The Advice I’d Give Myself if I Could Go Back in Time

advice to myself
Image via Flickr/ Fredrik Rubensson

Dear Past-Pregnant Me, 

I hope you’re doing well and remembering to love every single magnificent, wonderful baby kick. When that kiddo arrives you’re going to feel relieved he’s here but miss those sweet sensations. Right now I know you have a few concerns about this whole motherhood gig. I wanted to reach backward in time to share the advice I'd give myself. The wisdom I've gained through four years and two kids. I’m here to give you a glimpse into the future and correct a few misconceptions you have about what life is going to be like with kids.

I know these statements might be hard to believe but, well, I'm you, so I promise they’re true! What I’m about to tell you doesn’t apply to everyone. If there’s one thing you’ve learned since becoming a mom, it’s that everyone’s experiences are different. But these are wholly 100% true for me. So, when you’re ready, sit back and enjoy the advice I'd give myself. 

1. Your body probably won’t ever be the same 

Yep, you’ll lose the baby weight, but your tummy will forever remain scarred and stretched from carrying those nearly 10 lb babies. You’ll do sit-ups and crunches and planks but still, your pooch will remain. While some women really do “bounce right back” after having a baby, you won’t be one of them. Don’t worry though because …

2. You’ll be surprisingly okay with it 

You’ll begin to favor high-waisted leggings and “smoothing” shape wear. But, when it all comes off at night, you’ll be surprisingly okay with the softness of your shape. As a mom, your brain only has so much worry-room. And concerns over how you’ll look in a bikini just don’t rank high enough to occupy space. Your bikini days aren’t behind you though. Because hey, stretch marks and a little extra softness aren’t going to keep you from feeling the warmth of the sun on your belly, a feeling you’ve always loved. 

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3. Mom friends don’t just appear the moment you walk out of the hospital with a bundle in your arms 

This one’s a bummer. I know. You thought you’d find an instant mom group by locking eyes with another tired, ergo-clad mom at the coffee shop or during Mommy and Me yoga on Saturday mornings. But, like anything worth doing, making mom friends takes a whole lot of time and effort. As a working mom you’ll have evenings and weekends with your kids and, when they’re little, you’re going to be selfish with that time. You’re not going to want to spend it meeting up with moms you may not click with. In fact, you’re going to get your kids out of diapers and into preschool without ever developing the kind of mommy friends who meet up each week to walk at the park and grab a coffee. But that’s okay because … 

4. Moms with wisdom are all around 

They might not be the kind of women you meet up with for play dates, but the world is full of wonderful women, many of whom have kids. Ask your co-worker who has a ten-year-old how they got their kiddo to sleep through the night all those years ago. Or ask the newly pregnant neighbor if she’d like any of your gently-used baby gear. Even if you don’t have regular meetups, there is wisdom to gain (or share with) every mom you cross paths with. 

5. You’ll miss your kiddos but won’t feel guilty for working 

In this world, people like to guilt trip the working mom. There’s talk of kids suffering in daycare or mom’s missing out on all the big stuff. But, while it’s a busy life, it’s also a good life, and you won’t feel guilty for working. You will absolutely wish you had more time you’re your kids. But that’s not the same as feeling guilty about working. Having a working mom is good for kids. And, because of the way you split your time, you’ll be extra productive at work and extra engaged at home. 

6. EVERYTHING is a phase 

This one is the biggest, most important parenting lesson out there. Everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) is a phase. Teething? Over in a few weeks. Sleepless nights? Over in a few months (or years). Fits? Clinginess? Nursing strikes? All a phase. Every challenge that comes with parenting young children does pass. And, when it does, you’ll be stronger, wiser, and more patient. When times get really tough, take a breath, compose yourself, and remember, this too shall pass. 

So, Past-Pregnant Me, that's the advice I'd give myself for a smoother first few years. They’ll be hard but wonderful and worth every worry you have! Enjoy it all. 

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That's the advice I'd give myself. What advice would you give yourself if you could reach back in time?

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The Advice I’d Give Myself if I Could Go Back in Time

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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