Dear Me in 2003,
Welcome to motherhood! This amazing gift that you have dreamed about your entire life has finally arrived. You have never in your life felt more love, fulfillment or excitement than you will on this journey. The snuggles, baby smell, milestones, hilarious and thoughtful moments will go unmatched. This will be good – great – magical.
It is important for you to remember all of the above when you want to unleash a can of whoop-ass on your entire family. Because in addition to all of aforementioned awesomeness – the can of whoop-ass thing will happen too…a lot. I know, I know you can’t imagine this being the case – 1 week into first time motherhood it seems impossible that every second won’t feel like magic. Well suck it up sister – you got to put on your big girl pants – this parenting thing isn’t for wusses. Sh*t’s about to get real!
Remember when you gave up your life as a professional actor/singer but you knew it would be ok because you would sing for your babies? Well try not to be upset when they tell you to stop singing – you’re hurting their ears, and stop using those voices when you read them stories just use your regular voice, and no we don’t want to play anymore theatre games mommy – it’s enough already! They love you regular – your talents means nothing to them. Really – just you meeting their needs is the only thing that matters to them – yes, they really are that selfish – prepare yourself. This thing isn’t about you.
You know how you think you are never going to do anything wrong as a parent and in return your children will be perfect? Well, and I mean this lovingly, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Furthermore, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing either – and by the way – you never will. The only thing that changes is that by kid number 3 you will finally realize that your children are really going to be alright and with very little intervention on your part. Find them interesting, love them, give them responsibility, make them accountable, teach them compassion and get the hell out of the way. They will sometimes watch too much tv, they will sometimes not follow the rules, eat unhealthy food, be annoying, not listen, get on your nerves, run in public, yell in public, have tantrums, forget their homework, write on the walls, cover themselves head to toe in Vicks-Vapo rub, drink from the dog bowl, pee in a suitcase, never sleep through the night for 5 years, never eat what you make them for any meal AND drop Cheerios all over your life forever.
And guess what oh great Mommy Swami – you will yell, cry, stomp, manipulate, punish, bribe, turn on the tv, be too tired for bedtime stories, not have play dates because you don’t want to clean your house, say no when you should say yes – and vice versa – yell, snipe, not give enough hugs, give too many passes, be unfair, “ruin” their lives, be hated, ignored, impatient and generally awful more often than you ever thought possible. This part IS all about you. Be firm consistently, be sorry when it’s necessary, give love. Don’t be afraid to say you were wrong – that happens in life sometimes – even to Mommy and Daddy; more to Daddy but…
Guess what else?! The kids will probably cry at holidays or on birthdays after you’ve slaved for weeks planning every last second of the special event. One tiny thing will go wrong and they will devolve into a puddle of tears, snot, and unreasonableness. And when it’s all said and done you will ask “Did you have fun?!” and they will say “NO!” You will do lots of things “for them” and you will expect a certain reaction that you will inevitably not receive. Don’t let them be disrespectful but try not to tie up your self worth in their reactions to things. That’s really exhausting (and disappointing) for you and it puts a lot of power in those little hands. If you are really attached to what that giant “party” means for you – skip the party and go to the park instead. Those little people would rather just spend time with you. They will be happiest during the times when you aren’t doing anything special – together.
Oh dear, sweet, naive Me – I could go on infinitely but you should have the opportunity to find some of it out for yourself. Here’s the thing – it’s all worth it.
Good luck – much love, fortitude and Xanax await you.
Future Erin – 2014