I think that it’s really interesting how a large part of society has led us to believe that our lives are pretty much over once we become parents. To be honest, I fell for that. That’s why I am about to be 35 years old and still had trouble accepting the news of my pregnancy. It’s too often we see parents throw in the towel and make their dreams take a back seat, leaving them with a lifetime of what ifs. The first thing my husband and I said, was “Shit, there goes our trip to Korea.” That was then followed by a whole lot of whining about what we weren’t going to be able to do. We realize now that was just bullshit. It’s a natural reaction to automatically think that we are going to be too overwhelmed with parenting that we can no longer pursue our desires. If you are that family that never faced these thoughts or feelings then high five to you! But there is still a large population that needs our inspiration and support, so share your story!
I find myself meeting a lot of mothers that just look so tired, always turning down a good time, and hardly sharing any exciting experiences that would encourage me to start a family. Of course you can see the love in their eyes as they are aimlessly breastfeeding while looking for a bra, but I mostly see lack of sleep and frustration. I’ve come across many complaints against the baby daddies and their participation as part of the parental unit. I’ve seen distance grow between friends that don’t have parenting in common. I’ve seen identities lost to parenthood where the individual is no longer who they were but only “Mom” or “Dad”. The negative aspects are not the only ones shared, but let’s be honest, how many times do we come across parents RAVING about being parents? This opened my eyes, making me aware that I want to continue to exist as ME even as I become a parent. It is so important to not lose sight of who we are and what we love if we want to be true to ourselves and teach our children individuality.
As the first trimester ended, Mike and I decided that we were going to stop fearing what we were going to miss out on in life. Instead, we made a commitment to stay a team, to continue to have fun, to raise our child in an cultured environment, and show other parents that the party can still go on. Yes, it’s going to take a little planning and a lot of team work, but this could turn out to be one damn fun adventure. We often catch ourselves daydreaming about taking surfing trips with our little one and exposing him to all the experiences that our world has to offer. There are many conversations about what we can do to keep our love and marriage alive as parents.
Being great role models and responsible parents will always be a priority to us, but it’s right up there with sustaining our identities during the process. I refuse to give up girls night out, date nights, shaving my legs, and wearing sexy underwear. I want to keep living the life I love so much and do it all while adding a mini-me to the equation. I can hear many of you laughing now as I’m sure it is easier said than done, but we have to try. Who knows, this plan may go to shit and I may forget who I ever was. Or we may have the best time our lives and actually ENJOY being parents!
To all the parents out there, please leave a comment and share how you kept your identity after having children. Or, do you feel like you have lost the identity you once had? I would love to hear your stories!