Dear Future Moms,
I want to make some promises to you—promises I don’t want to break just because my kids will be grown and gone when you are in the trenches and I have forgotten how hard motherhood can be. I don’t want to make you feel like a dipshit, and for fuck’s sake, I don’t want to come off like I know more than you do about your own child just because I have a few of my own. I don’t care if you are my daughter, my daughter in-law, my cousin’s son’s daughter, or that sweet cashier at Target, who never asks me why I always buy cheap chocolate, organic spinach and lots of vaseline. There are certain things I will never do just because the really tough years are behind me and you are smack dab in the middle of them.
1. I will not say, “Been there done that.”
People I know have said this to me; people I don’t know have said this to me. This is the most unhelpful thing I have ever fucking heard, especially that time all three of my kids were crying in the craft store, and a stranger felt the need to tell me she had “been there, done that.”
For some reason, that did not stop their epic tantrums. It did however make me want to stuff glitter and pompoms down her throat. I did manage a “sorry, can’t hear you—my kids are crying,” but man, I wanted to finish it with a “so shut your face.” But that would have been rude, not as rude as “been there, done that,” but close.
2. I will not give you unwanted advice.
I will not bring “helpful” articles over to your house, email them to you, or get you a subscription to a parenting magazine unless these things are on your Christmas list. You will not see me show up with handfuls of books on getting your baby to sleep, even if you tell me you are so sleep-deprived you accidentally pissed in the sink last night. That is not asking for advice—that is simply telling me how tired you are. Besides, if you are so tired that you are pissing in the sink, I am sure you have already read all the sleeping books.
3. I will not try to top your stories.
If you are having a bad day and are venting to me about how your child came home with lice and you are flipping out, I will not tell you about the time all of my kids had lice, then my daughter threw up in my mouth, and I ended up with lice and the stomach flu, while my dog crapped in the neighbors’ yard and they were really pissed. There will be times someone has more to deal with than you, but hearing about it does not make you feel better about your situation. It will however make you feel like kicking them in the vagina.
4. I will not tell you that your child is not wearing shoes…
…or clothes, or socks. I will not tell you they are hungry, tired or overwhelmed. They are your children, and I am sure you already know these things. I will think that you are doing the best you can and you need to be where you are, or you are desperately trying to get home.
However, if your child has his hands in his diaper and pulls out a fistful of shit, I will probably mention it and offer help, because I have “been there and done that.”
5. I will not tell you to cherish every moment.
The time when your 2-year-old mistakes your shoulder for a side of beef and bites you during an intense conversation with your pediatrician will not be a moment that will make the baby book. The time when your son throws a can of green beans in the grocery store because you are forcing him to stay in the cart won’t be a keeper either. The exhausting playdates that didn’t go as planned, potty training, teething and getting up 15 times a night, well, just flush those moments down the shitter. You won’t love those, and I won’t make you feel guilty for not loving them.
These are my solemn promises to you—all of you.
Best of luck,
The woman who did not cherish every moment, hated unwanted advice, and almost kicked someone in the vagina once.