Dear Pre-Baby Self,
You’ve heard that life is going to change when you have kids and you think you understand. Well, that’s cute.
I’m here to tell you that you’re not prepared at all. I know what life will be like on the other side. Your new normal will be challenging and special and perfect and busy. Listen closely and take notes.
- “Wheels on the Bus” is about to be your heartbeat song.
You will officially know everything that happens on that bus, just like you also know all the animals that live on Old MacDonald’s farm. Even some jungle animals will make cameos on the farm if that means your child will not cry in her car seat for six minutes. (What? The song is about animals, not ecosystems and habitats. Maybe Old MacDonald really wanted a gorilla on his farm.)
- In addition to having a child, you will gain another new roommate named Bacterial Colonies.
You will think your house is relatively clean until your little one starts shuffling around with tufts of pet hair pulled out of the carpet and leaving sippy cups of milk in the play kitchen, only to be found days later. Food will be heartily flung to the floor from the high chair and unless you invest in a dog or a Roomba, it may live there for awhile, at least until company comes.
- Motherhood is a delicate balance between dying to self and making time for yourself.
You will realize that you can’t be the center of your universe anymore. There are little feet that need shoes, little bellies that need filling, and little cries that need soothing. You are going to tend to everybody, but make sure you get a cut of that TLC too, starting with a pedicure with a girlfriend.
- You will soon understand there’s a reason why sleep deprivation is commonly used as a torture tactic.
Lean in, Pre-Baby Self. You’ve already heard that in the beginning you won’t get much sleep and it’s true. But I need to prepare you now for the things you will do while sleep deprived including, but not limited to: discover a dirty diaper under all the covers at the foot of your bed, try to cradle and rock your cat, and put DVDs in the freezer. One day the baby will actually start sleeping through the night! This will last until Daylight Savings when you get to wake up at oh-dark-thirty and start sleep training all over again.
- Invest in a U-Haul. You will need it for all the baby gear that accompanies a weekend trip.
When you plan a weekend away, it will seem necessary to pack every baby shower present and furniture item that your child owns. If you want to drive down the highway with an inflatable duck tub crammed across your lap, then buy the minivan. But if you want to travel comfortably with all sixteen hundred lovey blankets, then go with the U-Haul.
- It takes a village to raise a mom. Be brave and accept help from your village.
Let me just say Pre-Baby Self, you are going to be such an awesome Mom. You will work really hard and dole out kisses, Band-Aids, and snuggles. You might feel frustrated when you don’t know all the parenting answers or feel helpless if you experience Postpartum Depression, but you have a whole crew of people who love you and your family. Be willing to let them into your world.
- Many tasks of motherhood require speed and stealth: Opening and closing the diaper pail is one of them.
It won’t take long for you to realize that leaving the diaper pail open for longer than 0.001 of a second unleashes the underworld. Change the diaper, dispose of the diaper- open, close, done. Be quick about it. Trust me on this.
- Your pre-baby body and post-baby body are not friends on Facebook and they probably never will be. And that’s okay.
You will have moments where you look down at your new belly button, turn on Boyz II Men, and sing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”. You’ll work out, you’ll eat healthy, and still- everything will sit differently than it used to. Bathing suit season will get you all hot and bothered, but you know what? You rearranged your organs to grow and birth the most precious human. Treat those stretch marks with respect… they actually tell a beautiful story.
- The love for your child will be very real- deep and strong and even a little overwhelming in the very best way.
You will look at these little people that you’re raising and ache because the love you feel is so powerful. Sure, you will have moments made of utter chaos, but even after the hard days, you’ll still tiptoe into their room at night and think to yourself, “That child just about killed me today. But I couldn’t love her any more.”
Pre-Baby Self, we both know you don’t have a clue what you’re getting into. Soak up every moment with your babies. You won’t believe how quickly the time will pass. For now, though: travel, sleep in, binge watch Netflix, eat out, pee by yourself. These days are numbered, but truly, the best is yet to come.