Scrambled Eggs and AP Lit

by mssinglemama on October 1, 2009

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail inviting me to speak to four AP Lit classes.

The teacher, one Mr. David Rickert, had been turned onto my blog by his wife and thought my philosophies on dating and love could serve as a great guide for his students in conjunction with the books they are reading this semester. They’re also all about to enter college, and naturally like any caring teacher, he is concerned for the fate of their little hearts.

I immediately responded with, “Absolutely.”

The chance of giving 18 year olds the advice I so sorely needed back then was too hard to pass up.  So today I sat my butt down on that teeny tiny stool and started talking. And I didn’t stop until four hours and at least 60 kids later.  Somewhere in the middle of hour three everything blurred together and I couldn’t remember if I was talking about man shopping, dating yourself or why you should never marry someone for their green card.

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Right here I was probably telling them that true love was nothing like what they’d seen in those stupid vampire movies and that television has completely warped their sense of romantic reality.

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And here I think I was telling them to rent babies for a day or two before deciding to marry someone.

Do newly weds even do that? Do they borrow babies for a day? Or maybe for two days? Why would you marry someone who you hadn’t at least spent 24 hours with in the company of a toddler or better yet, a newborn? To us single moms that idea is absolutely insane. I could go on and on and on. But I’ll let you guys have fun with that one in the comment section.

Instead let me share the one story that kept coming back and one I managed to tell consistently to each class. The story about John Bear and the scrambled eggs. Last weekend when I went to Michigan for Katie’s wedding I told John to make Benjamin scrambled eggs for breakfast because we were out of milk.

First it should be noted that John Bear is not, or maybe I should say was not, the best cook or cleaner. Once I actually spotted him spraying Windex on a wooden floor. Yeah. Anyway. I thought scrambled eggs would be an easy substitute for cereal but on while I was driving I got a frantic call from him “The scrambled eggs. They’re not right. I messed something up, they’re, they’re…”

“Like an omelet?” I asked.

“Yes! Like an omelet! What did I do? I’m looking up the recipe online, I’m trying to figure it out.”

“YOU’RE WHAT?”

“I’m looking it up online, how to make scrambled eggs.”

“OH MY GOD. You’re kidding me.

“Can you please not yell at me right now, I am trying to figure this out and that’s not helping.”

“I know, I’m sorry but it’s like you’re asking me how to boil water. You put them in the pan and then you scramble them. You know, you move them around, you kind of stir them but more like scoop them.”

I hung up the phone with a huge sigh. Shaking my head I started wondering how I could possibly marry a man who didn’t know how to make scrambled eggs. Then, while envisioning myself cooking every meal for the rest of my life I started cursing myself for losing my temper. Why was I so mean just then? I imagined he would be upset all day, that there would be this awkward thing hanging in the air but then five minutes later the phone rang. It was John Bear.

“So? How did it go?” I asked.

“I am the MASTER OF SCRAMBLED EGGS!!” He shouted this into the phone like a guy who had just won a one-on-one match with his toughest competitor. I think I actually heard him jumping up and down.

I started laughing and then we were both laughing. After the laughing I apologized for snapping and then everything was fine. Our days went on and now, just a few weeks later it’s a hilarious story. The point is that John Bear may not know how to cook and clean like a pro but he is completely willing to learn.

He treats issues in life and in our relationship just like those scrambled eggs – he figures them out and doesn’t give up until he has. And that is what young women and men should look for in each other… how do they work through issues, challenges and how do they communicate their insecurities with you when something goes wrong. How do they bounce back?

It’s all about the scrambled eggs. Seriously. All of you happily married people know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

—–

Some side notes on what I would tell my 18 year old self…

Love doesn’t hurt.

Love doesn’t dump you.

Love doesn’t harbor ill will or bad feelings.

Love doesn’t ask anything of you.

Love is as calm as a still pond and love is a warm, warm blanket.

Do you feel this way about yourself?

That’s step one.

——

If you could travel back in time, what would you tell your 18 year old self?

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Ms. Single Mama Uncensored. I am giving away three copies… those of you who left comments on Facebook and Twitter today are already entered. And thank you so much, I read the answers out loud to the class and they were definitely effective.

Related posts:

  1. Man things (and a video)
  2. Pillow Talk
  3. The Trip Story, Part 4
  4. When you know
  5. A messy business

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Thanks, etc.
November 29, 2009 at 7:23 pm

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Kris October 1, 2009 at 7:25 pm

I think the thing I’d stress most to my 18 y/o self, is listen to your instincts b/c no matter how hard you try to talk yourself out of whatever your instincts are telling you, they are usually right. Also, it’s one thing for your parents not to dig who you’re dating but when your closest friends don’t like him and tell you something is just not right there, listen!! They have an unbiased view b/c they aren’t in the middle of it.

