if i could turn back time

January 11, 2011

Dear myself-16-months ago,

You have a new smushy tiny little jude.  You do!  There are some things that I, older and wiser mom version of you, would like to impart.  The good and the bad.  Take heed, little padawan, and listen well.

You just had a baby.  Fucking sit. on. the. couch.  Don't feel guilty about it.  In three weeks?  Still don't feel guilty.  You're in such a rush to "get back to normal" and prove that having a baby won't change what you do every day.  It will, you can't avoid it.  Take some time to let your body recuperate and don't feel useless about watching tv all day.  The house can be dirty and you can do absolutely nothing but nap, seriously.

But if you don't feel like doing nothing?  Go places.  Trust me, I know it sounds scary but taking that little mushy blob out in public is a million times easier than it will be in 6 months.  Between 9-12 months it will be hard, WAY HARD, to go anyplace.  While he's a floppy little lump who doesn't know where he is get your ass out of the house.

sleeping on mama

Speaking of 9-12 months, those were the hard ones for us.  Newborn baby wasn't too bad, but between the frustration that he couldn't WALK and the frustration that he couldn't TALK there was a lot of yelling around the end of the year.  You'll both survive it and your patience will get better and better.  Each stage will pose new challenges but you won't know you're in the next one until you look around at the chaos and yell HOLY CRAP, what the fuck changed?!  Everything.  Every other week.

You're the mama and don't you ever forget it.  You're the parents and you get to decide everything so don't let ANYONE butt in on your teamwork or make you feel like you're doing it wrong.  Own it, do it, be it.  Everything from nursing in public to sleeping/eating/cuddling– your way IS the best way, just because it's yours.  You think you have no idea what you're doing.  You're still doing it right.

why am i sleeping on my face

Don't lose yourself in baby, keep in touch with the things (and people) you love.  Take pictures, watch movies, play video games.  But if when you do get lost, just a little (ok, a LOT)... don't be afraid.  It's normal.  All moms get gobbled up by the job at one point of another.  It's impossible not to think about baby 24-7 so cut yourself some slack.  As long as you keep some perspective you're not a crazed mom-bot for thinking about your kid most of the time.  It's in our very biological wiring.

I know you weren't that psyched about the smoooooshy baby phase but let me tell you something: it is gone in the blink of an eye.  You're so focused on what he can DO next– don't miss out on what he's doing now.  Right this second, even just flopping over there, taking a nap, looking milk-drunk, smelling like baby.  Drink it in.  Swim around in it.  STOP.  just stop.  Enjoy non-rolling jude.  Enjoy non-giggling jude.  You're going to regret it later when you don't, really regret it.

tiny hand

It's so fast.  That's maybe the stupiest most cliche thing to say, but it's so damned true.  I know you'll have fun.

With love,
older you

What words of wisdom would you pass on to new-parent you?
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