I realize you are only 10 and not thinking about becoming a mom yet, but in case I’m not around when you are, here is my advice.
1. I’m sorry for the genetics. If you are anything like I was, you will get enormous while you are pregnant. You will crave the craziest foods (ask dad about my obsession with Scooby snacks with Sam and orange slices with you). Your stomach does not go down after the baby is out, despite what you see on TV. I had a fight with my manicurist after Sam was born because she insisted I was still pregnant (“No. You no have baby. Baby still inside”)
2. Infants are not fun. They are stressful. When I told dad I was going to throw you in the pool when you had colic, I was serious. So learn now to take breaks. Wandering around the grocery store alone is better than you can imagine. As the baby grows up, he will do a lot better if you are not hovering all the time. Sorry to say it, but Aidan is the most well adjusted of you 3 mostly because I often forget he’s there.
3. Let them wear what they want. You were famous at preschool for wearing your own mismatched outfits every day.
Self expression is key.
4. Let them make their own mistakes. Better for them to say “I shouldn’t have done that,” than for them to say “Why didn’t you let me?” Worst thing to say to a kid is “I told you so.”
5, Put them to bed. In their own rooms. Same time every night. I hope you remember my rule that I am done parenting at 830 pm. I’m off the clock. You need your own space and so do I. Plus I need to watch The Daily Show.
6. Make memories: spend your money on things they will remember. I hope you will always remember spending Mothers Day 2013 at SeaWorld in San Antonio and not the fact that I didn’t buy you an $80 souvenir cup.
7. Don’t make things too easy. My biggest pet peeve is moms who rearrange situations so that their child isn’t left out. Teach them now that you can’t always sit next to the friend you want to or be included at every party. This year, you are the only one out of all your best friends who is not in the same class. I could have tried to move you to that class. I didn’t. Life is full of challenges.
8, Pick your battles. Give them the lollipop. Just make them say please first and thank you after. Let them have their meltdowns. Just make sure they apologize when they are done. Save your strength for the fights you will have with the other parents who don’t raise their kids the same way.
9, One kid doesn’t rule all: there are 3 of you. One stage parent of multiple children told me that the one in show biz rules the family’s schedule. The others aren’t allowed to have interests. There is a reason why I let you do cheer and it’s not because I like worrying about you falling on your head. That being said, you are 3 different people. I can’t always make everything equal.
10. Cheer them on: I have learned on tour that when an audience is having fun, laughing and clapping loud, it motivates the cast. They come backstage they say “what an amazing audience” and I swear their performance is better for it. Always give your kids a standing ovation.
Finally, make sure your kids always tell you how much they love and appreciate you. Not just on some stupid Hallmark holiday.