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mssinglemama October 2, 2009 at 3:46 am

This is really, really good advice. I think when you’re that young the opinions of your friends and family should hold more weight than it does when you’re a bit older.

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T October 1, 2009 at 7:28 pm

That’s a toughie, Alaina.

I wouldn’t be who I am now if I changed the romanticized ideas of the 18 year old me. I am still learning every day, in every relationship. I agree with all that you’ve said here and I am very moved that you were invited to speak to those kids. I hope it made a difference in their lives. What an inspiration you are.

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mssinglemama October 2, 2009 at 3:45 am

Yep, you are correct. We all had to the make the mistakes of our past to get to where we are today. And we’re all still learning.

Thank you for adding this T and I did emphasis this to them as well, just not as well as I could have in this post. Thank you so much.

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Kat October 1, 2009 at 7:32 pm

There are a lot of things I’d tell my dumbass 18 year old self, so I’ll just pick a couple of them.

GO TO COLLEGE, RIGHT NOW! Don’t put it off, just go, get it done, and enjoy it. Or not, but do it. Because when you’re 48 and you’re doing it you’re going to be kicking yourself in the ass.

Guys, when you’re 18? Are so not worth derailing your life plans for. Not worth staying out of college for, not worth moving in with, not worth anything but having some lighthearted fun with. Trust me. It’s absolutely true and it is SO unlikely you and that guy you’re with will stay together. Don’t change your life for a guy. DO. NOT.

You have 20 years yet to have babies. Don’t rush it. It’s the absolute hardest job you’ll ever have. Worth it, but also worth waiting until you’ve at least finished college for. Enjoy life as a single, unencumbered woman until at least 25 years old. You’ll thank yourself later.

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mom23inmd October 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm

I would tell myself to SLOW DOWN. Relax! Don’t worry about getting married so fast, or needing to have the whole thing figured out and buttoned down so fast. I would tell myself that you never really become the person you are meant to be until you reach AT LEAST 30 years old. That your 20s are for figuring out your adult self, and until you can figure that out, you cannot join yourself to someone else’s not-quite-formed-adult-self.

By 30 I was definitely a different person than I was at 20. By 43 (where I am now), I am wiser than I was at 30, but I’m still the same person.

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Shel October 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm

I would tell myself not to worry so much. Most of the things you are stressing about now won’t even be a blip on your radar in 10 years.

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johanna October 1, 2009 at 8:59 pm

i would tell myself to date all kinds of people and not get involved so quickly

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Amber (never won anything and would greatly appreciate the ebook) :-) October 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm

18 year old me: Move across the country with your family. Do not stay behind with the boy who will break your heart and alter your perception of men for a very long time. Do not settle. Love yourself first and MOST. Dont’ take stupid college classes that will get you no where except in debt….and lastly….4 years from now you will bring an angel into this world and nothing else will matter but that love. And that love will be your guiding light, your inspiration, strength, and reason for being, that love will save you. :-)

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andrea October 1, 2009 at 10:41 pm

I would tell myself that naturally curly hair is unique, you aren’t fat, your ankles aren’t ugly, and 20 years from now you will look back at pictures and realize how beautiful you were and wonder why you stifled yourself by spending so much time worrying about what other people thought.

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Lindsey October 1, 2009 at 10:42 pm

I would tell myself to not live life by ‘the rules’ but to have fun, travel, laugh even more, and just relax and enjoy. Don’t be afraid. Things always work out… oh, and in 5 years you’ll meet a guy who will end up being bi-polar and an alcoholic. Pass!!

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laura October 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm

I would tell my 18 year old self to hold on to the absolutely breath taking self confidence and never let anyone’s words, especially those who are the most intimate with you, transform your self worth or goals. I would also put just a little score in youthful romanticism because it is rooted so much hope and sweetness. I wish that the whole “marriage is hard” mantra hadn’t set in so thoroughly because it becomes an excuse for behavior that shouldn’t be acceptable and a little hope and whimsy is sorely missed.

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mssinglemama October 2, 2009 at 3:44 am

YES! I love this one… you’re so right. I know exactly what you mean and stayed with my husband for an extra year probably because so many people told me marriage was hard. Well, guess what, it should be THAT kind of hard.

And love the idea of hanging on to that youthful romanticism for as long as you can. Now, finally feeling real love, I feel more youthful than ever though – something I didn’t mention yesterday.

Thank you Laura.

