Dear Not-Yet-a-Mommy Me,
You need to know a few things. First of all, having kids is going to be hard. Really, really hard. You are going to be tired. Scratch that. You are going to be exhausted. Plan on nine consecutive months of never once completing a full sleep cycle. Seriously.
The author before kids
I need to warn you that there will be moments when you don't particularly like being a mom. They will happen at 4 a.m. when your daughter just won't sleep. They will happen at breakfast when your son throws a tantrum because you got him cereal... after he asked you to get him some cereal. But don't worry; those moments won't last forever. Your son will tell you you're the best mommy in the whole world. Your daughter will laugh this amazing laugh where her eyes scrunch closed and her nose wrinkles up and you can see her two perfect little teeth (you are absolutely going to love that laugh.) And those little moments will be just the boost you need to get you through the rest of the day.
There will be days that you wish you could run away from home. Go ahead and cry to your mom and your friends. You will quickly find out that they've all had days like that, and they don't think you're a bad mom for feeling that way. They will make you laugh and tell you that it gets better, and they'll be right.
You are going to learn a lot of things about yourself when you become a mom, and a lot of them are things you don't want to know. You are much less patient than you think you are, and a lot more selfish. You know how you're kind of a mess when you get panicked? That gets much worse when you become a mom, so you'll need to work on that. (When you are in Home Depot during a tornado warning and the employees rush everyone to the back of the store, do not stop pushing the stroller and try desperately to get your baby out of it. Let Dan calmly push the stroller to the employee break room, and then you can hold your son. You'll all be fine. I promise.)
There's one thing I can't prepare you for, and that's how very much you're going to love your children. You'll get your first small glimpse of that when you're pregnant and substitute teaching a gym class and you get hit in the face with a basketball. And your first thought, before "Is my nose broken?" and even, "Wow, that hurts!" will be, "Thank God it didn't hit my stomach!" It won't be until hours later that it will suddenly occur to you how strange it was that the first thing you felt when a basketball hit you in the face was relief.
When they hand your son to you for the first time after a long labor and an unplanned C-section, you will tell him that he was worth it. When it's 4 a.m. and you're so tired you could cry, your daughter will give you a wet baby kiss and nuzzle her head against your neck, and suddenly you won't mind the exhaustion quite so much. You are going to have bad days, but your kids will be worth all of that and then some.
Now go take a nap; you don't have many more chances for that, so sleep while you still can.
You, But More Tired
The author with her two children
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