To my pregnant self:
I know it's difficult to believe right now, but you look beautiful. Really. Go stand in front of the mirror and run your hands over that belly-feel that big crazy curve and revel in the fact that you're in the midst of producing a bona-fide miracle inside your own body. I mean, seriously, can you even begin to believe what's going on in there? Never mind the gas, the heartburn, the weird lumbering sort of waddle you've got going on, you look amazing. You look like someone who's about to become someone's mother. You look happy and terrified and fierce. I'm not saying you have to love every minute of this, I'm just saying to stop worrying about the size of your ass, okay? You can take care of that s--- later. In fact, here, have another bowl of ice cream.
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To my mom-of-a-newborn self:
Oh, girl. This part is indescribably beautiful and awful all at the same time, and if you need to take a moment every now and then to suddenly and hysterically burst into giant hiccuping sobs, go for it. It doesn't mean you don't love your baby. It doesn't mean you're not a good mom. You may be sitting there one moment convinced the walls of your heart are about to rupture from all the love you have for your child, and the next you'll feel like this is absolutely the worst mistake you ever made in your life. This is normal. You are doing fine. Hang in there, because I swear on everything it gets better.
To myself during the early toddler years:
He doesn't hate you. He doesn't hate you. He doesn't hate you. I can't say it enough: your son doesn't hate you. Do not for one second think that you somehow f--- ed up your relationship with your child, because it's not you, it's him. He may be adorable and charming at times, but his brain is essentially stuffed with misfiring synapses and emotional hair-triggers and a giant gaping hole where any sense of logic or reason should be. When it gets really bad, stash him safely in his crib, walk briskly to the nearest pillow, and scream every last profanity you can think of into its comforting fabric ear.
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To myself today:
You have never stopped not giving yourself a break, have you? In the back of your mind, you constantly worry that every single parenting choice you've made has been wrong, and that you aren't remotely qualified for this business of raising young people. You secretly fear that your children love their father a million times more than they love you. You crave your children's affection as strongly as you fret that you aren't providing the right kind of discipline. You file away rejections to be revisited over and over, in order to self-pityingly determine the various ways in which you suck.
Here is what I can tell you: I can tell you that your children love you very, very much. You may make mistakes, but you don't let those moments slide; you think about them and you try to do better. You love your children more than you ever thought you could love anything, ever. For all the ways in which you believe you are broken, you have offered a full and open heart to your family. You would do anything for them, and you show them that all the time.
You're doing a great job.
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