Letter to My Future Mommy-Self

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dear Emily as a Mom,

Life is good. There have been very few boring days in 2010. Life as a loan officer, pet owner, gardener, and crafter is busy. Most of my free time (remember that?) is spent in the craft room, on the computer writing, or reading. How is Hubbins? Say hi to him from me. Thank him for dropping you off at the coffee shop before work on the many mornings his shift started earlier than yours. This reading, journaling, blogging time once a week has been a life saver. Have you published a book yet? Get on that, would you?

I predict that life is even more of a flurry than it already was (Are the counters clean? Did you allow time to pack lunch in the morning? Is the laundry done? Yeah, me neither). This is not a guilt trip, just an opportunity to be as authentic as you want to be. If you're anything like me (and I can only imagine that you still are), lots of little things take up most of your attention, and sometimes the really important stuff gets buried.
  1. The sweetest times spent with Hubbins in these first three years of marriage have been in casual conversation, laughing over something insignificant together, enjoying each other's point of view. Don't lose that.
  2. You are surrounded by people who love you and want to participate in your life. Don't try to raise a family in a vacuum of self-sufficiency. Take advantage of the wisdom and experience and time and energy of the people around you.  
  3. Be kind to non-mothers. Not everyone is OK with drool, poop and puke as acceptable topics of conversation. 
  4. Children are resilient. Don't freak out over everything. Don't raise a Seinfeldian bubble boy. Or girl.  
  5. "Mom" is your most prominent role, but it doesn't trump all the others. You're still a wife, daughter, sister, employee, and friend. Don't disappear off the face of the earth. Remember all the people who got you this far.  
  6. The things that can make you a successful parent are skills and attitudes that have been forming for a long time. Don't forget to extend compassion, creativity, affection, conviction and enthusiasm to your husband, to family, and to friends.
I have several questions.
  • What causes you the most stress these days? Worry? Exhaustion? Threadbare-edness? 
  • Was I right in my prediction that Hubbins will be a GREAT dad? 
  • How is Mom? Does she recognize her grand kids? 
  • Do your kids have cousins? 
  • Is life more or less scripted with kids?  
  • Do you rely on routine and schedules out of habit or for survival? 
  • Are your brothers the coolest uncles ever? 
  • Do you have close Mommy-friends? 
  • Does being a Mom feel at all like being a babysitter? If so, have you run out of entertaining craft projects yet? 
  • Can you function with less than seven hours of sleep at night? I'm skeptical. 
  • Do your kids have as many pets as you did growing up? There really are no replacements for characters like Droopy, Perquacky, Tall Tale, Nutmeg Jr, and Wimsey the Silver Tabby [good future post topic]. 
  • Did your prayers get answered with at least one redheaded baby? 
  • Does motherhood ever feel like a Carl Larsson painting? That's my most idealistic fantasy about children.
Now go kiss the sweet sweaty heads of the children in your life, hug your husband like you mean it, and enjoy whatever motherly things you are doing today (making PBJ sandwiches in bulk? Reading picture books? Bandaging skinned knees? Catching your breath during nap-time? Building couch-cushion forts? Singing like Mary Poppins?).

Don't tell the kiddos how fun life was before they were born, they might get jealous. But reassure them those years made Mom and Dad the parents they are today. Thank them for waiting for so long to join the family. I have no doubt it was worth the wait for all parties involved.

Find something beautiful to admire today, and smile a lot because there's so much to be grateful for.