Live for each other, not the kids.
I am constantly intrigued by my generation of parents who have created this cult of “mommy-hood”, passively excluding not only non-“mamas”, but fathers, as well. Some mothers today flood social media with pictures of their children—their soccer games, private, day to day moments, magazine-like, manufactured memories which all appear to be designed to increase “likes” on their social media, all the while, creating an artificial facade of what life is really like. So why do people do this? Do they think this is the stuff of true family bliss? In my work as a therapist, I see on a regular basis what this does to marriages, both new and old—parents, especially mothers, are living for their kids and kids alone, and forgetting about the partner who they dreamed of building a family with in the first place. As the pressure to keep up the facade builds, marriages and relationships suffer-- these couples grow older, they grow father and father apart, and when it comes time for the kids to leave the nest, they are living with a stranger. Now, by no means is this intended to exclude single parents—their job is truly unique—but those who are with the parent of their child, or even a step-parent to your child, I urge you to stop and recognize that one of the most important things you can give your child is not the latest electronic or toy, not a fancy vacation, or even the best new stuff for school. One of the best things you can provide your child with is a true, authentic display of what a loving marriage/partnership should look like. Research supports that one of the most important protective factors for kids who live in a two-parent home is a mom and dad (or mother and mother, father and father) who clearly love and respect one another unconditionally, and display this on a regular basis. So parents, put the phone down, forget about what you’re posting next on Insta, and instead, make plans to fall in love with your partner again.