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ashlea October 2, 2009 at 6:40 am

YES!!!!!
I actually stumbled down the aisle against my own gut instincts because it had been so beaten into me that not only was marriage hard but that people who break up after a year or so and never get married are just taking the easy way out and they’ll regret it later (since they didn’t have the “maturity” to commit). I remember having second thoughts and trying to talk to my mom and she became irritated and said to me, in a huff, “Ashlea, are you committed to this or aren’t you?” All it took was knowing her perspective and knowing how much money my father had into the whole thing (I was 19 and stupid and still hoping to get my mother’s approval). By 23 I had tanked my career, made sacrifices that in my field I will never totally recover from, had a seven month old baby boy and a HUSBAND IN REHAB. I wanted to leave him but I needed help…..and all I got was more of the “marriage is hard” bullshit. I was in for four more years before I finally became strong enough to get out. I look back and know that the problem was not that I didn’t try hard enough it was that I tried way too hard for way too long and while I take responsibility I am also very angry at the people who pointed me in that direction. I felt so trapped and that is exactly how emotionally abusive men want you to feel. My family actually helped him with his agenda! Losing yourself in the name of commitment and obligations to your children and doing what is right or expected by God is nothing but a bunch of lies that like Laura said, serves an excuse for not only bad behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated but worse yet, the complete loss of self. I really think that for every person getting divorced for the wrong reasons you could probably find two people who are staying married for the wrong reasons and GUILT (evil, evil guilt, the devil’s best friend) is ALWAYS to blame.

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Gershtown October 2, 2009 at 4:03 am

“You’re not as smart as you think you are.” That’s what I’d say.

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Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) October 2, 2009 at 5:57 am

slow down is high on the list for me. I would tell myself not to be so anxious to get married after finishing my bachelor’s degree.

But like T, had I not rushed in, and learned things from some of those early on decisions, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Does that make sense?… anyway.

Interesting experience you had. And ironically I am preparing for assisting a class of newly married young couples… I posted yesterday 2 of the top 10 things I would tell them after having taken the leap and while they are in the first years of marriage. I am no expert — far from it… but I share some things from my heart and I have 5 more posts with the remainder of the list ready to post in the coming weeks. Any advice you care to add for that endeavor of mine is greatly appreciated and so welcome.

Thanks Alaina for being such an inspiration… to all of us single moms and moms in general for that matter.

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Lesha October 2, 2009 at 5:59 am

I’d tell my 18 year old self to fall in love with the person, not just the way the person makes me feel. Because eventually that feeling will dwindle and you’ll be left with a person you don’t know at all or worse know and can’t stand.

I already have a copy of the book though, so don’t worry about entering me!

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Mikaela October 2, 2009 at 6:49 am

It all works out in the end. Communication is key. Iraq will not be that bad…just pray.

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Kristie October 2, 2009 at 7:01 am

I would tell my 18 year old self that having a boyfriend or a husband does not guarantee happiness. A man is not going to complete you– you need to be a whole person on your own, find your own voice, figure out what you want out of life, and go after it. Also, slow down and enjoy the ride. College will go by in a blink– take advantage of the freedom and opportunities to learn and grow as a person. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Don’t limit yourself just so you can fit into some guy’s life, or the life that your parents have mapped out for you. It’s your life– make it what you want it to be!

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Michelle October 2, 2009 at 7:11 am

I’d tell my 18 year old self…go to college and spend as much time with family as you can because you never know when they will no longer be there.

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RobinEsque October 2, 2009 at 7:21 am

I would tell myself that guys never really mean they like your pants as a literal compliment to your wardrobe — no, it’s what’s inside the pants, like the ass, that they are admiring. Oh, and that it’s not the 1940s where dating and sex is taken at one slow baby step at at time, so you better first figure out those bases by yourself (and that is possible to achieve the Big O on your own).

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Melissa October 2, 2009 at 7:42 am

I would tell my 18-year-old self, don’t try to change people. Just because he is your high school sweetheart doesn’t mean that you have to marry him. People change, especailly teenagers so let yourself grow and change and if you grow apart, then just move on. Don’t hold on to him and try to make him change to be the man you want to marry because then you will miss out on the man you are suppost to marry…..when the time is right….NO RUSH!

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Shelby October 2, 2009 at 8:05 am

I would tell my 18 year old self that
you are going to get over it. Being popular or unpopular doesnt count after graduation- no one cares anymore. Also, be patient, and take life one step at a time. Dont grow up too fast, stop thinking you are older than you are, enjoy being a kid because it ends before you know it. OH! the best part, in a few short years, you are going to meet the one- rather realize who the one is- you already know him ;) . He is going to be your One, and you are going to be his One. (just a heads up!)

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Rebecca October 2, 2009 at 8:25 am

I would tell my 18 year old self that she should work on her future as if the best things she could ever believe about herself are true.

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Melanie K October 2, 2009 at 8:44 am

I completely agree about the instincts suggestion above. I would add that just because he says he loves you doesn’t mean he does, or that he that he loves you in a way that makes the relationship worth it – pay attention to actions, not just words.

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Star October 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

OMG! This is SO right! “just because he says he loves you doesn’t mean he does…pay attention to actions, not just words.” I would modify that to say, “ONLY watch the ACTIONS, COMPLETELY ignore the words!”

