What I Want to Tell My Younger Parent Self
BY LAURA MULLIN
Aug 29, 2017
Dear Younger Mom Me,
Look at you holding that baby for the first time. You look a little shell-shocked. Like you can’t actually believe you’re in charge of this bundle. I mean, you can’t keep track of your keys, you lose your bank card regularly, and even occasionally misplace your (red) car. But now, somehow, this kid’s life is literally in your hands. Oh, and you look younger, so much younger...
It’s been 10 years since you started this journey and it’s been quite the ride. When you were pregnant, experienced parents would congratulate you, and then give you this look. Like they’d seen some things. Things that can’t be spoken about — only experienced.
But I will tell you this.
Hold that baby for as long as you can. Forget about showers, the messy house, and getting back into your jeans. Even though the days seem long, and the nights longer, this baby time is literally measured in months.
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Forget about the breastfeeding drama and how that didn’t work out. Breast or bottle, your kid will turn out to be healthy and strong.
Take more pictures and make sure you’re in some of them. Don’t edit yourself out of your baby’s photos because you think you look too fat or tired. I promise, in 10 years you’ll think you looked pretty darn good.
Forgo buying all that baby stuff you don’t need. I know you’re super excited to finally be a mom, but that money would be better used invested in an RESP. A glider from Pottery Barn won’t make you a better parent.
Forgive yourself if sometimes you don’t like your toddler. I mean, she’s cute, but also kind of a jerk. She yells, throws stuff, and bosses everyone around. There will be better days.
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Make the time to go on school field trips. You’ll feel like a celebrity when your child and her friends compete to hold your hand. You won’t always feel like a hero around your kid’s friends so make the most of it while you can.
Hang out with that 7-year-old every minute you can because this is the BEST age. She’s way past the diapers and tantrums, but far from the hormone-induced eye rolling and door slamming. Eat it up.
Take some time off if you can and don’t feel guilty about it. You’re helping both of you gain the necessary independence you will soon need.
Put that smartphone down. I know it’s hard, but don’t waste these years being distracted by a screen. Soon she will have a screen of her own and you’ll be tempted to throw them all out the window.
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Hold your tongue when your tween snaps at you, even if she hurts your feelings. Remember you’re the adult, and she still needs you.
Younger Mom, take it from yourself, you’re embarking on one of the happiest and most profound times of your life. You’ll never laugh as hard, cry as much, or be as surprised by life again. I’m wishing you the very best.
Your Future Parent Self
P.S. I hope the next 10 years are as much fun.
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