Hello lovely readers,
If you checked out my inaugural post on the blog- Welcome to the M Life, you got a little bit of an intro on why I think it’s important to address the challenges of millennial motherhood (and motherhood in general) but also why I think millennial motherhood gets a bad rep when it doesn’t need to. I wanted to follow that post by addressing some of the specific things that I think are misconceptions about millennial motherhood and give some of you amazing readers out there who are considering parenthood or currently pregnant a little encouragement, because I know I needed that (and definitely still appreciate it).
If you have kids already I would love to know what you think about these misconceptions and whether or not they apply to you because I certainly don’t speak for everyone, but I’m sure many of you will agree that while a lot of things will absolutely be harder after you have kids, your ability to enjoy life doesn’t end as a parent. The post was on the long side, I had a lot to say! So I split it into two parts, look out for part 2 this weekend.
Misconception #1: You’ll lose the romantic connection with your partner- I often hear two ideas of marriage after kids floating around. Some people have such an idyllic view of parenthood that they believe it will automatically lead to an amazing bond with their partner and even give them the ability to save an unhealthy relationship in some cases. The other view (which I hear most often) is that all romantic spark automatically goes out the door with intimacy once kids arrive. I believe that both are a little extreme and while the former idea is almost always untrue, the latter is often untrue. There are moments when my husband drives me crazy. I’m sure most wives can say that. And those moments definitely increased when we had our first kid because increased responsibility and decreased sleep will do that to you. But it’s certainly not necessarily true that you lose all romantic spark or connection after you have a child. On some levels I’m able to appreciate my husband more after seeing him embrace fatherhood the way that he has. I love that we have a family unit, and I’m excited to see it evolve over time.
Maintaining our separate relationship with our new role as parents is a tricky balance sometimes. Time alone together (date nights etc), time apart, and really great communication make things easier and I’m still learning to navigate that balance. But despite having a toddler and a newborn, I spend time alone with my husband almost every night starting at 9pm (this is possible because my oldest son has a consistent bedtime, so if you’re not there yet don’t worry it will get easier) and we still go on dates when my mom or sister is available to watch the kids. Unfortunately they’re moving soon (and so are we) so my access to free help will be more limited, but I plan on finding a reliable sitter in our new area to keep the date nights going. Any relationship requires effort, and you don’t have to let your role as parents stop you from connecting with each other.
Misconception #2: You’ll never travel/do fun things again– Yes it’s harder to travel after you have kids. You can’t jet set off to Bali at a moment’s notice, but you can still go to Bali (or wherever you have in mind) with some planning and a great support system. Calling on our family for overnight childcare allowed us to do a really relaxing anniversary weekend in Charlottesville the year that my eldest son Mason was born, and a fun, food-filled spa babymoon in Vegas when I was pregnant with my youngest son Myles. My husband and I plan on doing at least one big trip alone together each year. Travel can also be more difficult financially because you have new and competing priorities. But a good savings plan or swapping out a faraway destination for something fun close by can still allow you to scratch the travel itch.
Another thing we as women often deal with (especially in the early years) is Mom guilt when we’re away from our kids. But taking time for yourself to do something that you enjoy can help you de-stress and give you renewed energy to tackle all those Mom tasks when you get back. You’ll also have the added bonus of travel with your kids. Family vacations can have their stressful moments, but there’s also nothing like experiencing the wonder of something new through a child’s eyes. I can’t wait to take my kids to Disneyland when they’re old enough.
That’s it for now, in part 2 I’ll be addressing 2 more common misconceptions about millennial motherhood. Let me know your thoughts!
As always wishing you lots of self-care,