You have heard it before...kids should come with a manual or instruction booklet.
But I say LIFE should come with one. I mean...seriously.
Where was the manual when I was in high school? It clearly would have told me not to take stuff so seriously and to kick crazies that cause drama to the curb. It would also have told me about quality hair products for unruly, naturally curly hair and how important it is to wear your retainer for, like, the next 15 years. And I can't forget the bangs. It would have told me NOT to cut bangs...
Where was it when I was in college? It most definitely would have led me down a career path that would result in a financial windfall. Sure, teaching is good and all...with those summers off. But the manual might have given me more options. Especially options that offer a part time route.
Where was the manual in my early 20s? It surely would have told me that NO, I wasn't fat. In fact, I would've known that I would someday look back on those years and wonder how I ever thought I was fat. I would be envious of the me that was a decade ago. The manual would have also told me that it was the best time to tighten the belt, save for the future, and maybe even work a half dozen jobs while I had the time and the energy. Oh, the energy. I miss the energy. The manual would also have told me to enjoy those years more and not to always be thinking about what was next. Next would get there soon enough.
Where was the manual when I was planning my wedding? Damn, it was a fun wedding. But there were corners that could have been cut. Money that could have been spent elsewhere. And the manual would have told me to go ahead and get that videographer.
Where was the manual when I was a newlywed? I really could have used the pages of it then...when it would have certainly told me to slow down a bit. Starting a family didn't have to be an almost immediate goal. It would have said to enjoy the freedom...the ability to fly by the seat of our pants. But I probably would have ignored it then anyway.
And when I became a mom. If there was ever a time that I could have used a manual, it was then. It would have told me that my baby wouldn't suffer hypothermia from a 10 minute bath and to relax that first time I bathed her at home. It would have told me not to worry about a whole bedding set. Babies can't even use those damn things anyway. It would have told me that I will always, always, always feel guilty. Guilty if I take time alone...guilty if I don't. Guilty if I spend too much money on my kids...guilty if I buy something for myself instead. Oh Lord, the guilt. But the manual would say that it's okay. Most moms feel the guilt.
The manual would make it a point to note that two kids are harder then one (duh)...and that 3 can be unmanageable at times. There would be a chapter on how to break up fights over who has the bigger cookie, who got the last string cheese, and who got down the steps first that morning. It would tell you how to get permanent marker out of clothes. (NOTE: You can't. That's why it's permanent.) There would be suggestions on ways to relieve stress...like sitting in your car alone and screaming at the top of your lungs, then eating a Taco Supreme with a fountain soda while listening to Salt and Pepa to make it better...just so you don't go all Mommy Dearest on their asses. But the manual would also say that it's okay if you do happen to go a little crazy and yell a bit because you just can't take their sh*t anymore.
Most importantly, it would tell you to forgive yourself. Try again. And that you can't do it all alone.
But even if there was a manual, I'm sure I would have read it cover to cover then ignored the whole flippin' thing. And that would be fine...because then I would be right where I am. Which is a pretty good place to be.
Have you ever wished you had a manual for life? Please share. I'd love to hear!