18 Bits of Wisdom for My Pre-Mom Self

18 Bits of Wisdom for My Pre-Mom Self

One mom’s funny and poignant list of what she would tell her pre-mom self.


By: Heather Chaet

I’m on the subway. I’m frantically searching for my phone in the dark cavern that is my purse. Hidden among seven small plastic cats, five markers (four without caps), and a half-eaten piece of string cheese of indeterminate age, I finally find it.

That is when I spy her sitting across from me. She’s wearing a camel-colored coat similar to the one I had when I was single. Her hair is in a chic ponytail. On her ears? Dangly hoop earrings. She’s doing The New York Times crossword puzzle in pen. Her eyes are bright and rested.

She is me. Before I was a mom.

I watch as she gets exits the train, tossing her tote bag, which surely does not house moldy snacks and toy animals, over her shoulder. She disappears into the crowd. I still have a while left in my ride, so I fiddle with my phone and see that the little battery icon is empty except for that sliver of red. So much for playing a game on the way home. I think of my pre-mom self again and think of all the things I would tell her…

1. Travel. Toss a dart at the map and go. Do it. Now.

2. Waste time. Cherish those hours when you do absolutely nothing.

3. Don’t waste time. Read all of the books on your nightstand. Volunteer. Take a cooking class. Do all those things you think you will always have time for later.

4. Only buy one pair (instead of five) of those $150 shoes you just know you will wear forever. Trust me -- in the not-too-distant future, your feet will change and you will never be able to wear them again without getting blisters the size of a kumquat on your big toe.

5. Put the money in a savings account -- instead of spending it on those shoes.

6. Become an origami ninja.

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7. Hold the door when you see a mom juggling grocery bags and trying to open a door, while also holding her crying toddler’s hand and wielding a stroller. Because … karma.

8. You don’t have to be perfect. Period.

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9. Call your mom. Call her more than you think you should. Because … karma.

10. Discover what makes you feel better when you’ve had a rough day. Eating chilled-in-the-fridge candy bars and climbing into bed with freshly laundered sheets comes to mind.

11. Watch TV in real time while you can. Because soon you’ll believe the DVR is the best invention ever and reality TV spoilers are the devil.

12. Practice your English accent. You will be surprised how often this will come in handy.

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13. Know you don’t have a clue what you are talking about when you see a mom in a restaurant trying to have a somewhat-civilized meal with her family, yet her kids are, ahem, not quite cooperating and you say to yourself, “When I have kids, I’ll do it differently.”

14. Tell a new mom she’s never looked better when she asks how she looks. Don’t you dare point out her tired eyes or the stain on her shirt. Because … karma.

15. Understand that some things never change, and that’s not a bad thing. You will never find the perfect jeans (but you’ll find some for your daughter), you will never learn to whistle (but you’ll love how your daughter giggles when you try), and you will always dance every time you hear music (and your daughter will too).

16. Learn to draw a rockin’ Tyrannosaurus rex or at least doodle a semi-decent cow.

17. Make friends with your inner voice. Give her a name (like Roxie). Buy her lunch, let her sing when she wants to, and chat with her often. Treat her well, as she will prove to be your most trusted adviser.

18. Know that it’s going to be OK when you haven’t showered in days, the house is turned upside down, and you forget to pack your kid’s lunch for the second time in a week. Your child doesn’t need anything more than you, being there, being present. You are enough.

What would you tell your pre-mom self?



Heather Chaet documents her mini parenting successes, epic mommy fails, and everything in between for a plethora (love that word!) of publications and websites such as CafeMom, New York Family, and AdWeek. While her online persona is found at heatherchaet.com, Heather lives in New York City with her film director husband and one insanely curious, cat-obsessed daughter.

Image ©iStock.com/vasiliki

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