2013 11/01

A letter to my pre-kid self

Slow down. Just slow down.

The journey you are about to set out on is going to be very different than you think. It is a road laced with amazing moments. Ones that you will cherish forever. It is also lined with tough times. Ones that you are really not prepared for.

For the next five or so years, from birth until they head off to school, you are their everything. Twenty-four hours a day. Seven days a week. It’s you. And them. And while you’ll occasionally get a moment of reprieve in the way of a babysitter, you will probably use that time to do mom-things, like grocery shopping. Because, going to the grocery store without three kids is now a treat!

And when they do head off to school, things do not get any easier. They just get different. The school will get their best hours now. You will get their overtired mornings and the fights over what they can and cannot wear to school. You will get the crabby afternoons and evenings of homework and dinners and bedtimes. But you’ll also get the sweet moments of bedtime prayers and watching the toddler tuck his older sisters in bed. Hold on to that.

You will find yourself laughing so hard one minute because your preschooler has discovered that if she wears her pajamas under her clothes, then she won’t have to change at bedtime. And then, the next moment, you will find yourself lying on the bathroom floor, door locked, crying because you just can’t take another minute of kids arguing and temper tantrums and OH MY WORD! Just take your nap!!!

You will also lose yourself. I’m sorry. I wish I could tell you a way to make it different. A way you could have it all. But you can’t. There is no happy medium. When you are with the kids, you will be thinking about work. When you are working, you will feel guilty that you are not with the kids. And working from home? You’re an idiot! That will cause things to be even harder because you officially have no boundaries. But you will need that outlet. You may want to be a stay at home mom but you also feel a need to be more than that. To have an identity outside of that. It’s not entirely you’re fault. You come from a long line of workers. Work, achievement, over-working runs in your veins. And this will be your struggle. Just take a deep breath and try not to beat yourself up too much.

It’s ok to tell your kids you need a break. It’s ok to tell your husband you need a break. It’s ok to tell yourself you need a break. Take a break! You will be a better person for this.

Also, don’t stop exercising. You need to do this. You are at our best when you feel your best. Muffin tops are not sexy. Obviously you know this before having kids. Having kids does not give you an exception.

I just want you to know, Stacey, that it’s going to be ok. It may not feel that way all the time. It doesn’t feel that way right now. But it will be ok. It has to be. Because there is no other option. Those other moms who appear to have it all together…they don’t. They cry and doubt and wonder too.

You are going to have some amazing kids. And when you’re 7 year old tells you she hates you and she wishes you were never born, she really doesn’t mean it. You need to know that. But when they tell you they love you more than ice cream…the mean that. They would trade all the ice cream in the world for your love. And your love is all they need. They do not need perfect. They do not need homemade birthday cakes. It’s ok that daughter has celebrated four Chrsitmases and still doesn’t have a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament. It’s ok that toys get broken and the house looks like a mess and always smell like a strange combination between spit-up, poop, baby powder and apples.

It’s ok.

You are going to be ok.

Parenting is going to be tough. It’s going to be hell. But it will also be fabulous. And you’re going to be ok.

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