Dear pretty lady,
Yes, you are pretty. Stop trying to suck in that stomach and obsessing about your weight. You look gorgeous, and you’ll never have that belly button again. One day your stomach will sag with the weight of pregnancies past and your navel will be weirdly distorted. Stretch marks will spider your thighs and breasts. This sounds horrifying, but you will have gotten them producing some of the people you love most on earth, so you won’t mind. But until then, enjoy your flat stomach and perky boobs. At least, don’t revel in their imperfections.
You like to go out. You go to restaurants and bars. You go to street festivals. Enjoy that while you can. You can haul a tiny baby with you, but once that baby reaches toddler age, he can’t be depended upon to sleep through a decent meal. He’ll be shouting and throwing spoons and you’ll wonder how you could have been so stupid to both procreate and take the fruit of that procreation to Olive Garden. Relax. All toddlers do things like that. But at that point, your dates will be mostly limited to when you can find and pay a babysitter. This will be seldom. So go out now. Enjoy being out. Do not take a restaurant trip for granted, a restaurant trip that doesn’t involve drawing dinosaurs on placemats. You’ll learn to draw a decent dinosaur. Don’t worry about that.
Your feelings on your mother currently hover somewhere around neutral love. Enjoy that right now. Go to lunch with her, relax with her, call her on a regular basis. When you have a baby, your feelings for her will swing wildly from total contempt to worshipful adoration. All parenting advice she gives you will be wrong. She will insist on giving it. This will infuriate you. Then, you’ll see her with the baby, and you’ll realize the bond between grandmother and grandchild, and you’ll melt. The work you do for the baby, and the love you feel for it, will get you all mushy inside, too. So enjoy a non-fraught mom-relationship while you can.
Enjoy your pre-baby husband and your time together. Go to lots of movies — that’s going to get really tough when you have a baby. Watch gory, scary movies with him now, before every fake murder victim wears the face of your child. Do some mini-golf; go hiking for longer than two miles (about as much as a toddler can handle). Even that two-mile hike will take three hours in the near future. Sit in a hot tub with him and no one else as often as possible.
Travel. It’s hard to travel with children, especially when they’re small and tend to cry when their ears pop. Go overseas. See Rome, see Hong Kong, see Paris and London and the moors of Yorkshire. Even if you can’t afford a trip abroad, you can do some road trips through the country. See Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and the Smithsonian. Even if you do it on a shoestring, you’ll have a blast. You’ll never be so free to pick up and leave again. Take advantage of it.
Sleep late. Sleep gloriously, ridiculously late, like noon or even 2 PM. Go to bed in a delightful knowledge that you will sleep all night and wake up when you want to wake up, not when someone else thinks you should. You will not wake up. You will stay in your bed all night. Enjoy this. Do not take it for granted. This is important. One day a small person will rule all your nights, and they will enjoy partying at 3 AM. Now you need to cultivate sleep. Curate your sleep, with masks and fluffy pillows and just the right mattress pad. Nap amongst piles of pillows.
Read a novel. It’s hard to find time when you’re a mom. Not for any particular reason. It’s just one of the general parts of being a mom.
You’ll have time for these things again in a different season of your life. But that will be when your kids are grown, and you’ll learn quickly not to wish away any precious second. Right now, enjoy the things you can do. The baby won’t take away the life you have; it’ll add to it. But you won’t be able to enjoy certain things on demand, like a hot bath or music with the F-word. Indulge now. For me.
Your post-mom selfMore On