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An open letter to our nanny (and all other similarly situated young ladies)

Dear You,

I know things have been a tad rocky between us recently (I want you to help out when the baby is sleeping, you want to watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I, in turn, want to vomit and cancel cable).  So you may not believe I am sincere when I say that I am worried about you and for you.  But, it is true.  I am.

When I met you a mere nine months ago, you were an energetic, vibrant, take-on-the-world young woman.  Or that’s your interview persona, in which case, bravo, she got you the job.  You were also pre-boyfriend.  I am inclined to think the marked change, let’s call it a decline, in you has had something to do with the latter (don’t you dare disagree with me because it is the working thesis for this post and so help me I am too tired to come up with another one.  Have you seen how long it’s been since I’ve posted?).

You recently said to us that you are “bored.”  At first, I nearly tore my hair out with an insane amount of jealousy – raising two small children, one of whom is a newborn and genuinely believes I am an all-night buffet; working a full-time, professional gig; finishing my novel; and attempting to maintain quasi-meaningful relationships in a space outside of Facebook take their toll on a woman.  Then I just sat there and watched.  I get it.  Your life right now is without purpose, without much meaning, and that is why your spark has fizzled.

I get that it is summertime, college classes are out, and you spend a decent chunk of your day with a drooling cooer, who while adorable, can’t really hold up her end of the conversation.  Yet.  But, you also have countless hours to spend with friends, pursuing hobbies, trying to get yourself a job outside the child care industry, as this does not seem to be your great passion.  So, I ask you, what are your passions?  What lights you up?  Ah, yes, your boyfriend.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice chap.  And he seems to come from money, which apparently helps fills in personality gaps.  But this almost-man can’t be your everything.  Here’s why.  He’s losing interest and he is going to leave you.

The hard truth is that you’re not so much bored as boring.  You are like me when I go on at length at Belle’s ability to roll over or poop out of her diaper.  I will tell you something that I hope you won’t take the wrong way, no one cares, save maybe your mother because everything you do will be brilliant in her eyes.  Trust me (on both counts).  Since you have taken up with him (we’ll call him “AM” for almost-man), your friends have disappeared, you stand expectantly and nervously over a phone that never rings (I guess you kids do everything by text these days?), and you spend vast swaths of time tending to your personal appearance.  That is it.  Since you live with me, I see it day in and day out.

I am going to follow in my dad’s footsteps of always sharing great quotes (or cliches) when dispensing unsolicited advice.  “Perhaps the world’s second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore.” -Sir Cecil Beaton  (For other great boredom quotes, I recommend checking out this page: http://www.happypublishing.com/blog/boredom-quotes/.)  In the past several months, you have given up every interest you had and all of that brain space has been filled with thoughts of AM.  Where is he going when he says he is with “friends”?  Is he going to call today?  If you make him more baked goods does that make him like you more (oh, if only affections could be purchased and maintained so easily)?  Will he marry you? You are now guilty of committing both major crimes Sir Beaton spoke of.

He is not going to marry you, because no matter how many tricks you picked up from Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s not enough.  The fact that your increased purchases of Victoria’s Secret items in recent days have done little to turn around the trend of more and more time going between visits is a good indicator that what I am telling you is true.  Now even if you’d maintained your identity through this courtship, he still may not have stayed interested.  You two are YOUNG.  But, the fact you are currently without any identity of your own is going to be the driving force behind this break-up.  (Note the chorus of nearly 40-year-old women behind me saying, “Amen!”)  We’ve all done it; subsumed ourselves into our boyfriend’s persona.  But, they didn’t fall in love with themselves (most already were/are in love with themselves), they fell in love with the whole people we were before we started dismantling ourselves and reconstructing in their images.

I don’t know where your girlfriends are to tell you this, but I haven’t seen neither hide nor hair of one of them in months.  You mentioned that they stayed in town over the summer, so I can only guess time with them was replaced with time with him, and then with time thinking about him in his absence.  Call one of them now.  Go get dinner, go shopping, do whatever it is you like to do with your friends.  You will need them.

More than anyone else, you need yourself.  Remember her?  Pretend for a moment, as painful as it may be, that AM has already broken up with you.  How would you fill your day (after the crying/chick flick phase)?  What would you do to get your mojo back?  You might pick up a book.  While I am sure there are literary gems in the flurry of text messages you receive, I have noticed that the only book you have cracked on my watch, aside from school books, is the aforementioned Fifty Shades of Grey.  I truly feel I have failed you in some way.  There are entire worlds waiting to be discovered.  Whatever your thing is, there is a book out there for you.  You should know that I do not subscribe to the theory that “reading is not for everyone.”  You can learn countless things from books.  And, since it apparently is not obvious to you, education is sexy.

Get outdoors.  I know you run to stay in shape, and I have to admit that recently post-partum me is a little envious about the condition you are in.  You also go outside for approximately two hours a day to tan.  Stop that.  You will get serious skin damage down the road.  Don’t believe me?  Take a good look at my upper chest the next time I wear a V-neck.  And I have better skin than you.  Start going outside to explore the world we live in or your own inner self.  There is a beach 20 minutes away and hiking trails only a 10-minute walk away.  It is a crime that you spend your free time watching trashy tv (I do not begrudge you the sleeping.  Get in as much as you ever wanted if you think you are going to have kids).

Go to a museum.  We live outside one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country.  There is an amazing cross-section of cultures and an abundance of culture generally an hour away.  You may borrow my car to do it.  But learn something new.  Expand your horizons (and I am not talking about watching Real Housewives of Atlanta just to mix it up a bit).

Learn a new language.  Travel (you’re young enough that you can ride the Green Tortoise and stay in hostels without it being permanently damaging in any way).  Do something, anything, but please don’t complain that you are bored.  I read somewhere that if you are bored, you lack imagination.  You are the generation I will be relying on to care for me when I am old.  Please, please cultivate your imagination.  I have high hopes that we won’t turn into Idiocracy, but sometimes when I watch you, I am not so sure.  Don’t give up on yourself and don’t lose yourself.

Maybe no one has told you this, certainly not AM, but you are too important to turn in to someone else.  I was shocked when you told me that for your birthday, which marked entering a new decade, you let AM pick the movie because you just didn’t care and you wound up seeing a movie you never would have chosen to begin with and you hated it.  Really?  This is how you choose to celebrate you?  If you don’t know what you like, discover it.  Now is the time to do so, before you get married, and before you get subsumed again, this time with kids.

In a time when women are fighting harder and harder to maintain the basic rights we have, we need you to be tuned in to yourself.  And you will never land that rich husband you seem to want without knowing what you want and being worldly.  I am sure Melania Trump speaks multiple languages.  Physical beauty is no substitute for companionship and if you want to be the booty call, you’re on the right track.  But, if you want to be someone who is taken seriously, you need to stop wallowing in boyfriendness and start wallowing in you.  You will get your confidence back and, as a side benefit, I bet AM will come around a little more often.  Though, someone who takes so little interest in your interests that he is willing to force you to see Prometheus on your birthday when it’s the sort of movie you hate might not be the right one.

Reclaim yourself.  You’ll be happier.  I’ll feel more secure in my future.  And you’ll be a better example to my daughter and young girls everywhere.  The bonus is, since this seems to be a priority for you, you’ll find a quality partner more quickly if you demand the best for yourself.  Even if you are alone for a while, you won’t feel lonely.  *fist up in air*

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