1. Your parents will absolutely always be your best friends and safety net.
As I’m sure every teenager does, I thought as soon as I turned 18 I would move out of my parents’ house, go to college, be on my own, and be the best adult ever. My story ended a little differently: I got pregnant at 17. I was a smart kid, I played sports, I had friends, but I also liked attention from boys not in high school and it got me in trouble. My parents and I had always gotten along fairly well, I come from a family that puts a high importance on being a family, even still I never thought my parents would be my best friends as an adult. Every time I have an issue, whether it be my kids being sick, money problems, furnace problems, husband problems, job problems, I tell my parents and ask for advice (and even if I don’t, they give it to me). If as a teenager I had known my parents would be my best friends, I might have been a little nicer to them.
2. It is impossible to be the perfect mother, friend, wife, employee, friend, daughter, and sister all at the same time.
As an adult I always assumed you had time for everything. My parents had friends, I remember them taking us places and doing things when we could, my parents didn’t fight often, they had decent jobs and were good at them, they were close with their family, and they were good parents. Looking back now it looks so easy, they had everything you would think needed to be there for a complete life and there wasn’t much effort right? WRONG. Every time I go two months without breakfast or lunch with a good friend, I feel horrible. Every time I am so tired and stressed out that I mess up at work, I think how could I possibly let home get in the way of my job. Every time my sister calls me and I don’t call back for two days I feel like a horrible sibling, even though I miss her like crazy. Every time I forget to immediately put money into my daughter’s lunch account, I feel like the worst parent on earth. It is not possible to be super woman, super mom… okay I’ve seen it, but they have no social life, or fall short in some other area. Super woman is a great aim but you need to know that total perfection is not possible.
3. Your hair always grows back, live a little.
My hair was pretty much always the same growing up, I never really made any drastic changes, it was always the same length, I usually dyed it one of three main colors, I did ponytails and up-dos for cheerleading, and I never felt your hair was an object of expression until I cut most of it off for the first time after high school. Looking back now, I wish I would have experimented a little more and had a little fun mixing things up. Having fun with your hair as a mom is a little restraining unless you want everyone to look at you really weird. I am one of those conformist moms who wants to make sure I fit into the mom category even though I was probably too young to be a mom when I was so the most dramatic thing I have done with my hair in the last eight years is trying to go blonde… which did not go well. I really would have liked to see one random picture of me trying to put bright blue or pink in my hair just because it looked cool.
4. You are going to mess up.
I have messed up at everything, I have messed up with a credit card, with boyfriends, with being a mom, with the jobs I chose, with school, pretty much every aspect of my life has hit bottom at one time or another. It would have been nice to have been told just once that no matter what I do I will fail at least once. I want to make sure my kids know that failure is not a what if but when, I want them to know that when they fail is the exact time to know what not to do when you try again. I just really want them to know that failing is not the worst thing to ever happen and they are not a lesser person because of it.
5. People are going to tell you “no” and “you can’t.”
Everyone in your life is a critic. Everyone will have that one boss that thinks they are nothing and never going to make anything of themselves, everyone has that friend who always finds the worst in every boy you date, everyone will have that teacher who will talk to you like a kindergartener. You need to know that these people will make YOU a stronger person, and that in the end these are not the people who matter in life.
6. One day Karma will be your best friend.
One day we grow up and finally say, “okay, I’m done, I can no longer plot my revenge for every person who has wronged me, I need to be the bigger person.” When this day comes, Karma will become your best friend, you find the rights in the wrongs that happen to mean and bad people, you will know that what goes around comes around and you don’t need to be mean or bad for those people to get what’s coming for them.
7. Do not spend more time thinking about money then you do spending time with your family.
I know now that yes, money can in fact buy you happiness. Spending $7000 to spend a week at Disney with my kids and family was one of the best investments I have ever made, signing a loan for $85,000 for my kids to grow up in the same house and not have to move around was a happiness I bought for years to come. Knowing all that you still have to learn that when money consumes your mind and life your family will suffer the consequences. If I ask my daughter or my son what the best day of their lives is so far the biggest thing that they remember is that I was there with them. None of my children recite their best day of all time being with a nanny or grandpa or Ben or Mickey Mouse, they remember that they were with me, no matter where it was I was there and that is the most important thing to remember. My daughter and I can have an at home mother daughter spa day and the day will rate just as high as the day we took a picture with Mickey Mouse but only because we are together, those are the days they will remember.
8. Only be the kind of person you want your son/daughter to be.
I want my kids to be good family people, I want them to have dreams, to have a life, to travel, to find love, to do once in a lifetime things, most of all I want them to live and be good people and do whatever makes them happy. I want all that for my kids and more, but I should show them by doing it myself. I want my son to know that his wife needs to be treated appropriately and that you need to be a good father and man. I want my daughter to be fun and exciting but to listen when advice is given and to treat people with the same respect you feel you deserve. I try and tell my children every day how much I love them and what good people they are becoming. I truly believe the only way to lead is by example and I want my children to aspire to be the kind of person I show them I am.
9. You will always be your hardest critic.
Every day, you will wake up and have at least once throughout the day that you say “I’m bad at that”, “I could never do that,” “I’m gaining weight,” or “My test scores aren’t high enough.” You are and always will be your worst critic and it is likely something you at some point will have to overcome. To truly reach any dream you may have, even when everyone else tells you you can not, you have to wake up one day and say “Yes I can.”
10. The things that are the hardest are the most rewarding.
At 26 years old, I have had more hardships then I care to explain, but I can always rationalize that things could always get worse. The experiences I face that are the hardest are always the happiest days when they are overcome. There are times in life, like getting your first loan ever, that after every bank you’ve talked to said it’s impossible and then one single lender says well maybe this could work. When that loan goes through, when you sign the papers that say you own something, that’s the most rewarding of days you will have. Those are the times you look back and say “there was a reason the first ten people said no, it was to make the eleventh person that much more important and rewarding.” Trials and tribulations of life can always be overcome, no matter how small the victory, the harder things are to accomplish makes them that much sweeter when you’re there.