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Andrea Traynor

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A Letter to My Childless Self

Posted: 04/18/2013 12:18 pm

Dear Andrea, circa 2007:

You decided to wait until your 30s to have children. Good for you! Your 20s were well-travelled and you sowed your oats. But be forewarned -- those kids you nannied when you were 24 are going to get more energy than your own children ever will.

You're also going to be just a little more tired than those in your Mommy Group who are five or 10 years younger. Don't worry, you'll live. You just need to go to bed earlier than you ever have in your life.

Save your pennies. Babies are expensive. They're also crazy, but that's another story.

Never say never. You don't understand it yet, but one day you will be "that mom." The one who lets her kids watch TV for hours so she can get the house ready for a party. The one who gives up on wiping a snotty nose while out in public. The one who lets her kid have a tantrum on the grocery store floor. The one who sometimes gets excited to go to work because it feels like a vacation. The one who will accidentally wipe her baby's bottom with Lysol wipes. The one who will forget to buckle-up the car seat until your child screams as you start backing the car out of the driveway. You will do all of these "nevers" and more.

I suggest you stop scoffing at parents here, there and everywhere because you have no idea what it's like. Yet.

You'll think baby No. 1 is a lot of work. Hold on to your horses, lady -- when No. 2 comes along you're going to throw every math equation you ever learned out the window. Two babies is more than double the work. (And you wanted to have them 18 months apart; thank goodness that won't happen.)

You will be amazed at how much you'll be able to carry to your car in one trip -- by yourself.

Puke is still going to make you gag. Just because it's your own kid, it's not going to make the experience any more tolerable. Sorry. Those moms who told you that are either lying or have iron-laced stomachs.

You may never need an alarm clock again.

You're going to become a worry wart, worrying about the mundane, morbid and irrational. You'll worry if your four-year-old will ever stop wetting the bed (of course he will); you'll worry if your kid will one day be paralyzed from a sporting accident. You'll worry that you're worrying too much.

You really won't mind leaving city life behind. I know this is hard to imagine, but amazing boutiques, great restaurants and trendy nightclubs won't be all that important a year from now. Places where you can buy diapers or fill a prescription after midnight are the ticket, baby.

You think you know what love is; just wait. The love that will bubble up in your heart for your children will be overwhelming. You'll cry when they get their first haircuts, when they go off to preschool and when they learn to do up zippers. And when they first say "I love you"? Forgetaboutit. Sometimes you'll watch them reading books or colouring and get misty-eyed because you didn't know how you created such perfect beings and that this kind of love existed.

I know you enjoy doing laundry now. I laugh at you. You have no clue what's coming.

Your new life is about to begin, and it will be filled with more laughter, tears and sleep deprivation than you thought possible in one lifetime. It's a worthy journey.

Remember to take photos, but not so many that you miss out on the moments themselves.

And don't blink! Time moves far too quickly.

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