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Dear Empty Nester, Your "Perspective" Isn't Actually Helping

Updated: Jun 21



Dear Empty-Nester,

My first and only baby is 11 months old. She is NOT sleeping through the night. Not only that, but she’s really nowhere close to it. She still gets up 2-3x most nights. I am breastfeeding, so this responsibility to care for her in the wee hours of the morning falls heavily on me. Every time. My husband and I have chosen not to sleep train, so it’s really not even worth your breath telling me that I need to just “let her cry,” etc. Maybe we’ll make a different choice with the next baby, if God is gracious to give us one. But for now, this is what life looks like.

 

I. Am. Exhausted.

 

My hormones (because, again, breastfeeding) are still LITERALLY EVERYWHERE. My body & my mind are like a construction zone where the workers are frantically trying to get the roof on before another storms blows in.

It. Is. Hard.

 

My house is a mess most of the time. Yes, it’s a part of this season. I’m in baby land, I get it. I don't desire perfection, and I know I need to rest. But I also know that for my actual mental health, I function better with an organized, clean house. Maybe this is just my personality, and I’ll own that. But when clutter exists in my personal space, it simultaneously exists in my brain and heart. So it needs to be dealt with.

 

That. Is. A. Genuine. Burden.

 

I love my daughter so much it feels like my brain is going to ooze out of my ears if I think about different ways to fully express it any longer. So when people come up and touch her, I die inside. When they KISS HER, rage consumes me. I worry about her constantly. I worry about germs and sickness. I worry about her being the one in a millionth baby who catches the disease that kills her just like the ridiculous article I saw floating around on Facebook last week. Tell me that feeling will pass when I have more kids: I DON’T CARE. Because frankly, I don’t know what it’s like to have more than one child yet, Patricia!!

I understand your heart’s motivation, sweet empty-nester. I can’t imagine how it must feel for you to miss your now adult babies. I know there’s a lot of wisdom I can glean from you, and believe it or not, I genuinely desire to learn what you have to teach me! But I need you to stop with the generic, stereotypical, condescending statements & old wives tales that updated scientific research has clearly debunked (looking at you, rice cereal!!!). I need you to quit telling me

 

to wait until I have two kids, then three, and so on;

to wait until the tantrum phase starts, or she becomes a teenager;

that it’s going to get better;

to "savor every moment while they last;"

that one day I’ll look back on these memories & wish for these days again;

and how the time flies so fast.


Because I know I’m young & new at this mom thing, but I already know that.

Trust me, I realize how fleeting this precious time is. I’m reminded of it every month when I take updated photos of her and every holiday that has passed this year because I know it’s going to be her only “first _____.” The very mention of her rapidly approaching birthday is enough to reduce me to a puddle. So, I get it.

 

As a matter of fact, I’m writing this letter with my sleeping girl on my chest. I was going to lay her down in her crib for this nap, but then I looked at her. I was struck by her beauty once again, and decided I’ll just jot down my thoughts on my phone that’s miraculously been hanging out at 17% charge for over an hour now. #blessed

I’m so thankful for Jesus. Honestly, I don’t have the faintest idea how women survive motherhood without Him. Like I just don’t. There’s no way I could.

 

God’s Word is my source of life always, but especially in this season. I am solely dependent on my Savior to get through every day. That’s always been true, but it’s been especially highlighted for me since January 13th, when a 6.2lb little nugget rocked my entire world.

 

Ephesians has always been an encouraging book for me, because it’s full of reminders to God’s people about the sheer beauty of the Gospel and how to live a life that honors Christ. Chapter four, verse 29 stuck out to me recently: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Another version says it this way: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”


Here’s the application for this truth as it relates to young people. I was going to say “young moms,” but really, I think this translates across the board in our generation. We know you have more experience than we do, and we treasure the opportunity to learn from you. We love to hear your stories. Even if you don’t always see it, we try to remain humble as we listen to what you say to us. But you wanna know why we always talk about how alone we feel? It’s because of statements like “just wait until ____.”

Sometimes, all people really want is to be seen.

 

Your perspectives and your advice are valid, but they are not always necessary. They are not always best in a particular moment. At the end of the day, all we need is a little validation. There are so many voices telling us we’re not good enough, and because you didn’t grow up in a media-saturated culture, I’m gonna go ahead and say it: No, you don’t understand.

 

Seeing people, truly seeing them and simply acknowledging the season they are in with a kind, “I remember how hard that is. You’re doing a great job!” goes a lot farther for earning your respect than you may realize.

If you want to leave a legacy and impart wisdom to us "crazy millennials", just step into our mess & love us.


With gratitude,

A young mom who has absolutely nothing figured out but is really trying her best ❤️

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