Dear 20-something, know-it-all, pre-baby self,
This is your future self talking. Eight years and nine months into the future to be exact. Sure, I may be older, wiser and slightly greyer than you, but I have something to tell you that we both need to hear…
Turns out, my pre-baby, smarty-party self, you actually don’t know everything. Turns out, the most important things in life aren’t sleep ins, nights out, weekends spent at festivals and holidays to exotic locations.
You’re about to discover just how unimportant those things really are (well, except for sleep ins. They are still pretty awesome). Because in one week you’re gonna pee on a pregnancy test and be thrown into parenthood, whether you’re ready for it or not (and, let’s both admit it. You WERE not ready for it).
But before you head into this next chapter of our life, let me give you a few words of wisdom, you know, some parenting advice from your older, wiser, greyer self. Here’s what I wish I knew before I became a mum.
Listen to what your heart tells you
This is especially important to remember on those nights you spend crying because your son won’t settle unless he’s in your arms. On those days when you feel guilty for not wanting to do Cry-it-Out, for not doing what so-and-so said in that famous parenting book, for not listening to those around you. For listening to yourself instead.
Stop crying. Stop stressing out. And stop reading those stupid parenting books.
Instead, let your baby stay in your arms. Rock them all night if you have to. Do what’s in your heart. And cuddle them to sleep. Despite the guilt you may feel, this is actually the right thing to do.
Build your village and find a sense of belonging
Relying on others doesn’t make you weaker. Rather than trying to prove you have it all together, be honest from the start. You don’t have to be Supermum. That persona is a myth. You just need to be you, and that is enough, especially when you have so many people wanting to support you – if only you’ll let them.
Admit that raising two little kids is hard (yes, you have two. Surprise!). Talk to your husband. Talk to your mum. Talk to your friends. They are there, waiting for the conversation. And, it will save you so much anxiety, frustration and anger.
The little mistakes don’t matter
You’re allowed to screw up. And you do. Heaps. You get in trouble at daycare for packing a chocolate bickie. You accidentally slam your son’s finger in the door. You find your daughter eating dirt. And dog food. You visit the ED like five times in ONE YEAR.
But it’s all good. These things don’t make you a bad mum. You’re allowed to make mistakes. The kids turn out just fine.
You need to stop buying so many shoes
Seriously, you won’t wear them. They will sit in the back of your closet, collecting dust and reminding you that you probably could have used the money for a family holiday instead.
Or even put it towards the mortgage. I know, pre-kid self, you’re rolling your eyes at me right now. But I don’t care. Roll away. As long as you stop wasting our money on shoes…
Your children will be your everything
Yes, that seems like a bit of a dramatic statement, but it is entirely true. Nothing matters as much as the happiness of those two kids.
They will be the reason you smile, the reason you work, the reason you actually stop buying shoes and learn how to save your money. There is nothing in your life you will value more than your kids. And it will be the same for all your friends, just like this heartfelt video shows and just like it is for every parent all the way back to the beginning of time.
Those two kids will put life into perspective. And, although they may be the cause of the excess grey hairs, they also bring more pride, joy and happiness than you ever thought possible. Trust me (I am older and wiser, remember). They will be your greatest achievement ever.
You will be your kids’ everything too
When they are all squishy and brand new, you will be their caregiver, their comforter, their connection to this crazy new world.
As they grow up, you will become more than just a caregiver. You will become their closest friend, their trusted teacher, their constant companion. You will be the one they turn to when angry, sad, scared, frustrated, happy and every other emotion in between.
Even when they realise their friends are cooler than you, you will still be their comfort zone. This never changes, no matter how old they get.
You will always be the most valuable thing in their lives.
Which is why you need to protect yourself.
You are their most valuable asset.
That’s right. You. Many of us put our own self-worth on the back burner when we have kids. It’s time we stop and appreciate just how important we are to our families. Yes, our homes are important. Our cars are important. But nothing is more important to your family, to your kids, than you.
TAL is Australia’s leading life insurance specialist and dedicated to helping us parents protect our most important asset – ourselves. After all, if something does happen to you, what happens to your kids?
You may be their world. But you are also their most valuable asset. And worth protecting. Find out more at TAL.
Yes, pre-baby self, I know you’re rolling your eyes at me once again. I may sound like a boring ol’ bitty with my parenting advice, but trust me. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been on this journey before, after all.