Dear Much Older, Much Wiser Me:
If the advice I am often given and the articles I am reading are correct, then you are looking back on our life and wishing you would have done at least a few things differently. You are wishing you would have let more things go. You would have let the floors hold just a little more dirt while you sat right in the middle playing cars with your kids. You would have chosen not to take that extra job so instead of being in front of the computer, you could instead be reading a book to your sidekicks. You would have done with a little less stuff and instead spent a little more time. You would have yelled less and hugged more. After-all, the time went so quickly, you would have embraced every moment. You are probably looking at your life wondering if you could have done better. Wondering if you failed. Wondering why you didn’t try harder.
Just in case that’s you, I want to tell you just a few things.
You feel the same way now. At the end of every day you reflect and wish you would have done more. You wish you would have spent more time with the kids. You are worried you are doing it all wrong and that you are screwing it all up. You worry that every time you yell, you are doing damaging harm. You worry that every time you shoo your sidekicks away as you take an important call that you are wasting precious moments. Especially on those days when you had one thing after another and didn’t get even a smidgen of a chance to really focus and play, those days you really feel it. Then you worry that maybe you are focusing too much on your kids and not enough on your husband who you also love very much and who is working just as hard as you, and then wait, are you enabling your children too much?
You don’t get enough sleep. You have so much to do. Especially in December when you are trying so hard to get things right. For no other reason than that you want to see your sidekicks smile. It’s fun, but it’s exhausting. I think as you are looking back you are forgetting just how tired you are. That down time, the alone time you feel you have too much of now, you didn’t have enough then. I promise.
I just finished folding laundry and cleaning the house today. I know you think maybe I should let it go a little more and spend a little more time, but I worry about the little buggers that are ours. They can’t live in filth. What about the lesson about appreciating the things we work for? I’m teaching them that, so hopefully you don’t have to bail them out in the future because they never learned.
I make sure they eat healthy, most of the time, and worry about me to. Not because I really worry about me, but because I am worried about you. I hope you are healthy and happy. I hope instead of wishing you would have spent more time just living it up, you feel gratitude that at least a small focus was on health and wellness.
I know you are thinking that you wish you would have worked a little less, you did want to be home with the kids right? But here’s the thing. I worry about you too. I don’t want you to have all the stress of catch up. You are sitting there (I hope) not in a financial pinch, but instead living comfortably. I did that for you, while raising our kids and keeping the home. Of course not alone, our husband did that too, but we tried to do our part. Remember that next time you wish you would have done it differently.
Our kids laugh, you laugh. You love being a mom more than anything. They are incredible souls that are so amazing. Life is really, really great. You are happy and enjoying it, right now in the moment. You are embracing it and feeling joy and pride at what you are accomplishing every day. You despise the articles that make you feel guilty and then hold them close to your heart just trying to embrace them too. It’s a very awkward (but totally fun and thrilling) dance.
But sometimes you still yell, but only after speaking at least twice. It’s trying after-all. The kids leave messes. They throw things. They spill juice. They break things. They fight with each other. They go out the doggie-door. They throw eggs. They pull your hair. They ask you the same damn question 62 times in a row. They dump crackers on the bed. They color on the walls. They hate sleeping. They cry and throw fits. They puke and they poop. They wake you up at night just because they can. They push your buttons. All on purpose. All at the same time. They act differently for Grandma. Oh, and you’re tired, frustrated, and wishing you were doing better. So you yell and immediately feel bad. Then you dance in the kitchen with your sidekicks, play chase, and eat popcorn (and drink wine) because it’s fun and they (you) deserve it.
Trust me when I say, what you are feeling, so am I. I am doing the very best I can to be a woman who will make you proud. I don’t want you to look back and wish I would have done better. But just in case you are, here’s a little note to assure you that I wish I could do better too, but I am honestly, completely doing the very best that I can every day. I love our sidekicks and our husband too. FYI…I also love you.
From a younger, only a little wise,