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Tennessonian October 2, 2009 at 8:48 am

So, I’m catching up on your site because IT’S BEEN SO LONG!!! I love that you’re a mommy blogger rockstar now. (Well, you always were to me, but a book!? Awesome.)

But to the actual comment: “How do they communicate their insecurities with you when something goes wrong.”

Wow. You hit the nail on the head with that one, sister. Once I allowed myeslf to show THAT vulnerable side of me, it transformed my relationship. (And FYI, it was the most TERRIFYING thing EVER and also the most liberating.) And as single moms, I think we carry that control and mask over our emotions because we have to keep it together or–God forbid–we have a repeat of what broke our relationship with our children’s’ biological parent.

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erin October 2, 2009 at 9:18 am

do not be afraid to disappoint anyone but yourself.

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Tara October 2, 2009 at 9:18 am

I would tell my 18 year old self to stop worrying about what other people think. I wonder if I can get my future self to tell my current self that too…
p.s. We were told by our builder to dillute Windex with water to mop our hardwood floors.

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hayley brown October 2, 2009 at 9:46 am

Things I wish someone had said at when I was 18 and things I say to my children (22, 21, 18, 16) now.

Dating should be fun. If it’s not fun now it’ll never get easier, move on.

Find a person that will put you on his pedestal and if you’re willing to put him on your pedestal then that’s the one.

The person your with should always make you feel your the best person you can be.

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christine October 2, 2009 at 1:19 pm

DATING SHOULD BE FUN! YES. yes, yes, yes. god, i wish i had been aware of this at 18. and do not pass up opportunities for a relationship. i wish i would’ve taken the full ride scholarship i was offered across the country, i wish i would’ve traveled and studied abroad in college…

i would also add, just because you sleep with someone does not obligate you to them. you are not a horrible person if you have sex before marriage. at 17-18 my teenage hormones ran smack into my christian upbringing, and i ended up in the most horrible, abusive relationship for the better part of a decade, because i felt that it would mitigate my sins if i ended up getting married to the person i slept with. thankfully, i did not marry that jerk or have his kids, but it set my expectations for men and relationships so low that i ended up marrying another jerk.

while it may be hard to regret the choices that brought me my beautiful daughters, i would never ever want one of my girls to go through the same things i have.

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Hanna October 2, 2009 at 9:55 am

No one is going to love you until you love yourself. Except your mother.

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chrissy October 2, 2009 at 10:02 am

travel travel travel explore! know that there is hella more out there then some dumbass boy that you wont remember his last name in 4 years. If you get out there enough, there is not room for failure.

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Kim Howard October 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

I would tell myself to stay true to my beliefs. That not everyone is going to like you. High school will be a thing of the past, and doesn’t play any role in who you are as an adult. Save your self for that one guy who loves you. Trust in God.

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wyliekat October 2, 2009 at 10:58 am

It’s all about the scrambled eggs. Seriously. All of you happily married people know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

I’m going to tell you something controversial, but also something I believe to be true. Those scrambled eggs are largely reserved for people doing it the second time around.

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Julie McDonald October 3, 2009 at 2:42 am

SO TRUE! I know exactly what you are talking about!

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mssinglemama October 3, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Woah. For many of us, yes, but there are so many that get it the first time – IF they wait until they’re older, wiser before tying the knot. Right? Got me thinking thanks for this comment.

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saint nobody October 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

This is great–wish I could have had a Ms. Single Mama visit my AP class (for that matter, I wish I could have taken an AP class–my high school in Springfield, Oh, didn’t offer it at the time)! Wish you were close to NYC so I could have to visit my classes and the creative writing club at FIT!

What I would tell my 18-year-old self:
1. Don’t get into a committed relationship with an equally immature, potentially controlling guy the first day of freshman orientation, hence missing opportunities to get to know other guys and spending time with quality gals, too. I know he’s cute, but so is Chris L., and Ned C., and…
2. Get your ears pierced before you meet Controlling Guy and he doesn’t “allow” you to.
3. You are going to like beer. This does not mean you should drink half a keg a week your first year of college. Moderation!
4. Slow down on the way home from Michele’s 18th birthday party–otherwise you’re gonna get a speeding ticket on Route 68 south.
5. Someday they are gonna have this thing called word processing software so you won’t have to use corrasable typing paper with your Smith Corona.

:)

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Elisabeth October 2, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Slow down. You don’t have to do everything this weekend!!

Stay in college, it’s much easier to study when you don’t have kids!

Your dad loves you, even though you cannot see it right now. When the man who you think loves you completely breaks you – your Dad will pick up the pieces because he truely loves you.

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meredith groenevelt October 2, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Loved the post. Great boots. You’re the full package!

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Kristin October 2, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I’d tell my 18-year old self that the whole bad boy sex appeal wears thin about .2 hours into motherhood. And that no matter how insane it seems: stability will be ten million times as sexy as badassery by the time you have a wee one.

