An Open Letter To My Future Self, Post-Baby

Dear Future Self, Post-Baby,

Congrats — you're a mom!

Though I haven't yet felt the joy (and literal pain) of childbirth, I'm writing this as a reminder of what you hoped motherhood would be like when you were a carefree 20-something. Why? Because becoming a mom has always been so important to you — but so has remaining true to who you really are.

I write this to you with babies on the mind, but not even close to the womb. As your twenty-something, non-pregnant self, I want you — who has been through pregnancy and emerged on the other side with child in hand — to remember a few things now that your life has changed.

I hope you still have time to get pedicures every so often. That leg massage is always worth the money, and the polish usually holds up well. Pedicures are your favorite way to treat yourself, and I would guess that with a bundle of joy (or two or three) in your life you need that even more than I do.

I hope that you still read books. Not just children's books about timid giraffes and tigers with hearts of gold, though. Real, adult books about complex humans and their complicated relationships. Books have always helped stoke your creativity and keep your mind clear.

I've heard that women who work out prior to having children bounce back faster to their healthy, pre-baby selves. I'm working on this for you as much as I can. I'm trying not to skip that second repetition of abs exercises. Most important, I am trying to meditate to keep my cool and relieve my stress. Basically, what I'm saying is, I am putting in the work.

Speaking of stress, I hope you still have a healthy way of relieving your frustrations. I know that things can build up, and those negative feelings can boil over when you least expect it, but you need to deal with it in a constructive manner. Yoga is a good way to relax, befitting of a mom. But don't forget about boxing either. Or spinning. Or anything else. There are many good ways for a mom to work out her dormant aggression.

If all goes according to plan, you will be having kids with the same S.O. you're with right now. I know you'll both be putting your kids first once they come into this world, but I hope you still make time for each other. This person is your partner in crime. This S.O. is the one who held your hand at your mom's funeral and helped you through the unimaginable. This person deserves to be first sometimes.

Right now, both of you are spending a good amount of time with your friends. You're trying new foods at the neighborhood restaurants you both love. You're taking archery lessons. You're talking about what your future selves will be like and trying to plan the weddings of your future children.

These are some of the best moments I've had, and I suspect that they still rank up there for you. Please make sure not to lose touch with any of these friends that have become so important to you. I'm sure you're all living in different places, in various stages of life, but these are people you've grown with, and I hope you make every effort to continue to grow with them. It's worth the energy to call or text old friends when they're on your mind.

It's pretty terrifying for me to think about what life will be like with children. But it's also terrifying to think about a future without any kids. I'm going to focus on living my life now so you have no regrets when those kids show up in the world.

Just do me a favor and take some time to live your life, too. That way even “Empty Nester Self” will have no regrets. Go on vacations as a couple. Go to concerts. Make dinner reservations for just you two after 9 pm. Have a standing date night.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that change is good, yes. It's necessary to have some sort of forward motion in life. But I don't want you to change just for the sake of changing. I don't want my life to look completely different in a decade. I want it to look like the older, sophisticated, enhanced version of the life I'm currently living.

I can't wait to meet the children you're taking care of right now. I already love them, somewhere in my heart and head. I know it. But I don't want you to lose sight of who you are after they enter your life.

I want you to find the balance between who you were and who you are as a mother. That'll help them become the best little versions of themselves (even when they don't have a concept of what that means). Those kids deserve a happy mom who sacrificed just the right amount of herself to make it work. I hope you keep that in mind as you age with them.

Through all of this, though, I also want you to remember why you had this family in the first place. While you were growing up, having a family was always important to you. It was one of your main life goals (along with marrying Justin Timberlake). Marrying Justin Timberlake obviously isn't a reality for anyone but Jessica Biel, but family is something you can and did have. That's an amazing goal to accomplish.

Never lose sight of that and never take that for granted.

Sincerely, Pre-Baby Self