Is there life after “mommy”? Well, It actually really boils down to who is asking the question.
If young teenagers or girls in their twenties are asking, well then the answer is a simple “NO”! No there is no life; they suck all that is nice out of your persona. Zombies are friendlier. Run young one, run! My advice – go out, get your heart broken, make friends that you are able to be crazy and scary with. Friends you can just have fun with. Have fun. Establish who you are and what is important in your life. You are allowed to be selfishly indulgent at this stage in your life. Find you.
If it’s your friends who don’t have kids but want to start a family asking then the answer is obvious. (Please insert whimsical music in your mind as your read the next sentence). “Children are a blessing. They bring you so much joy and you can be your own person and still be a mum.”
If it’s your friends who already have kids they probably aren’t asking as they have accepted their fate and then it becomes all about making the most of this time by adding meaning and value by comparing whose kid had the stinkiest (apparently Microsoft word doesn’t think this is a word) poo or the biggest nappy rash. Yes, photos have been exchanged in such circumstances and that’s when it gets competitive.
I have a lovely circle of friends who fall under the ‘non-competitive mom’ sphere on whose child has had the worst tantrum in the whole-wide-world. Mine wins. Duh!
Life is different in so many ways. Some good (those cute moments when your child is sleeping), some bad (sick babies are no fun for stress levels) and the ugly (nappies, vomit and snot).
There will be tests of friendships and reassessing of priorities. Money and budget take on a whole level of stress. Schooling (oh how I can debate this for hours, days even) activities don’t get me started.
Relationships and guilt become a major focus. Planning and still not being organised on any given day becomes the norm. Nothing is certain. It’s a jungle out there and for that I think you need to carry wet wipes, sunblock, a plastic bag and water. That should get you through most situations.
Struggling to find yourself? Now that takes up a lot of time. I remember when Miss K was born. All I wanted was a space that was mine. She had this beautiful nursery (fancy magazines eat your heart out), the hubster had his study and I was dramatically going “where is my space” (this time in silent movie damsel in distress mode). I knew it would be a reality check but come on – nothing prepares you.
From the time your children are born they take up more time and the balancing act starts between working, the domestic goddess, the super-wife and mom. Being all that rolled into one is tiring work but hey you still want some fun as long as you can be in bed by 20h25.
There are the random I love you mommy hugs and kisses that you won’t exchange for the world. The pieces of artwork depicting life. The coming of age stories. You are responsible for this person, how the world treats them and how they treat the world.
To get through this all don’t forget you. Don’t forget your partner and don’t neglect your friends. They will be the ones who sip on wine or gin or coffee with you. They will be real and not judge you harshly (sometimes you need to be taken down a notch).
Our parents managed to do it all before: raise kids, work, clean house etc… but life is different now and we cannot compare.
So should you have kids? The answer lies with whether you will be comfortable and tough enough with dealing with a lot of “I’m not your friend” and “you can’t come to my party” talk. But there are so many other things that come with children that I cannot even articulate.
I could never answer why I wanted kids, I just did. I wanted a family. I have spoken to people who have tried desperately for kids and people who do not want kids. So many reasons and so many things to consider and over analyse. There is never a good time to have children because like I have mentioned before, even planning doesn’t work out.
Be guaranteed that any kind of normal after a baby is about 2 years before you can get some sort of routine. This is give and take as all children differ in everything.
So to answer the question: There is life after mommy, just a different one.