Dear Jess, a letter to my childless self
You’re loving life in your twenties and make the most of it because the first years of your mid-thirties will be made of up being pregnant and rearing your two children. Game-changer.
Do you remember when you thought you were tired? Do you remember those hangovers you used to have where you laid on the sofa all day only moving to go to McDonald’s and return to the couch only to spend it counting down the time until it’s acceptable to go to bed? You ain’t seen nothing yet.
You know how you judge people and look down your nose at those mums who take their kids out in public with snot streaming down their faces or those kids that walk about with dummies attached to their mouths? Heaven forbid, those parents who go to a restaurant and let their children stare at an iPad for the duration of the meal. And how about that one that walks about nonchalantly in a supermarket like her child isn’t having the biggest tantrum or strop in Sainsburys? You will be that mother, in fact you’ll also wipe that snot on your own sleeve and catch puke in your bare hands. But don’t worry because you won’t be ruining any Topshop jumpers – your wardrobe will be all Primark.
Your first baby will arrive and you’ll think that it’s really hard work. And it is, it’s the one that turns your life upside down. You also rapidly learn that ‘sleep like a baby’ is a shit quote as yours won’t. Who would think that three years later, you would do it all again? Out of choice. They won’t even be ‘accidents’.
You will be amazed at how strong you really are. How even on no sleep and a day filled with tantrums and not a second to yourself, you will still parent. You will keep on keeping on, no matter how relentless those days are.
You think you worry now, you’re about to reach a whole new level. You’ll worry about walking down the stairs and tripping over with the baby in your arms, you’ll worry that your baby isn’t eating, drinking or pooing enough, you’ll worry about how you’ll cope with working and doing the school run and the nursery drop off, you’ll worry for weeks about your baby’s first day of school and how she’ll get on (FYI: she’ll get on just great), you’ll worry about your relationships – your friendships and your marriage, you’ll worry you don’t do enough, you’ll worry you’re doing too much, you’ll worry you’re worrying too much and you’ll worry you’re too relaxed.
Those carefree days are few and far between, your life will become fairly routined. So make the most of those adhoc meals out with your boyfriend (he’s going to be your husband by the way, soz for the spoiler), be the bad influence on your friends and lure them out for ‘just one drink’ and then roll in at three am. Remember to keep a bit of yourself, still get drunk and disorderly and don’t even think about the next day. Kids are pretty great for hangovers – they distract you away from those pounding headaches, no time for laying on the sofa weeping into your McDonalds now.
I’m so glad you love washing and ironing so much because your laundry pile is about to quadruple. In fact you’ll get these Ikea wash baskets and you won’t just have one, you’ll have four – whites, blacks, blues and pinks. You think I’m joking? I’m not.
You will need to find your voice. You will need to be the voice for your kids. Don’t be afraid to disagree with something, stop going along with things for an easy life all the time.
Things have to give sometimes, life won’t be as carefree and selfless as it has been. Sometimes you have to say no to things, I know this is hard because y’know FOMO.
Enjoy those holidays that you go on, the adults only ones, because soon they’re going to be replaced with family orientated, kids club, evening discos with dancing bear type holidays and terrible entertainers. Don’t worry about leaving kids in kids club, you think it’s bad from the outset but the kids love it and the parents love the two hours in the sun even more. Let’s call it sunny self care – you owe it to yourself.
Money. You’re shit with it now and kids are expensive so you should really start thinking ahead, instead of buying those jeans, shoes and handbag, pick one – put the rest in the maternity leave fund.
Lie ins. There’ll be no more waking up just as Sunday Brunch ends, you’ll have watched the Peppa Pig movie twice over by the time that even starts.
Oh and another thing. Kids love snacks, yours definitely will, so get used to sharing your crisps. Or really good at silently eating them in cupboard doors or locking yourself away in rooms with the hoover on trying to muffle the sounds of the rustle.
You know you use face wipes now? They’re about £3 a pack aren’t they, well in this shop called Aldi you can get six packs of these things called wet wipes, farewell Simple. You’ll have a constant stock of them. Everywhere in the house. They’ll double up as dusters and polishers too – not that you’ll bother. That bloke who became your husband? He loves a clean up, so if you leave it long enough he’ll have a little moan and then do it anyway.
Take all the photos, kids are great subjects. There’s this new app that you should get, it’s called Instagram its gonna be bigger than MySpace ever was. You might even think about setting up a blog? There’s a whole world of mummy bloggers out there. Ironic.
Remember Janice’s old cliche quotes ‘Born in a barn?‘, ‘What do you think this house is, a hotel? Kitchens closed‘ and my all time favourite ‘It’s like Blackpool illuminations in here‘, you used to roll your eyes didn’t you? Trust me, you’ll be reeling those lines off in no time. You can even chuck in ‘Mummy’s always right’. Told you there is some perks of motherhood.
And lastly? The nights are long, that’s for sure but time goes so quickly. Don’t keep wishing for the next stage, it will come and it will pass and you’ll wish you didn’t wish them away so much….and remember, life only throws at you what it knows you can handle.
And you my girl, will be thrown two mini grenades who will drive you crazy and make you so proud in equal measure. Just make sure that boyfriend/husband of yours gets the snip after the second as I’m not sure three is the magic number for you.
Sending love and mental strength – you’ll need it…