Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some Notes to My Younger, Childless Self

Almost daily, I think of something I wish I'd known before I had kids. If I could go back, I'd tell my young adult, newly-married, smarty-pants self a thing or two.

1. Don't buy the cream-colored kitchen table and chairs. Yes, you love it. Yes, it's a good brand and should last forever. Yes, it's a good sale. However, in about 8 years you will have 3 children who will schmeck up that table unmercifully, 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. Cream shows EVERYTHING. You will spend the better part of your 30's (already your wiping decade) wiping down every considerable nook and cranny of that light-colored furniture...over and over and over. Buy BLACK.

2. Regarding the above...yes, your little darlings occasionally might be less than neat eaters.

3. When you go to buy a minivan (and no matter what you say now, you will buy a minivan), get the built-in DVD system. I know that now you think you would never stoop to letting your children (gasp!) watch movies on a car trip. I know that you and all of your generation survived hours upon hours in the family station wagon singing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and playing the ever-popular "Mom, He's Touching Me!...Mom, He's Not Touching Me!" and taking bets on how long it would be before Abby threw up in the way back, and what was good enough for you should be good enough for your kids. Give up your pride now. Your kids will watch movies in the car, and you will all be the happier for it. There was a reason Mom's eye used to twitch uncontrollably for a week after every family vacation.

4. You will not be able to recognize your father after you present him with grandchildren. Who is this man who will let children walk on his coffee table and think it's funny? Who goes out and buys giant stuffed animals? Who calls for no reason other than to talk to a week-old baby? Who, with the help of your mother, feeds a 3-year-old ice cream for breakfast?

5. Buy the leather sofa now. Just trust me. Cloth upholstery and children don't mix.

6. I would tell you to take as many naps as you can and sleep in as often as possible before children come, but you're actually doing a really great job of that now. Way to go, Self!

7. The "golden ecru" color you have chosen to paint the majority of your new house is beautiful. It will be light and airy and soothing...until little handprints, dirt smears, and the tracks of Hot Wheels cars cover every square inch of it from 3 feet down. And you will have no inclination to try to re-paint while the children are sleeping as you will be trying to sneak a nap or read a book at every possible opportunity. Save yourself some trouble. Paint your walls black now. If you can't bring yourself to do that, at least go with a deep, deep purple.

8. I know your feelings about clothing featuring licensed characters. I still agree with you. But one day you will have two little boys who are wild about Batman, Spider Man, Scooby Doo, and Star Wars. I mean, these kids will totally be a marketer's dream come true. And one day, in a fit of weakness and faced with a really, really, really great sale (I mean, they're practically giving them away!), you will buy your sons Scooby Doo pajamas. And in the face of their utter joy over these tacky, tacky pajamas (at least they'll be 100% cotton), your heart will so delight in their delight that you will begin buying, on a regular basis, pajamas with licensed characters. And you will actually get a little choked up whenever you buy them, anticipating your boys' excitement.

So, Self, take note. Life as you know it will soon look quite different. Thank goodness.


  1. Great post Alison! If only we could go back in time and give ourselves a lesson on what our lives would be like.

  2. Hilarious! I especially love #6 and # 8!

  3. #8 is also my favorite! I always thought "character" clothing was tacky, until my sweet little girl fell in love with Elmo. :-)

  4. Oh, I remember those tacky pj's too! My kids hate them now though so things will change.

    That post really made me laugh! Alison, if you ever come over to my house, you will notice that all my furniture is the "distressed" style, on purpose! LOL They till nick things up... but now with nail polish remover, knives, etc. etc.