Isn’t it funny how you learn things along the way? And once you’ve learned them, you can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for all those
I’ve been thinking about this lately for a few different reasons and I’ve come up with my own semi-original list of little insights into life. Some are meant to be funny. Some are serious. And some are so true they’re frightening. (Are you worried yet?) : )
Disclaimer: these will not be true for everyone. These are just some of the things I’ve learned as I’ve
- Never ask your husband ANY questions about your weight. It’s a lose-lose situation for both of you. Anything he says will be used against him (Miranda rights don’t hold any water in marriage), and you will end up feeling bad about yourself even if he tells you he thinks you look great.
- Women, if you want to complain about something you have two choices. You can either call your best friend/sister/whoever and gripe to them or you can give your husband/boyfriend/fiancée/male counterpart strict instructions not to try to solve anything before you say a single word. Those instructions are very important; they will save you from feeling defensive when you think he acts like your problem is simple and easily fixed. And it will save him from being completely confused when you get upset at him for giving what he thinks is sound advice.
- When you have babies you will really never sleep again. I know that most people have probably heard this and thought it’s just a horror story that parents tell, but it’s actually true. Let me tell you why: even if your kids are sleeping you can hear them. Even if you are sleeping, you can hear them moving around or stirring or whining in their sleep. And if by some miracle you are sleeping so soundly you could swear you’re once again single and childless, that’s when they’ll lower the boom. “Mommy, I wet the bed. Mommy, I threw up. Mommy, I wet the bed and threw up and plugged the toilet and there’s water all over the floor and I think something’s on fire.” Don’t say you haven’t been warned. : )
- Just because something comes easily to you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work for it. Trust me on this one. I floated through high school and most of college and then when I did need to study, I had absolutely no idea how to go about it. This idea also holds true when you have some natural gift for something. You have to work hard and dedicate yourself to improvement in order to achieve mastery of any subject. For example, no one can sit on a sofa in their pajamas drinking Mountain Dew and consuming massive quantities of chocolate quite like I can. It’s taken years, but I’ve truly mastered it. Dedication people!
- Make a decision early in your relationship about how you and your husband are going to fight. I know this sounds stupid and/or pessimistic, but the truth is that you ARE going to fight. And if there are no ground rules, you’ll fight dirty. When we first got married, Landon and I decided we weren’t going to yell at each other. In my experience yelling is the first step toward losing control and I simply wasn’t going to be in a marriage where one of us was losing our cool all the time. We also resolved not to call each other names. If we do call each other a name, it is as a joke. : )
- Money sucks. You’re always either trying to get more, trying to save more, wanting to spend more, or trying to figure out where all of yours went. Don’t let it control your happiness or your mood. I’ve definitely had my stressed-out times when I’ve been trying to figure out why, with the two of us working a total of three jobs, we were having trouble making ends meet. The answer always comes back to us. I like these sayings:
“It's not your salary that makes you rich, it's your spending habits.”
-Charles A. Jaffe
“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.”
- If you figure out how to be happy with your weight, please let me know. I thought I was fat in high school at 120 pounds and now I’m looking back and trying to figure out when I ate part of that 120-pound girl. It’s too bad, really. She was kind of cute : )
- There will be moments in your time as a mother that you will look at your child in some ridiculous state (covered in poop/vomit, screaming at the top of her lungs, whining like there’s no tomorrow, or trying to kill her younger siblings) and think, “How on earth did I get here?” Don’t worry. You’re not a bad mom and it will pass. I’m not saying it ever gets easy, but those moments are very temporary and the important thing to remember is that you are their Mommy. They are your gift from God and He trusts YOU to take care of them and do the right thing. Whether or not you feel like you can, you can. Also, if anyone without kids ever even looks at you judgmentally, you have my permission you slap them. They’ll understand soon enough, but they need that look wiped off their faces right now so help me God. : )
- Don’t treat anyone like they’re stupid. Waitresses, Wal-Mart cashiers, those teenagers that apparently have no idea how silly they look. No one. No one deserves that. On a side note: many people seem to believe they can treat their family worse than they can perfect strangers, presumably because ‘blood is thicker than water.’ (I totally don’t get that saying, by the way.) The truth is rudeness is rudeness no matter who you’re talking to. Don’t treat your family like they just have to stick around and take everything you dish out. They don’t deserve it any more than a random stranger does.
- Finally, the one that I’ve learned that I kind of wish I hadn’t. I have regrets. I regret quitting cross country in middle school. I regret not learning how to handle my money wisely when I got my first real job at age 14. I regret not traveling more before getting married. None of that is to say that my life right now would be any different except that I might have maintained a MUCH better fitness regime throughout my life, kept better track of my finances, and seen a little bit more of the world. Regrets (I think) are just a part of life. And unless you live your life doing everything you want to, you will have regrets. Scratch that. I think that everyone will have regrets at some time in their life. They don’t have to define you or depress you. Let your regrets change the way you make your choices in the future so that you can reduce—if not eliminate—your ‘should-woulda-couldas’ in the future.
I leave you with Tina Fey’s “Prayer For My Daughter.” I love it and it sums up so much of what having a daughter is like. : )
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her – When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need not lie with drummers.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers and the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.