, and I just thought you were an ornery baby. Because you wailed and wailed, I just figured you were colicky.

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Lucky me, I thought. But it turned out you were just hungry, really freaking hungry.

Thank you for putting up with all of my neurotic behaviors as a first-time mother.

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Remember when you slept in the Rock n’ Play next to my bed and I still used a monitor just to be sure you were breathing? What a nut-job. What about my goal to make you the smartest preschooler in the world? I thought someone would give me an effing trophy if I read to you all day long, taught you the alphabet, and had you talking in full sentences by 18 months.

As a teacher myself, I’d say I was a little over-the-top. Luckily, I learned to just let you be a kid—the kickass kid you are today.

Thank you for putting up with my all organic meals

Then there was the food. Only organic for my baby boy! I bought strictly organic and made all of your food from scratch. Ha, if I only could have looked into a crystal ball to see you eating McDonald’s after a soccer game today…that first-time mom would have cringed.

Thanks for tolerating the fact that I was super strict about sleeping and eating schedules

Following those routines when you went to sleep at night and at nap time made everyone in our house a little crazy. Good ole mom would never let us stay out at a summer barbecue to eat those smores because of bedtime (I suffered through so many eyerolls from your father regarding this one).

But over time, I’ve learned to loosen up a bit and simply let the good times roll despite the fact that I know that the next day will be a shit-show. Sometimes, the cranky days ahead are actually worth the long nights before.

Thanks for teaching me to trust myself

There was the kindergarten debacle – to red-shirt or not? I hemmed and hawed on that one for a solid two years. But I should have known all along that you would do just fine with either decision—that’s probably the biggest lesson you’ve taught me in motherhood. To simply trust myself and to follow my intuition.

Thank you for not only making me a mother, but for teaching me to act confident in this role.

I started off with some pretty heavy guilt right away because nursing you was so tough. But once I gave you that sweet magic of formula, our bond grew deeper—and right away. You taught me that you loved me no matter what. You felt that I was merely doing my best, and more importantly, that, that was good enough. It will always be good enough.

Today, thanks to you, I stand a confident mother. Yes, I’m still learning as I go, but you gave me the precious ability to be proud of my decisions and to stand by them as a mom—as your mom. And we all know how much I need that confidence with your feisty little sister. Otherwise, she’d eat me alive.

Thank you for always accepting me and loving me no matter what.

I’ve made plenty of parenting mistakes and I’m certain I’ll make more. That’s how it goes. But thanks to you, I know that you will always be by me every step of the way due to the simple fact that you know I’m doing my very best—my best for you.

I love you always,
Mom

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Angela Anagnost-Repke is an extroverted freelance writer who also feels energized in the solitude of her home as her fingers click the keys of her laptop. She is a flawed mother who has been published in Good Morning America, ABC News, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, and many more. Angela has personal essays published in Mothers Always Write, The HerStories Project and the anthology, “Red States, Blue States” by Belt Publishing. She is an advocate for a moms’ night out and is currently at-work on the cross-generational memoir, "Mothers Lie."

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