Monday, July 28, 2014


This is an open letter to the new mom I saw shopping at Target today. 

Dear New Mom, 

I can tell you're a new mom. I can spot it from 100 miles away. I am not an expert parent, far from it, but the novelty of your situation was very obvious. Maybe it was the giant diaper bag and the giant purse... and the huge draping swaddling blanket that was not currently being used for anything. Or, perhaps, it was that you had your husband carrying all of that stuff while you held the infant carrier. The fact that you had your husband with you at all, on a weekday, speaks volumes. 

Maybe this is the first time you've left the house with your new family member. Not sure what you'll need, you decided to bring it all. I've been there. Not sure how it will go without support, you made your husband go as well. I've been there too. In no time at all, you'll be strapping your child into the front of the cart knowing full well you can just buy some crackers, wipes - hell, even a diaper - off the rack if you really need it. And it'll just be you and your son. No need for the extra hands. 

I first noticed you while we were waiting to use the family bathroom; we were standing just outside the door. I could hear your sweet infant emptying his lungs as he screamed incessantly. Maybe this is the first time you've changed him in public. By the amount of time it took and the fact that your doting husband was in there as well, I think it's safe to say it was. I definitely remember how that felt the first time for me. Sweating as the baby screams. Your hands shaking as you fumble around with a diaper. How is this so much harder in public? It just is, Mama. But, one day your son will exclaim that he needs to use the potty and you'll be asked to stand outside of the stall while he completes the task on his own. All grown up. 

My children and I were eating in the food court as I watched the father of your child walk out into the parking lot, his hands still full of everything your child might need on your short trip to the store. But, no bags. It did not appear as if anything was purchased. Maybe this was your first trip for some fresh air, as I like to call it. Let's be honest, it's for your sanity. To make contact with other adults. To be reminded that there are things, other than your beautiful baby, going on in the world. Target is also my choice for a sanity saving break; well done. This may have been the first time you've gotten lost in a store, with no intentions of buying anything, just for a change of scenery. But, it won't be the last. And then one day, your adorable child will be attending preschool. The time-wasting visits to your favorite places will feel more like errands and will go much faster than you ever knew they could. And you'll miss having your baby with you. 

I concluded that your husband must have been pulling the car up since you did not leave the store with him. I also decided that he was officially amazing for that and all of the other things I witnessed him doing (way to go, Dad!). You walked up to the table next to ours in the food court to watch out the window for your ride. You and your first child. Your first child who you get to experience every milestone with for the first time. Whom you will learn what it means to be a mother for. Whose first tooth and illness will keep you up at night and whose boundless energy will make you want to nap in the middle of the day. The first person you will think of in the morning from now on. This may not be your last child. But, he is your first. And that changes everything. Even a simple trip to the store. 

Thank you for taking me back to that time in my life. The very sweet memories of many firsts with my amazing son. You're doing a wonderful job, Mama. God Bless! 

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