I miss you, friend.

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mssinglemama October 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I miss you too.

Big time.

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Ali October 2, 2009 at 2:03 pm

1. You are not allowed to marry, nor are you allowed to consider marriage until you are 30.
2. Run around and travel and SEE as much as you possibly can. Travel alone at least once a year. You’ll be amazed at who you talk to that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
3. Graduate from college…but don’t be hell bent and in a hurry to graduate from college.
4. Child rearing is a TWO person job, actually a job for a village. And just because some beautiful, smart women have done it, they would never ever recommend it.
5. Brains are more important than muscles.
6. Your first job out of college is more important than you think. Choose wisely.
7. If you are going to marry someone you should be able to picture yourself wiping their ass one day.

Just sayin…..

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mssinglemama October 3, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Love the last one.

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Amy October 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Twinkies are BAD! Your saddlebags? Those are twinkies! Just say NO!

Seriously, though, I have a list to tell my 8 year old niece when she is older. A few: love yourself, if you can’t then no one can. No man can “complete” you (god, I didn’t like him before, but I like Tom Cruise even less for uttering that so dramatically). You are looking for someone to enhance your happiness, not make it. Don’t stick with a “type” – explore all different guys. College is fun – but don’t forget to study. And do try to date a football player/athlete for just a little bit – you want some stories to think about when you are older. :)

One side note: I said “no” to a great guy at 20 and “yes” to a bad one at 33. Now am trying to get have a child on my own at 39….don’t wait too long to try for kids.

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mssinglemama October 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm

LOVE that. Yes, I told them all about trying on different pairs of shoes (man shopping) to see which one fits best. But in the end you go with a nice comfy pair over the hot heels.

Hilarious.

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Jess October 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I would tell myself to relax a little and it’s ok to have fun (went right from HS to college and while I certainly don’t regret that I wish I could have had more adventures) and to focus on myself before focusing on a relationship.

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Drue October 2, 2009 at 4:55 pm

It is ok to have fun- go to parties, meet people, drink, don’t take everything too seriously. I was so afraid of getting in trouble or getting hurt. Now I feel like I missed out on really being a teenager.

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Rachel October 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm

I would tell myself not to derive my sense of self-worth from how a man treats you. I put up with so much crap because I wanted a particular man or other to like me, to love me. I cringe now when I think how much rubbish I put up with, how I tried to hold onto relationships that weren’t working, how I blamed myself for coming on too strong or expecting too much. SO glad those days are behind me and now I’m married to a man who loves me unconditionally and lets me know every day that he thinks I’m the best thing ever, even on those days I’m clearly not ;-) And I feel the same about him – I wouldn’t be 18 again for anything!

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EB October 2, 2009 at 6:09 pm

get a practical degree!

now that i’m a divorced single mom i’m back in school b/c i am having to provide for my child alone. i’d tell my 18 year old self to get a better back up plan.

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Lex (@laprimera) October 2, 2009 at 6:30 pm

I would tell the 18 year old me not to rush into a relationship so quickly. To learn to know and love myself first. And to decide how I want to be treated and not to put up with anything less.

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Blithe October 2, 2009 at 6:51 pm

I would tell that girl: ‘You are going to be just fine. There is no man that will make everything ok. You don’t need what you think you do, you have it all in there somewhere. Go, find it, use it, be it. Oh yes, YOU are just fine all on your own.’

Do you think she would listen? I’m not sure she can hear me now…

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Amyinbc October 3, 2009 at 8:04 pm

I hear you.. loud and clear.

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Helen October 2, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I’d tell myself that it all works out in the end, if it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end. I’d tell me to believe in myself and to not be afraid. I’d tell myself to take risks and only regret fear.

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Glenda October 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I’d tell my 18 yr old that you don’t have to put up with so much bull and try to make the relationship work just because he was your “first”. Life does go on after him! Slow down… don’t rush…. enjoy the journey… enjoy the good and the bad… the ups and down…they will make you that much stronger!

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rbckim October 3, 2009 at 12:53 am

Be proud of who you are first and know who you are before you embark on getting to know someone else. So don’t try to mold yourself into someone that you think you should be … just be!

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Sarah October 3, 2009 at 6:31 am

I would tell my 18 year old self to not have had sex with now ex *deadbeat* boyfriend who’s the father of my wonderful 5 month old son =]

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Jennifer October 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I would tell my 18-year-old self that the most important thing you could possibly do for yourself, ever, is to find out who you are… and learn to love that girl anyway- you will be together for a long time… you need to respect her and honor her. Don’t be the girl that you think people want you to be, or the myriad of people that you have met along the way- find the true-blue soul that is bigger than this world and bigger than you could ever imagine. I know she’s in there. Don’t let the mis-fitting ideas around you become your reality. Find your own and what works for you and don’t apologize for that. Never be anything for someone else’s sake. It will never work- either you will end up hating the other person or hating yourself. And never give your power away, it’s too precious and you will need it more and more as this life continues…

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Shannon October 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

My daughter introduced me to your site because she was in one of the AP Lit classes you spoke to, and she really enjoyed it!

