Dear 20 Year-Old Me

writing-letterSo, I hear you recently got married and have a mother-in-law from hell. Let’s start with this whole marriage thing.

Marriage is hard as hell. You will have plenty of ups and downs over the years.

Hell, you’ll even have good years and bad years. Remember you have to work at marriage. “Through good times and bad, sickness and in health”, you have to be good to each other.

Sure, your husband will make you want to strangle him and you’ll want to fight back with hurtful words.

Don’t do it.

You’ll regret it later and wish you could take those hurtful words back. Once you let those words hang in the air, you can never take them back. Please keep that in mind.

Support him and be kind to each other.

Also keep in mind that he married you for YOU. He didn’t marry Martha Stewart.

So what if you’re not the domestic goddess you thought you would be when you were younger and idealized your life as an adult.

Don’t be hard on yourself because if you do, you’ll spend years beating yourself up over it. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine and make do with the skills you have and the things you really do enjoy doing.

A happy wife equals a happy husband.

Now for that mother-in-law. The worst mistake you can make is letting her walk all over you. She will beat you down with her words and actions and you just need to put her in her place and nip that in the bud right away.

Don’t let her get under your skin for years and years while you practically kill yourself trying to make her happy.

Guess what? Nothing you do will make her happy. Stand up to her and don’t let her push you around.

Sure, it will be awkward at first when you speak your mind but it’s better than letting this kind of treatment go on for several years. Be strong and don’t let her get you down. She’s not worth the trouble.

Now for motherhood. Get a puppy instead. Kidding!

Motherhood certainly isn’t black and white like you used to think. It’s a tricky little bastard and will keep your head swirling at night when it comes to the choices you make for your children.

“Was that the best decision?” “I didn’t have to say that to my daughter in such a nasty tone.” “I don’t feel like I’m doing this right.”

That and more will weigh you down if you let it. Remember you’re doing the best that you can when it comes to your child. It’s okay if you’re not crafty and can’t do 10,000 projects a week with your child or you get flustered and let them watch television while mommy has a time out. You’re not a bad mom.

Repeat after me, “I’m a great mother and do the best I can for my children.” Repeat 10 more times. Sometimes you might not be doing the best you can and that’s okay to. You, my dear, are only human.

Don’t worry if you pretend not to notice that sign up sheet to make baked goods for their entire preschool. Or you look like the Bride of Frankenstein when you drop them off at school while the other moms don’t have a hair out-of-place.

Last thing.

Love yourself. You will spend too many years trying to be someone you’re not just to try to fit in. Be yourself and be proud of who you are no matter how strange, quirky, and out-of-place you may feel.

If others don’t like it, tell them they can suck it.

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11 Responses to Dear 20 Year-Old Me

  1. thedavidcmurphy April 3, 2013 at 11:01 #

    Wow, the stuff I would warn my 20 year old self… I’d actually probably punch him for all the idiot stuff he was going to do (I’ve forgiven 34 year old me — neat eh?)

    Then again, if I’d lived my life with any sense, I wouldn’t have met my wife, or had my awesome kids. Weird how life meanders!
    thedavidcmurphy recently posted..Clowning AroundMy Profile

    • Elle April 3, 2013 at 15:55 #

      I was at my wildest (and I mean fucking “OMG, How in the hell did I survive my stupidity?!” WILD) between the ages of 12-17 so if I ever wrote a letter to myself for that age, I’m sure I would’ve punch myself in the face too. Heh. 😉

  2. monica April 3, 2013 at 17:41 #

    once you hit 40(ish) your memory of your 20 year old self becomes less and less clear! ah! the great things about growing old! 😉
    monica recently posted..Top 10 Ways I Am Nicer Than A SubstituteMy Profile

  3. Delia Fairchild April 3, 2013 at 22:44 #

    Amen! Love this. And yes, MILs never change. I have decided to boycott thank you cards because it kills her.

  4. Nicole April 3, 2013 at 22:55 #

    23 year old me was consumed with resentment of my Mother-in-Law. She saw me as this horrible monster who took away her “baby”. She was so consumed with hatred of both me and my husband’s father that she refused to come to the wedding, or even come inside the hospital when our son was born. I sunk to her level quite a few times and relished in sharing stories with my friends about how much of a horrible person she was.

    A few months ago I got a random call from a friend; dear MIL was acting rather out of sorts and they had no idea who to call. Her son, who was 3,000km away at the time, was left to organise an ambulance because there was just no-one else who was ready or willing to help her – even the two daughters who live with her were nowhere to be seen.

    She’s just been diagnosed with cancer.

    If I could tell 23 year old me one thing, it would be to have some compassion. This woman is going to die with only her children and no-one else because her bitterness pushed everyone else away. I never want my son to have the negative feelings towards me that my husband has towards his mother.

    Thank you for such a thought provoking post.
    Nicole recently posted..Making Friends As A ‘Geek’My Profile

    • Elle April 4, 2013 at 22:22 #

      I admit that despite how harsh my mother-in-law is towards me, I’ve really surprised myself by how much I support my daughter’s relationship with this woman who gives me zero respect.

      I definitely don’t want my feelings for MIL to be so obvious to my daughter. 🙂

  5. Trisha April 4, 2013 at 09:40 #

    Wondeful post – especially the advice about motherhood. We would all be better mothers for remebering that we can only do our best and that perfection is a myth!
    Trisha recently posted..my wishMy Profile

    • Elle April 4, 2013 at 22:25 #

      Right on, Trisha! xx

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