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Having kids truly is the transformative, soul-enriching journey we imagined it would be when we got pregnant. But if we could just pull our former selves aside for a teensy little chat in the era before that plus sign appeared on the pee stick, here’s some advice we would absolutely offer.

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1. Savor every minute of sleep that comes after 6 a.m. And throw away your alarm clock. You will never need it again. 

2. Wear the string bikini. Your body is a wonderland. 

3. Never EVER speak in a normal voice around a sleeping baby or ask to hold her while she naps. Have you no decency?  

4. Wear high heels to happy hour. Both will soon cease to exist.

happy hour

5. Hang out with your friends as much as you can. The ones who have kids and the ones who don’t. You are about to become an equal-opportunity plan canceller.

6. Go to the movies. The next time you enter a theater it will be for an 11 a.m. showing of Captain Underpants. Choose something with subtitles.

7. Go out to dinner in fancy schmancy restaurants—or trendy, divey ones that won’t seat you ’til 11 p.m.

couple kiss

8. Enjoy your spouse. Talk to him or her without a phone in your hand. Viva the lazy Sunday. The bond you’re building now will be stretched and ultimately strengthened (right? Right?!) by forces beyond your imagination. And those forces are called sleep training.

9. Binge-watch Game of ThronesGraphic nudity and disturbing violence will imminently be replaced by empathy-enhancing tigers and wise-cracking Legos.   

10. Figure out how to make decent eggs and cook more than one thing for lunch. That whole "I keep sweaters in my stove" thing won’t fly when you’ve got a Star Wars bento box to pack for the next 400,000 weekdays.

11. Do yourself a favor: Forget the baby books and watch somebody breastfeed. 


12. Take unnecessarily long showers. Use every ridiculously luxe product you own. 

13. Get a fabulous haircut, a manicure, a pedicure. Just wax something. Anything. 

14. Eat Italian hoagies with deli meat piled to the sky, tuna sandwiches for days and all the wine. And sushi—don’t forget the sushi.

childless boots
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

15. Wear a pure white cashmere sweater with a pencil skirt and fierce stack-heel boots. Beam as no one barfs on you or forces you to give chase. 

16. Stop saying the following to, or in the remote vicinity of, people who are actual parents: I’m soooo busy; I just can’t handle my to-do list right now. I’m completely exhausted…I only slept seven hours last night.

17. Next time you do sleep for several consecutive hours, marvel at the fact that no one once woke you up to help them pee (when they are perfectly capable of peeing by themselves btw, and you’ve talked about this a million times, and yes, you swear you sprayed the monster spray, and OK one more hug but that’s it).

woman mother

18. Hang out with your parents/in-laws and feel strengthened by their warm support, entertained by their Larry David-style witticisms and inspired by their hard-won wisdom. Soon the “grandparent” gene will kick in and turn them into judgy, compulsive toy shopaholics who neither respect the nap schedule nor your humble desire to be topless in private. But be nice to them!! Because babysitting.

19. Lose that whole "I’m not a joiner" too-cool-for-school attitude. That new moms' group that meets at Starbucks is not lame; it is about to become your key source of support during this.  

20. Carry tiny, impractical handbags. Load with lipstick and a single credit card. 

21. Next time you are going to the bathroom alone, reading a great book or thinking complex thoughts in relative silence, commit that feeling to memory—because that is all it is destined to become.

22. But on the upside, the same is true of loneliness.


23. Befriend your barista. Coffee will morph from one of life’s simple pleasures to essential for survival. 

24. Savor your good health. Soon you will know way too much about rash (theirs), strep (yours) and pinkeye (everyone's).

25. Take a bucket list vacation with your favorite people. Pretty soon that magical place will be the home you can’t imagine leaving. And those people? The new guy who just moved in.

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