There are many things I would go back in time and tell myself when I was younger. Sleep more, study harder, stay away from football players, you know the basics most people think they would redo in highschool or college.
How about when you had babies though?
I look back at pictures of me and my first born and I see someone who was scared to death. I couldn’t believe they let me take him home with out an instruction manual or a baby care license of some sort.
Now that my kids are a bit older and I have eased into this mommy thing a bit, there are more than a few things I wish I could go back and tell myself as I was holding my newborn babies.
1. They will survive. In those early days I was so worried about every little thing. If their bedroom was too cold, if thier jammies were not soft enough or too soft. If thier baby lotion was the right kind. If the baby food I was giving them was the best food I could possibly give them. If they were going to get some illness from taking them to the grocery store, or from older kids they were around. If they were sleeping enough, or too much. If I was following the right schedule for any of the above said issues. Calorie intake, immunizations, breastmilk, tummy time, soft spots, eeek! There was so much cause for anxiety. If I could go back now and see myself rocking my sweet newborns, I would tell myself to relax. I would tell myself that a jar or two of store bought gerber baby food now and again would not kill them. I would say that all these things would work themselves out and that even if I didn’t do everything right (which no one ever does) these sweet babies would be happy and healthy.
2. You don’t need half the stuff you think you do. We mothers want to do everything right for our babies. We want them to have the BEST of everything. Half of the crap we spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars one barely gets used. Really lets be honest here, most of the stuff we think we need is for us not for them. Babies need breast milk, a bed and your love…that is it. I was convinced I needed so many things. Excersaucer, swing, carriers and slings, boppy, breast pump, glass bottles, fancy cribs, diaper bags, organic blankies, the list goes on and on and on. Half of these items were a bust. My son hated them, or I just found that it was something that I wanted more in theory than actual practice. If I could go back and give myself some advice I would tell myself to borrow one from a friend first to see if I really used it. I would have saved myself A LOT of money. Here is the thing, they have no idea when they are babies whether they are being carried in a designer carrier, or if thier clothes are from Target or from Janie and Jack, or if the stroller they are riding in is a hand me down or a brand new BOB. They don’t care. Plus, half of this stuff has ended up in yard sales or given away after a mear months of use. Just more stuff you have to figure out how to get rid of. So, don’t buy it all. Buy what you really need.
3. I would tell myself that it is ok for my child to misbehave. At first we believe our children are these perfect little beings. They are a reflection of us and our spouses. Therefore when our child misbehaves it is frustrating. “I don’t get it, I have done everything right!” I can hear myself thinking as my child screams at me angrily in the middle of the grocery store as people stare. ” Why is he being so naughty?” Because, I would explain, that is what children do sometimes. I would tell myself that I have not done anything to cause my child (especially my toddler) to be naughty and to just keep doing what I am doing. Keep being consistant. Keep loving them. I would say that they are supposed to be pushing me, they are supposed to be testing me.
4. I would tell myself that I will be facing unending judgement about my kids for every choice I make, or choices that they make for that matter. I would tell myself to grow some thick skin right now and get over it. No matter what choice you make regarding your child, you will face judgement from someone. Whether it be a girlfriend, a family member or a stranger in a grocery store, it will happen and often. So, just do what you think is right and ignore all the people who think they know better than you do. You and your spouse are the only ones whose opinion matters. So get over if Judy in the play group thinks you need to feed your baby more bananas, or if your Aunt Rita thinks you need to ween that baby already. Smile and nod and then do what you want to do and quit being so threatened by every other womans opinion of your mothering. It is your baby and you are a good mother.
5. I would tell myself to enjoy the ride. It really is true what they say. Time moves at an exponential rate once you have kids. Enjoy those little moments and don’t be in such a hurry to get on to the next stage. I would tell myself not to push my child to do the next big thing. I would say that they will do it in time, and just enjoy right where they are now. Don’t worry about making them eat, or walk or potty train. Just encourage them and love them and they will figure it all out. Enjoy each stage. Before you know it they will be big and running and riding their bike down the street.
I love having my big kids now. I love that they are independant. I can’t help but wonder, what I would say as a mother of a high schooler to myself right now. What advice would I give myself for this stage if my future self could come back and tell me now?
Any moms of high schoolers out there have some great advice for us mothers of elementary school kids?