Note To 18 Year Old Self:

Once you have children everything changes.  You like to think that as they get older you will go back to the way things “used to be,” but this is just not true.  You will forever be responsible for the lives you brought into this world and that will always come before even your own needs and wants.  I don’t think people can fully grasp this until they have already had kids, and by then it’s too late!  As I said to a friend who recently gave birth to her second child, “it will get easier, but from now on there will always be two of them.”

Sometimes I wish I could go back.  I have no regrets, but I certainly could have done some things differently.  Here is what I would tell my 18 year old self:

Don’t take things too seriously yet.  Study and have goals, but don’t worry if you fail a few times.  I can recall being devastated when I had to wait a year to apply to graduate school; my grades weren’t fantastic and I wanted a year of practical experience on my application.  Now I don’t actually like my chosen career and am considering returning to school.  It’s ok if you don’t know what you want to do at 18.  I’m still not sure at 33.

Learn to listen.

Be proud of your boobs and show them off more because even if you don’t breast feed, pregnancy alone will turn them into unrecognizable, saggy pancakes. [Editor’s note: Still love ‘em.]  I had those great C boobs that stood up without a bra and I didn’t realize how wonderful they were until I lost them.  I should have at least entered a wet t-shirt contest during Cancun spring break or shown up to class topless one day.  I shamefully pulled my 20 year old cousin aside over Thanksgiving and told her as much.

Don’t worry so much about boys!!!!  You will date, A LOT, but eventually you will find someone perfect for you.  It might not happen right away, but patience is a virtue and desperation stinks like Axe body spray.  Confidence and a sense of humor are equally as attractive as a nice face.  Being cute isn’t enough; even if you look like Cindy Crawford that won’t make a guy stick around for too long.

You are indeed a little bit psychic!

Start exercising now; it’s much harder to get started when you’re old and out of shape!!!  And don’t forget, the “spare tire” is real…VERY real.

Travel, even if it’s alone, and live abroad if you possibly can.  I still have so many places I want to see; I should have just gotten on a plane a few more times and gone to see some of them!!  Now, I will have to wait until I ship the kiddies off to camp for the summer, as somehow I doubt tolerating a 13 hour flight to Africa is in Man’s near future.

Always advocate for yourself and don’t just get lost in the shuffle.  Don’t be afraid to be persistent even if you think you are bordering on annoying; in the end you will have a better chance of getting what you need.  Your voice and your needs are equally as important as those around you.  This will be important throughout life.

Learn some organizational skills.

Sleep. Sleep A LOT.  For that matter, spend at least one entire day a month in bed luxuriating, watching stupid television and reading Us magazine.  You have no idea how much you will take these days for granted once they are completely gone forever, or at least until both kids are away at college.  There should be no guilt about wanting to sit on your ass and do absolutely NOTHING!

Enjoy food because once you give birth you will no longer have a metabolism

Ignore the bitches and surround yourself with people who love you for you.  The girls that judge you when you are young will be the moms that judge you later on.  What they think absolutely does not matter… ever.

Eventually you will achieve your biggest goal; you will have the family that you always dreamed of, so just relax!!

What would you tell yourself?

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