9 Things I Would Tell My Almost-Ready-to-Give-Birth Self

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My daughter is seven years and 11 months. Don’t call her seven, and don’t call her eight…she needs to be exact.

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Her birthday is coming up next month, and every time she celebrates a birthday, I celebrate too. I’m doing it. I’m surviving this gig called motherhood, the most amazing, yet hardest job on Earth.

When I was three days overdue and waddling around (yes, I know many don’t like that adjective, but I sure did waddle), I kept thinking about my Life To Be: what would motherhood be like, what do I need to know, what, how, why….? Yes, my mind was racing even though I couldn’t move faster than a turtle (I know, turtles can’t waddle, but you get the idea).

What I would tell about-to-give-birth self? What bits of wisdom have I gleaned in seven years and 11 months?

1. Parenting is a dichotomy. Yup, this parenting thing is weird. You will, in the same, exact moment, feel joy and fear, worry and happiness. That’s tough to handle, but you will get used to the weirdness. It’s a way of life now.

2. You will lie to your kid. Maybe not big things, but when you want a little privacy and need a little break, you just may have to “go to the bathroom.” You will tell them this and sit on the toilet, but, well, let’s just say, nothing needs to happen. Also, don’t feel bad about hiding the chocolate – it’s a matter of survival.

3. Your body won’t be the same, so make it the best it can be now. As you carried that baby, your body has changed in those 40 weeks. Relish that new post-baby body, and get that new body in the best shape for what is to come: legs that chase a little one in the park, arms that lift a little one in and out of a crib, a core that needs to support a sleeping toddler. Yes, your body will never be the same, but you can always make it stronger.

4. You will get mad at her. Yup, as much as you love her to the ends of the universe, you will get frustrated with what she does. Don’t worry about that. It’s natural, it’s normal, it would be weird if, every once and a while, you didn’t get mad. She will test you, she will push limits...and you will push hers.

5. Other relationships are just as important. You and your husband are 1,000,001% focused on that little baby. But your relationship has changed, and will continue to change…and change takes work. Pay attention to your marriage, and give time and energy to your relationships with friends, and especially your relationship with yourself (see number 6).

6. You need alone time. You think the minute you have your baby, you won’t want to be any place but by her side. But you are wrong. You need your space, you need alone time. You need time away from her to be the best mom you can be.

7. You will make mistakes. From forgetting to pack her lunch for the field trip to not realizing that she needs glasses until the teacher points it out, you will make mistakes. The thing to remember: we all do. Many times over.

8. Don’t try to make her you. You had a childhood. It may have been great, or it may have been a little less than stellar. But that’s not her childhood. Hers is still to be determined, still needs to happen. Don’t assume everything you had in your childhood will happen. Help her discover her true inner strength that is unique to her, and carve your own life path together.

9. It’s pretty awesome. Period. No movie, no book, no fairy tale captures the magic of being a mom. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s tiring. But, amid those insane days when you think you can’t make to, remember, this is the most amazing thing you will ever do. It is the most important thing you will ever do…and it lasts for the rest of your life.

What would you tell your pre-mom self?

 

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image© istock.com/ aleksandarnakic

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