She will be 18 in a matter of days, and I try to give her advice but she’s like we all were when we were 18 – we knew everything! I married when I was 20, and there are experiences I wish I would have had, like going to college straight out of high school, living on my own, doing some frivolous traveling, etc. I also try to tell her that even though there is pressure to make certain decisions now, like colleges, that she shouldn’t try to grow up too fast, that there’s plenty of time to decide what you want to be when you grow up, and having a boyfriend does not guarantee anything.

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mssinglemama October 4, 2009 at 5:58 am

Shannon – thank you so much for leaving a comment, so happy to have you here. This is awesome advice… traveling is HUGE on my list of should haves. Although I did travel, I didn’t travel enough.

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Susanna October 3, 2009 at 5:22 pm

I would tell my 18 year old self to think twice before you change all your life plans for a guy. I would also say that even though you may “think” you are in love while in the middle of a long-distance relationship, there is nothing that compares to having that person right there with you, day after day.

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Miriam October 3, 2009 at 6:03 pm

I would say…
Be kind to yourself and know that you are worth so much more then you realise. Don’t let go of your dreams. When life does not turn out as you had planned that that darkness is a source of an amazing light in the future.

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Barbi October 3, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I have been married for 15 years, married at 21. I ended up giving up a job with the FBI in Washington D.C. for my boyfriend when I was 18, we broke up, I moved on with my husband, but still wonder where I’d be if I would of went. Never give up your dreams for a man.

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Kathleen October 3, 2009 at 7:50 pm

No couple should be allowed to wed until they have spent five days together with the flu. Ideally, a toddler in similar condition should be added to the mix but since that would be unethical, they should have to hire someone to come in and dump small amounts of ill smelling liquid in their bed, bathroom, hallway and to blast a fog horn over their heads at random intervals. If a couple can do that, I will mark my calendar in pen to go to their 50th wedding anniversary.

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mssinglemama October 4, 2009 at 5:56 am

YES!!! This is spot on. As I type this John is watching Benjamin while I lay completely sick… he recovered yesterday from his flu. But all three of us sick at the same time, that would be interesting.

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Amyinbc October 3, 2009 at 7:56 pm

I would tell myself to follow my dreams, not follow the pack. Had I taken the schooling I wanted to do instead of the degree all my friends wanted I would be much further on in my career than I am now.

I would tell myself that if anyone treats you badly on a consistent basis they are NOT worthy of being your friend/boy friend. I would tell my 18 year old self to loosen up, sleep with guys who you are attracted to in the future! Protected sex is not bad! Two guys I still kick myself for not sleeping with some 20 years later!

I would tell myself to have more confidence, that CONFIDENCE is the key to a happy life. Enables you to do most everything you want to do!

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Kathleen October 3, 2009 at 8:02 pm

I would tell my 18 year old self that she’s going to want to get married next year and to do it. I would also tell her that to find a kind, loving, gentle, strong man who becomes an even better person when he becomes a father is a gift. And not a medium sized gift but the gift of a lifetime. (I would tell this to my now husband as well, just with different pronouns.)

I’d also tell to stop being so damn smug about their marriage. Across twenty years they will realize what jackasses they sounded like and how many people they mindlessly hurt along the way. Becasue the hard truth is that sometimes it just does not work. That will become crystal clear when they will brush up against splitting up.

I would tell them that being mindful of good things you did not earn keeps you humble, grateful and make you a much kinder person, a better friend, a better spouse.

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sixofone October 4, 2009 at 5:47 am

Ah, if I only knew then….

- Don’t lie, but especially, don’t lie to yourself.
- Your parents do in fact love you unconditionally and you don’t have to keep testing them.
- Always, no matter what, be a gentleman, otherwise future SixofOne will come back and kick your a@@.
- Yes you do actually use that kind of math in real life.
- Don’t change your life plans for a woman.
- That last drink is always one too many.
- Spend more time with your family, they won’t always be around.

@John Bear – Awesome job on the eggs!

@U.S. Department of Education – Bring back Home Economics, and make Men take it as well as Shop class, and same goes for the ladies.

