Dear Future (Child-Having) Self,
Hi. If you’re reading this, it means I’m dead. Kidding! That’s not a very funny joke, is it? Well, to me, now, as a non-parent, it is; but to you, a parent, it might not be. I hope it is, though. That’s one of the things I’d like you to maintain after relinquishing your role as a perennial child -- your semi-sick (some may say “blue”) sense of humor. Don’t become one of those moms who takes everything so seriously. That’s never been you, almost to a fault. If I might be so bold, Future Self, “serious” isn’t a shade that suits you. (I really hope you’ve held on to some shred of light-heartedness, F.S., 'cause I’m digging a pretty big ditch right now, otherwise.)
Don’t become one of those judgey moms. You know, the sanctimonious moms you’ve been judging the past few years; the moms who simply can’t believe anyone would let their kid “cry it out”; the moms who think “crying it out” is literally the word of God, and those who don’t do it are hovering hovercraft helicopter 757 Air Force One parents. What works for others won’t necessarily work for you. And vice-versa. Why spend the energy worrying/talking shit about other parents? Seems like a waste of time. You have a kid to take care of.
And speaking of judging, don’t become a slob. You know what I mean. You don’t need to wear a prom dress every day, but throw on a coat of mascara and swipe some lip gloss on once in a while, for God’s sake. You like clothes and makeup and all things frivolous. Don’t use the “I’m a mom” excuse to look like crap. You feel like crap when you look like crap. I don’t have to tell you that.
Relaaaax. Don’t sweat the small stuff like you usually do. You’ve always been this weird combination of laid back and neurotic, Future Self. You should try for a little more laid back and a little less neurotic now that you’re a mom. I’m guessing it’ll come in handy. If you run out of diapers, have your husband pick some up. If your baby won’t stop crying, try to remain cool. (Babies cry.) You want your daughter to have such a calming demeanor, don’t you? How will she if you don’t lead by example? In order to teach patience, you have to be patient. (I think you/we learned that at a yoga class in Silver Lake?) Oh, and for God’s sake, stay off the Internet when something seems wrong. You know the Internet only makes things worse. Someone’s child probably has died from crying, but yours won’t. I just know it.
Don’t brag about your baby. She’s not the first child ever to be born. Between you and me, she will be the cutest, and she most likely is advanced, but other people don’t care about that. Do you?
Remind her of her grandmother often. Once a day if you remember. Read her things that she wrote. Give her her sparkly clothes to dress up in. Display pictures of her. And let her know that she can always turn to her when she needs help or advice. She’ll always be there for her. Remember, we did that with Grandpa when we were younger? Who knows if anything really came of it (or if anything comes of praying in general), but it made us feel closer to him.
Don’t forget about the dog. Partly because he’s such a sweet little boy. Partly to prove every obnoxious person who’s said, “You’ll forget about him once the baby comes” wrong.
Lastly, let your daughter be her own person. She isn’t a carbon copy of you or her dad. She’s her own person with her own interests. Don’t try to turn her into something she’s not. Don’t force things on her just because you like them. Instead marvel at the individual you created. Oh, but at the same time, have a backbone, would you? Know when to say no. I mean, I’m not a mom or anything, so I’m not speaking from experience. But it seems like a good way to raise a kid.
Godspeed, my friend, godspeed.
(Still pregnant) Nicole Fabian-Weber
Are you the parent you thought you'd be?
Image via Linda Cronin/Flickr