Jennifer at Conversion Diary is turning 33, and asked her readers what they would say to their 33-year-old selves if they could. That's the kind of challenge I can't resist, and neither can I resist recycling what I wrote as a blog post. It's pretty much just off the top of my head, and in no particular order, but here are a few of the things I wish I could have told myself.
- Have more kids. There were some good reasons why we didn't, but a very bad reason was buying into the "you can't afford it and neither can the world" mentality. If you haven't lived through it, I don't think you can fathom how much pressure there was in those days to have no more than two children.
- Expect much more from your children than society does, on every level. From the day they are born, your children can learn more, do more, and behave better than you will be told is possible. Don't limit them with your low expectations.
- Homeschool. Homeschool. Homeschool. From the beginning, and never look back. This is one of the best decisions we ever made, and I wish we had never subjected our children to the "school mindset." But when I was 33, school was "the way things are done," and I never questioned it till years later.
- "Bloom where you are planted." Make the most of your present situation, because you never know when it will change.
- Keep a journal, take pictures (and label them!), make recordings. Concentrate on people and places dear to you—there are plenty of professionals documenting the rest of the scenery.
- When you videotape your children's performances, be sure to include their friends as well. You may not care, but your children will!
- Talk with older family members about their childhoods and their life stories, and get everything you can from them about your ancestors and family history. Make sure their pictures are labelled!
- Take care of yourself. When you have young children at home, it's very easy (and seems virtuous) to shortchange yourself when it comes to sleep, exercise, education, and the care of your soul. Make yourself make time for these things. Enlist the aid of your spouse—I don't mean to tell you what to do, but to make sure you get the time to do it. Your children will thank you later.
- If you are too busy to get organized, you are too busy not to get organized. Make the time (and again, get your spouse to help). There is no moment better than now; that mythical time "when I have time" will never come. Never give up; experiment with different systems till you find one that works for you. Be prepared to alter it as needed, however, when your circumstances alter.