15 Things I Would Tell My 20-Year-Old, Childless Self

Appreciate food that is hot. Or isn’t off of someone else’s plate.
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chelsey tobiason

1. Appreciate your body.

You think you’ve got it rough now? Ha. Just imagine your body 10 years from now. It will be stretched and pulled in directions you didn’t know existed. You may not have a six-pack now, but the cans you have are full. Your babies will pour your metaphorical stomach beer onto the ground and crush the containers. Over time, with some work, your belly can start to be pulled back into form ― giving it the rough impression of a bowl full of jelly.

2. Enjoy drinking alcohol with no guilt.

Because through the many bouts of trying to get pregnant, pregnancy and breastfeeding, you won’t have that freedom again. You’ll feel guilt over a sip when you’re growing your babies, and over a glass when you’re feeding them. Later you’ll feel guilty that you’re partying while your children are sleeping. (OK, not really. You probably won’t feel much guilt during this stage. Only delight.)

3. Relish in being alone.

Like, really. Scream at the top of your lungs and dance naked while you can. Look to your left and look to your right; notice there is no one there. Check your lap for occupants and also your legs (kids cling to any part of your body that they can reach). Right now, you are free.

4. Take care of yourself.

Pretty soon you’ll be at the bottom of the list. Get a pedicure. Splurge on a massage. Read a book. Do whatever makes YOU happy.

5. Appreciate food that is hot.

Or isn’t off of someone else’s plate. Take your time and feel the warmth of the food and the pleasure of having a fork to yourself. Eat with abandonment.

6. Cuddle with your partner.

Soon enough you’ll be caught up in the whirlwind of little bodies clinging to you like leeches. And even when said leeches are asleep, you’ll be so tired that you’ll plop down on the couch in an exhaustion-inspired haze. You may not even remember you have a partner.

7. Binge watch TV when you’re sick.

Take the day off and spoil yourself in marathons of any show with adult content. This is a brief window during your adult life where you are actually allowed to be sick. Once your kids come, you will throw up into trash cans whilst changing a diaper. You will blow your nose on a dirty onesie, right before throwing a load in the washer. You may even experience diarrhea with an audience of children, who will gather around your throne asking you for things. They will make fun of the sounds you are making and tell you that you smell.

8. Treat yourself to profanity.

Turn your voice up to an 11 and yell, “Motherfucker!” when someone cuts you off in traffic. Call people “shit stains” and “ass faces”‘ out loud. Make up a little diddy in the shower that combines every curse word you can think of, and be creative.

9. Take lots of baths.

With extra bubbles. Because you can.

10. Get hangovers.

The older you get, the worse your hangovers are. This, combined with children that rise with the sun and demand breakfast in shrill, screaming tones, will make the post-baby hangover a unique form of torture.

11. Sleep.

For the love of all that is holy, sleep, you young beast. SLEEP. No matter what anyone tells you, sleep is fucking precious and you must take advantage at every possible moment. Sleep late. Take naps. Go to bed at 5 pm if you can. Sleep during lunch breaks and after a meal. Sleep before sex. Sleep after.

12. Talk on the phone.

Limited are the days when you will have the ability to do so. Don’t text. Your future holds many conversations which are broken up by poopy diapers and tantrums. Sometimes, halfway through a chat, you may stop to yell at your children and forget to pick the phone back up again. (Hopefully the person on the other end has the decency to hang up. Otherwise they’ll be privy to the reckless farting, burping, bellowing and grunting that a mother does in the privacy of her own home.)

13. Dress up.

You have time to pick an outfit based on how you feel in it. Down the line you’ll be choosing your outfit on a number of factors: can you pull the neck down low enough to nurse in? Will it withstand a breast milk leak? Can it hide post-pregnancy belly fat? Can it be paired with mom jeans or yoga pants? Is it clean (enough)?

14. Travel.

Before kids you have more freedom and more money. TAKE ADVANTAGE. You don’t have to worry about baby vaccinations or the price of plane tickets for five. You can go places and sleep on the floor. Hostels are an option, as are dirty motels. You’re young—you don’t give a shit. But pretty soon you’ll care about the cleanliness of the sheets and the ratings of the dwelling. You’ll know far too much about bedbugs.

15. Acknowledge the cleanliness of everything you own.

Your car, your kitchen, your living room. Walk around and shuffle your feet. See how there are no Barbies? No Hot Wheels? That should make you feel alive! You haven’t yet experienced the feeling of stepping on a Lego—I’m fairly certain it is worse than being bitten by a rabid raccoon. Ever tripped on the leg of a bouncy chair in the middle of the night trying to make it to the bathroom? And had to explain how you get a black eye from doing so? Count your lucky stars, you naïve, dumb little bastard. For wicked things, this way come.

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