Before you have a kid, all you hear about parenthood is that you’re going to get zero sleep, you’re going to want to kill your partner, and showers will be far and few between. But you still might take all of your Zs, your drama-free relationship, and a coconut body wash-scented body for granted. Don’t. Here, 11 moms share the advice they’d share if they could go back in time and talk to themselves BB (before babies).
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1. Sleep and have sex.
“Neither will be the same afterwards. You’ll still get both, but no sleeping in until noon just cause or whole afternoons spent lounging around and having sex in every room of the house.” —Morgan B., 29
2. Go places.
“Travel as much as you can and don’t let little travel hiccups—like delayed flights, or traffic—bug you. ‘Vacations’ with small children are not really vacations and the actual act of traveling—getting from point A to B—is tiring, stressful and a pain in the ass with kids. I swear, when I go on business trips now, and get to breeze through security sans stroller, car seat, and diaper bag I want to laugh out loud with happiness.” —Sarah S., 37
3. Don’t say “I do.”
“Don’t fucking get married.” —Mary H., 39
4. Learn how to prioritize yourself—and your partner.
“I don’t think all of us are gifted at putting yourself first. I had a tendency to put my job first or my ex or family or a bunch of other people in my life. And after baby, it is really difficult to make time for yourself and for your partner.” —Lauren H., 35
5. Enjoy your boobs.
“Photograph them naked. You will forget what they looked like.” —Jenny E., 34
6. Live it up.
“Go out and spend time with friends as much as possible. Enjoy the freedom you have!” —Amy A., 31
7. Have those tough, but important conversations with your partner.
“Pre-marriage conversations can be more like, ‘How did your mom raise you?’ and ‘What would you do differently?’ Questions like that help you get in the same general book. Then, you can work on getting to the same page—sleep training, and do we believe in timeouts, and will you promise me that you won’t go behind my back to let him do something that I already told him he won’t—later.” —Aruna R.
8. Enjoy your work.
“For me, being a professional is so much easier than staying home. I’m fortunate that I spend the time with my son, but it’s different. The petty stuff at work you fret over before kids is so pointless in terms of the big picture. Also, relish the ‘you’ time.” —Kristin T., 32
9. Be patient with yourself.
“Everything you desire is coming to you has it’s perfect time. It’s all gonna be OK. You’re stronger than you know.” —Megan L., 30
10. Be selfish.
“Whatever the means for you. Once you have kids, they come first.” —Elizabeth P., 37
11. Find a workout that works for you.
“Get in a good fitness routine, because once you have kids it is infinitely harder to make it a priority. Much easier if it’s already something that has become a built-in rhythm for your life.” —Lauren H.