I used to despise my minivan. While I don’t want to seem ungrateful, I hated it. It screamed uncool Mom. Before everyone gets mad at me, I knew being a Mom wasn’t about being cool, but sometimes I felt like my cool side was just dying. It was smothered out of me in those early Mom years having had our two girls just 18 months apart. Now, I see that feeling that way was a choice. I chose to become “Momified”.
Momification is a subtle process – and you slowly allow it to change you. Kids are the greatest blessing and joy, however when life begins to center completely around the kids, it can be to the detriment of the parents. With our first child, we struggled with infertility and were blessed and lucky to get pregnant naturally and unexpectedly with our second. I threw myself into motherhood and suddenly found my husband being squeezed out. Read closely. Momification (or Dadification) occurs with the complete abandonment of self—the parent’s goals, aspirations, hobbies, sexuality and identity. If you can’t remember decent sex with your husband or a date night with your wife—start to check yourself.
I want to talk about how it affects the marriage or relationship of the parents. Momification kills a relationship. Kids need nurturing to grow, but so does a relationship. If you find yourself in your yoga pants non-stop, talking incessantly about the kids and nothing else to one another—you may be on your way to complete Momification. Things can quickly and easily get out of balance since kids command a lot of energy and attention. The trick to avoiding Momification is to check your balance.
It might mean you need to re-boot. Take inventory of where things stand in your relationship. Ask yourself—what needs to change? Where do I need to re-focus some of my energy? Often this means being a little selfish again. Pay attention to your needs more as well as your partner’s. Ask them where things can improve. Take care of you. Ok, that sounded all SNL Stewart Smalley, but really, if one of you isn’t happy then neither is your partner or your kids.
No worries, Momification is a reversible process. The anti-Momification is time spent together not talking about the kids, their schedules or kid issues. It’s alone time just for you and for enjoying the other aspects of life. Find a sitter and give the kids a fun movie night, ditch the yoga pants, put on a dress (or tie) and hit the town. Have fun and the person on the other side of the table might really see YOU again---the unMomified (or unDadified) person they know and love.