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Star October 4, 2009 at 6:50 am

I haven’t read through all the other comments but I guess I’ll just say what I would have told myself. (BTW…I think you should pick the top ten or twenty things that everyone said and that were most common in the comments and make a blog entry out of that so we can forward it to every 18-20 year old we know! Like a cheat sheet of these comments.) I would have told myself that in 3 years you can easily have two kids so you don’t need to worry about getting married and having kids until you are like 38!!!!! Slow down and find the RIGHT person. By RIGHT, I mean, the person that makes a perfect relationship with you. NOT the person you think would be great to raise kids with. It’s impossible to know what it will be like raising kids with someone until you actually are doing it and they will never be the kind of parent you imagined them to be. It’s WAY more important that they are a great PARTNER for YOU because that is what will make them a great co-parent. I would tell myself that divorce is AWFUL and divorce involving kids is even WORSE and that it was NOT something you want to get into. I would tell myself that a relationship should not be an every day battle and that I should give up if it isn’t PERFECT and should move on until I find one that is or I will get pregnant by accident like I did. They can’t have the milk unless they BUY THE COW! I would say that raising kids is not the experience you dreamed of unless they are in the context of a wonderful partnership. I would tell myself that it’s not about proving that I’m good enough to be loved but about being a complete dorky nerd with bad skin, no boobs, and a great personality and butt all by myself because that is better than what you are left with as a single mom of two and a crappy ex/father of the kids. That’s what I would say…

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Star October 4, 2009 at 7:19 am

P.S. I would also say, “If you want to be a mom and desperately want kids, borrow a single mom’s kids. There’s always a single mom that could use some help/free babysitting and that way you can get your kids ya-ya’s and pretend to be a mom when you feel like it and still get a full night of sleep and/or nights out partying or dispensible income to travel!”

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marinamo October 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm

My daughter was also in one of those AP Lit classes and she told me about your website.

I would tell my 18 year old self the same things I tell my daughters: go to college, don’t get married til you have a degree, it is ok to question, don’t be afraid to think for yourself, having (safe!) sex with someone you love (even if you’re not married) is better than marrying so young just so you can have sex (even if you’re in love).

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June'Bug October 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm

I would tell myself that there will be this one guy, this guy you’ll meet at a red light about a year and a half from now. You’ll meet him there, he’ll be as handsome as anything, he’ll say all the right things, he’ll smile at all of the appropriate times, and he’ll even hold the door for you. You’ll get pregnant ten months later, and from that moment on, he’ll treat you like a doormat. The guy at the red light, with all of his charm and appropriate smiles will be a distant memory that you’ll spend your days looking for and all the while, you’ll be raising a little beautiful girl on your own. I’ll tell myself to stop for that red light, smile at that handsome boy, breath in all of his appropriate smiles, but instead of sharing the news of your pregnancy with him, and having that “what are we going to do” talk with him, take that pregnancy test, and that little life growing inside of you and run for the hills. in the end, you’re destined to end up a single mama, no use giving him the opportunity to try to muck it all up for you, just skip the hurt & unpleasant part, and just bask in your single mama sunlight all on your own…minus the drama!

that’s what i’d tell myself….cheers to being a former single mama and for having to learn life’s hard lessons at a young age, but, they all seem to be small sacrifices in exchange for now having a strong, beautiful tween daughter to love each and every step of the way!

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Alexis October 4, 2009 at 7:43 pm

I would say…stay away from drugs so your mind stays clean, party all ya want….but DO NOT get caught up in the scene! Travel as much as you can, get your college degree and then another too, wait for the love mssinglemama explains- NEVER settle for anything less….but always remember life is short, life is beautiful, give back to our magnificent world any way you can, and be thankful every day for all the wonderful things you have. This is what I’ve learned by the magical age of 32…and I know I still have a long ways to go.

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Jahnni October 4, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Aww.. such a list i would tell my 18 y/o self! 1) Don’t be too cool! 2) Believe in yourself – don’t be so reliable ‘just because’!!!!! Learn how to drive now.. rather than wait until your 21 & pregnant and ‘need’ to know how to drive to your midwifery apptmts :) 3) Don’t turn around and go back because you think you owe him etc.. you owe yourself hunny! Go forward and reap the opportunities – you’re so young, so beautiful, do not.. i repeat.. DO NOT SETTLE FOR HIM JUST BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU’LL MISS OUT.. the world is your oyster babe.. go ahead, make mistakes.. you’ll find the special someone who is worthy of your heart & vice versa 4) At the same time.. dont’ jump into a relationship with any idiot who says this & that.. test them lol! 5) ‘needing’ to have sumone will NOT replace not having your father figure around – please go to counselling and talk about it.. You are so worth it!!!!! 6) So important.. LOVE YOURSELF! Do all the things you love to do.. not your parents.. Do your art, fashion, sport! Stick up for yourself! 7)CAREER FIRST AND LOVE LATER – It’s far more attractive knowing that youre ‘sorted’, and being able to buy your own things.. Being by yourself is good.. learn how to grow on your own first.. do the things you love to do so that when he comes along.. you can keep going and enhance your passion for things not drop them and do what he wants.. LOve this question! Definetly one to bring up with the girls @ our next catch up.. Thanks MSM x

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Nica October 5, 2009 at 11:23 am

I would tell my 18yr old self, to NOT drop out of college! Yes, returning to college as a single mom and finishing with all odds against you are rewarding, but the stress is not worth it. The long hours spent studying while your infant son is in daycare can never be restored. Also I’d tell myself not to take everything so seriously… something I am still learning how to do. Oh yeah, and don’t hook up with old boyfriends >> they are Xs for a reason!!

