Dear Teenage Me,

I can tell you want an apology. You worked so hard blending in during those junior high and high school years. And here I’ve gone and become a parent. This naturally means I’ve done many things you’d find cringe-worthy. Are you seeing this? I’m sure it’s pretty painful to watch.

So I’d like to apologize to you. I’m (a little) sorry for all the embarrassing behavior. I’m especially sorry that I have no plans to change any of it. In an effort to show that I do understand, here is a list of some of my recent offenses.

Fashion. Fashion might be too optimistic a word choice. Yes, I do feel my best when I take time for my appearance. But time is precious. I sometimes (often) go consecutive days wearing the same shirt. I think my record is 3. Let’s act like it’s not a problem until I hit 4, okay? I also do my part to contribute to the moms-love-yoga-pants cliche. And about those Toms. You always imagined you’d be an adult who rocked a pair of stilettos. What happened? Children happened. Chasing tiny humans while wearing heels is just plain irresponsible. Victoria Beckham may be able to do it but this mama cannot.

Sleep. I am legitimately psyched if I can go to bed before 10 pm. I think about the possibility from the moment I wake up at 6 am. Every. Single. Day. And I do not get up to go to the gym or do my hair. Top knots and ponytails are fast after all. I get up at the crack of dawn to watch Paw Patrol and act as butler to my bossy (but adorable) toddler. I do not have a choice. When given the option to sleep I will gladly take it. Even if it means throwing a towel over the pee spot after a child has wet the bed and crawling on top of it for more shut-eye.

Entertainment. I find myself listening to the actual lyrics in songs. Gasp! What a novel concept! My takeaway? I think these musicians should go to bed earlier and wear looser clothing. I completely understand that this makes me uncool. (The word uncool may no longer be cool. I have no idea.) Toy Story makes me cry. Also Frozen, Brave, and Finding Nemo. The news makes me cry. Commercials make me cry. Apparently there is a lot of crying. There’s also a lot of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. (Someone please tell me why Minnie and Daisy must run around in heels while Mickey can’t be troubled to put on a shirt?) If I get to choose my own programming I watch The Real Housewives. It’s the middle-aged equivalent of Real World. Go ahead and judge me.

Personal care. When I have a headache it’s because I didn’t drink enough water and not because I overindulged on alcohol. I go to bed way too often with my makeup on. You thought you’d be a super hot wrinkle-free grandma, didn’t you? My bad. We’re not heading in that direction.

Clutter. My home is overrun with toys. Isn’t it supposed to look like a spread in Southern Living? Well it doesn’t. If you saw my car you’d think I was going to the Salvation Army to make a large donation. Really that’s just how the inside of my vehicle looks now. No, I cannot identify that smell. I’m assuming a cup of milk is lurking under a seat.

Internet. I do not use social media to showcase my wild (nonexistent) nights out. I use it to share an inordinate number of photos of my children. They’re cute. What else am I supposed to share? Photos of my clothes? But then people will know how often I wear the same shirt. You see my dilemma. My Google search history will reveal that I want to know important things like how to get rid of fruit flies and what happened to past stars of Real Housewives of Orange County. Inquiring minds want to know.

Literature. If I had to name my current favorite book I’d say it’s anything in the Llama Llama Red Pajama series. I also read a mean Pout Pout Fish. I read magazine covers in the line at the grocery store. Does that count? I can name maybe 5% of celebrities I see there. Who are these kids? Yes, I’m 34 and I just referred to twenty-somethings as kids.

Vacations. I do take some exotic vacations. Showers. Trips to Target. My morning cup of coffee. It’s all very glamorous.

Shame. I have none. Are you under 3 and need your nose picked? Let me do that for you. I have touched a lot of snot. I have worn a lot of snot. I have touched and worn a lot of poop. I did a lot of public breastfeeding. Oh you must hate this one. I know you. You’re a bit of a prude. And there I went and did all that nursing in Target. In restaurants. At the park. On airplanes. In my defense I tried to cover up. Of course there’s no covering up in childbirth. You would never have survived as a teen mom. The number of times I was on full glorious naked display while pregnant and in labor would have been too much for you. I sure hope you covered your eyes.

This. Instead of writing the science fiction, historical romance, or murder mysteries of my youth I just spent hours creating this highly unflattering list.

I could try to be less offensive to you, teenage me, but you don’t know a thing about motherhood. It’s messy and the childhood years are short. So I’ll continue doing what I’m doing. I’ll raise my children to be smart, funny, and kind. I may often appear disheveled and my house occasionally resembles an episode of Hoarders. I’m okay with that. I want to take in every single messy moment even if I look a little foolish in the process.