I am not the type of chick who has regrets, which my good friend Jay-Z taught me in a song on his very first album many moons ago: “In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets.” However, I have lived a little life, and I have some advice that I wish I could give my pre-baby self.
1. Go take those “someday…” trips you’ve always wanted to take because, girlfriend, “someday” is now. Not only will traveling with your baby be more difficult, it will also sound just terrible. Who wants to waste basically two whole days getting to Hawaii and then deal with the whole time zone thing and spend half the time in your hotel room trying to adhere to your child’s routine? Go now! Go quickly!
2. Don’t wake up so doggone early all the time. I know you love to wake up and work out and get your day off and poppin’, but it will not kill you to sleep in until 9:00. It might do you some good.
3. Try really hard to start liking country music. I feel like country is an acceptable genre that you can blast in your car (van?) while driving around with your kids. Yes, you may battle depression as you listen to them croon about how their dog died and their wife left them, but country music does not produce skanks like Katy Perry and Rihanna and Justin Bieber. And that will be important to you someday.
4. Don’t worry so much about getting fat while you are pregnant. Getting pregnant is not like signing up for an automatic 50-pound weight gain. Just keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be fine.
5. Become a teacher the first time around. Don’t be tempted by the “glamourous” (ahem) lifestyle of those in Advertising and PR. Life is not an episode of Sex and the City and you do not live in Manhattan. Become a teacher the first time around because one day you’ll appreciate that it’s a great job for a mom to have when her kids are school-age.
6. Try really hard to learn to appreciate zoos, museums and things of that nature. Just because you’d prefer to be at a sporting event doesn’t mean that you should raise kids who are just like you. (I guess). Try to appreciate educational and cultural experiences such as zoos, museums, theater and art.
7. Get to know your animals a little better. Speaking of animals, you are hopelessly bad at remembering which animal is which, particularly farm animals. Is a goat the same thing as a donkey? Is a baby cow called a mare or a calf or a veal? Are chickens the same thing as hens? This will probably come back to haunt you when you have toddlers.
8. Spend more time with your friends. Friendships change after you have children, and that’s a fact. Invest more time in them now and your friends will be there for you when you have kids and long after they’re grown.
9. Try to become a better eater. And by this I do not mean “healthier” eater; no, you are a very healthy eater. I mean don’t be so picky! Try new things and become a little more adventurous. How will you ever teach your kids to love brussel sprouts if you won’t touch them with a ten-foot pole?
10. Become more creative or at least fake it. Not only are you not creative, you don’t care that you’re not creative. So take a chance: refurbish that old table or copy that cool idea you saw on Pinterest. Even if it ends up sucking, you have nothing to lose.
11. And learn how to sew while you’re at it. “Why do I need to sew? My mom knows how to sew.” But one day, you will want to know how to sew because one day, you will be someone’s mom and they will think the same thing about you.
12. Hang up those pictures in your house. Or do any other house projects that you want to complete. Not only will you not have time for it once your kids come along, but you will not want your husband wasting his time working on the house when he could be hanging out with you and your kids.
13. Don’t work so much. You are such a hard worker and you are always the first one to pick up the slack for others. It will not kill you to take an extra day off here and there. Work will be there when you return and no one will die when you’re gone.
14. Stay up (and out) later. I know you tend to go to bed kinda early because you get up early (see #2 above!), but just try to stay awake late. Once you have a little one, I guarantee you won’t make it past 10 pm. Speaking of which, just because your friends are getting together at 9 pm, don’t automatically rule it out. 9 pm is not late and you are not old…so don’t act like it.
15. Be a little selfish. You, dear girl, are constantly giving yourself to other people. I know you’d rather make yourself unhappy than bear the thought of possibly hurting someone else’s feelings. But it’s okay to say no once in awhile. Do something for yourself every so often.
And one more thing that I would tell my “old” self is that you cannot imagine how absolutely and completely in love you will be with your little boy from the moment you lay eyes on him. Everything will change and you will never be the same again. And as scary as that sounds, that’s a good thing! I promise.