But then again; I’d do it all again just to make sure my drunk self met my son’s crazy father, because life without my son is No Life At All!

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Katie October 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm

It’s only been a few yrs but I have a long list that I’d tell my 18yr old self already…Most has already been said I think but still…
1. DON’T be afraid to be alone, no matter what!
(Mom will help with the baby more than you think, you’re gonna owe her alot more than you think!)
2. Leave him the first time you say you’re going to, don’t put it off or keep giving him chances. The fighting only gets worse and it ends up happening in front of the baby.
3. You can’t change them, if it got messed up the first time don’t bother with them again, you’ll only get hurt more because they sure as hell won’t change by choice if they can get away with the same behavior.
4. You may not think you have the money or time but GO TO COLLEGE, it will be the bast thing you can do for yours and your sons future!
5. Make the time to go out and have fun, take ppl up on their offers to babysit on the weekends once in awhile. (have fun while you’re still able to, find the balance between being a single mom and still having some type of social life)

I’m only 21 but have a 2 1/2yr old son who truly is my life. I only wish I would’ve had the courage to leave his father sooner, he was abusive both physically and emotionally plus a cheater, I was with him for just about 3yrs…The only good thing I got out of that was my son and having the strength to raise him by myself (not something I ever thought I would be doing or have to do).

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Jenny October 5, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I would tell my 18 year old self to complete university, work in a career that she loves, and to marry for love – after age 30. I would tell her to ignore the pressure to marry and have kids by 30, and that she won’t be too old to accomplish things in her thirties (including having babies).

I would ask her to have patience and to spend some years learning about herself before expecting anyone else to understand her. I would tell her to date a lot of men before settling down with one man. Most importantly, I would ask her to watch for red flags [with her chosen man] around temper, stress management, finances, depression, and general disinterest in growing as a person. If she saw any warning signs, I would tell her to move on…. She will be deeply loved by a different man one day.

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Allison October 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm

When getting into an argument/disagreement with the one you love, you should never, ever, ever feel like you’ve lost “love points.” Ever.

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Melissa October 7, 2009 at 10:40 am

Wow, like everyone else I have hundreds of things I would like to say. The truth is I wouldn’t say anything! One day with my daughter makes the 6 miserable years with her father worth every second.

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Mandy October 7, 2009 at 11:02 am

I know Mr. Rickert from his teaching 7th grade English days! Hope you enjoyed my old stopming grounds!

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Robin Brunet October 9, 2009 at 11:18 am

As Garth Brooks would say “Thank god for unanswered prayers”.

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Crystal October 9, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Hindsight is 20/20. I would tell myself to slow down and listen to my instincts. Spend as much time with my family and to not let the person you “love” seperate you from them. That its not okay to change who you are for a guy. Always follow you heart. It’s usually right.

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*.* October 9, 2009 at 9:40 pm

i’m 19..I recently broke up with my first boyfriend. (are your eyes rolling??) i don’t know how i got here haha so having this kind of wisdom from people who would look back on themselves, at 18, opens my eyes. Not as much as i will know in a few years time, i’m sure. Thank you for sharing lovely ladies. follow my heart, be me, and slow my role, i’m just learning who i am. i’ll keep this page in my favorites or copy it for when i need a little reminder, thanx :)

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Allison October 22, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I only wish I could have had half of this advice at your age. Be good, be strong, be naughty but most of all be brave!

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Deborah October 12, 2009 at 1:42 pm

What would I tell my 18 year old self…

Deb, let’s get it together my dear. You need to take a step back and spend some time with yourself, get to know who YOU are, make things, knit, collage, paint, sleep alone, have coffee with girlfriends. Boys will be there when you get better, but now is the time to love yourself. You deserve better than someone who makes you feel unloved and defeated every single day. You owe it to yourself to find your self esteem and hang on to your self-worth. You are beautiful, and entitled to patient and healthy love. Take your time and be good to yourself. I promise you, it will all be ok.

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Sarah October 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm

To my 18 year old self…I would say first and foremost..be happy with who you are..don’t be so self-conscious, while you know you are just shy, it will come off as bitchy to others. Don’t let go of all of your friends for a boy because the boy will be long gone and you will find you miss your friends. Be kind to your family because they truly love you with no exceptions. Speak up for what you believe in and what you want. You are the only one who knows what goes on inside your head. Never give up on your dreams. And most importantly, have fun! You don’t have to be perfect for people to like you :)

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