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7 Things You Need to Know Before The Wedding

Make sure you're on the same page before the big day.

Being engaged is a season of anticipation! You feel all kinds of excitement, right? You can’t wait! Before the wedding arrives, that and the honeymoon are all you can think about! (Plus, you can’t wait for all those wedding questions to stop!)

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What to Do When You Don’t Really Like Your In-Laws

If you want to try to have a good relationship with them, this is for you.

In-laws are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. They might blow through boundaries. Your in-laws might meddle in your marriage. You might even be having a hard time living with your in-laws. Possibly, they’re totally toxic. This isn’t about any of those things.

Sometimes, your in-laws are just difficult to get along with. But you want to try to have a good relationship with them.

After a few years of marriage (or less), you soon realize saying “yes” to forever with your spouse really did mean saying “yes” to forever with their family, as well as uncomfortable holidays and long weekends filled with awkward situations and tension for as long as you both shall live.

You want to like your in-laws. You’ve tried to like them. But you don’t. 

So, what do you do? How do you get along with people you don’t really like?

First of all, did you notice I said “get along with” and not “like?”

The truth is, you may never like your in-laws. And that’s totally fine. You don’t have to. It’s just important to keep the drama and the tension to a minimum as much as you can for the sake of your spouse and your children (if you have them). Even though you formed a new family when you were married, your in-laws are the reason you have your spouse and a new family to begin with. If nothing else, try to respect them for giving you your spouse. 

Secondly, be as empathetic as possible.

Maybe your mother-in-law is mega passive-aggressive and a little odd, and your father-in-law is just kind of a jerk all the time. TRY (keyword here) to look past their glaring flaws and put yourself in their shoes. For instance, your mother-in-law may be passive-aggressive because she really just wants to spend more time with you but doesn’t know how to say it. Maybe she’s even a little intimidated by you. (Note: If you’re the daughter-in-law, this is NOT uncommon… I mean, you did take her place as the prioritized woman in her son’s life. Forever.) 

And, maybe your father-in-law is a little unhappy with himself or unfulfilled in his life. Maybe they’re both a little off because their marriage and relationships aren’t as healthy as they used to be and they have some resentment and anger to work through. Being empathetic doesn’t mean you excuse their behavior. It just means you take a different approach to understand their motives and actions.

Third, tell your spouse about your uneasy feelings, but remember you’re talking about their parents. 

Be vulnerable and open with your spouse every chance you get. But, when it comes to talking about their parents, keep in mind that there’s a fine line between stating your feelings and being critical of their family. It’s okay to say, “I felt sad when I heard your dad talk to your mom in that tone of voice.” It’s not okay to say, “Your dad is a total jerkface. I can’t believe your mom has stayed with him this long.” 

Be sensitive. The truth is, your spouse more than likely already knows there are some odd bits about their parents. They did live with them during their most formative years. 

What's Your Communication Style With Your Spouse?

Fourth, set those boundaries with a smile.

You and your spouse want to start a new tradition around the holidays, but your in-laws insist that you come to visit them. Kindly and firmly say, “No.” If you want your in-laws to call before dropping by, tell them! Maybe you would prefer that your father-in-law not watch certain shows around your children. Let. Him. Know. Setting boundaries keeps things nice and tidy and leaves the guesswork off the table. 

ALSO, and this is very important, each spouse should set boundaries with their own family. So, you talk to your family, and your spouse talks to their family. It’s much easier for a parent to have a potentially dicey conversation with their child than with their in-law.

IF your in-laws don’t like one of your boundaries, and they throw a big fit, let them. You do you and what’s best for your family. If they get so mad that they never want to see you or speak to you again, then that boundary worked out more in your favor than you ever imagined it could. (Jk. Jk.) But, seriously. You can’t change or control their reaction. If they act immaturely about it, it’s not your fault. That’s their issue.

Fifth, different doesn’t mean wrong.

Everyone’s family has a certain way of doing things. It’s totally natural and normal for your in-laws to do things differently than what you’re used to, but it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. And it also doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It just means you’re different. For example, you grew up having a big feast on Thanksgiving. Your mom made awesome cinnamon rolls and a giant fruit tray, and your dad made the best omelets you’ve ever tasted. But, your in-laws go to McDonald’s and grab Egg McMuffins. It may seem weird to you, and not as fun or exciting, but it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. It’s just their way of doing things. Accept them for who they are and try not to look down on them for not living up to your standards or expectations.

Last but not least, texts go both ways.

Pursue your in-laws. That’s right. You heard me. Be friendly to them. Make an effort. They’re your family, too. Sending a text every now and again to check in won’t hurt you, and you know it’ll make them feel loved (even if you don’t like them). Send them cards on their birthdays. Invite them to big celebrations in your life. Let them learn more about you and your life. Who knows? You may just influence them to be a little more likable.

Marriage is hard and family is complicated. Both take a lot of work, but the reward of deep, meaningful connection is so worth it in the end. While you may never reach a level of relational bliss with your in-laws, these six guidelines should keep the drama to a minimum and maintain peace in your marriage.

Other blogs you may find helpful:

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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We’re Total Opposites! Can Our Relationship Work?

Examining your differences can be key to finding out.

You’re in love and you’re total opposites. Is this your true love? Can your relationship last forever? Do you guys stand a chance? You’ve heard “opposites attract” and you’ve definitely felt that attraction, but you can’t deny how opposite you are either. (Your friends and family constantly remind you…)

Then, maybe in quiet moments, the nagging questions creep in…

How different is too different? Are we total opposites? Maybe opposites attract, but can opposites also drive each other crazy? Is there a point where you are so different that you are forced to concede that you aren’t compatible? Does it matter how different you are if both of you are willing to accept each other’s differences? Can there be a “balancing act” between the differences? He has this one t-shirt that he thinks is so cool and it’s all I can do to not burn it! THIS CAN NEVER WORK, CAN IT?

Calm down. Take a deep breath. These are (mostly) good questions to be asking! 

If we start with the idea that EVERYONE is already different from each other to some extent, then the next thing to understand is that the bigger the differences, the more you will have to work to function as one, to be unified, to be a team AND the more you’ll have to work to avoid conflict, arguments, and deal with disagreements. 

This is a key concept. Got it? Bigger differences equal more relationship work.

I’m using “bigger” here as in how important are the differences? (Personality and character, core values like religion or politics, issues like whether to have kids, parenting styles, or approaches to conflict, communication, sex and money.)

Some people get hung up on the little differences and don’t even consider the BIG ones. The little differences are the spice of life. Different taste in music or food. City or country upbringing. Cake or pie? (Pie of course!) Those kinds of differences keep things interesting. But there are Big Differences that can make things difficult down the road. Have you thought about those?

In theory, you’d think it doesn’t matter how many differences or how big they are if each of you is willing to do the required work. (“But we love each other!”) That sounds so nice.

In practice, people have limits, get worn out, or have certain things where their partner just has to be on the same page. Worse, sometimes you can’t predict the impact of the differences down the line. Listen, the rest of your life is a long time.

Give some serious thought to these next little pieces of wisdom:

First, marriage tends to magnify your differences, NOT minimize them. It certainly won’t make them go away. Oh, and you or marriage aren’t gonna “fix” him or her. If it’s a “thing” while dating, it will really be a “thing” when you get married.

Secondly, in general, while they are dating, people tend to greatly underestimate the impact of these differences, while, at the same time, overestimating their ability to look past them. (Read that last sentence a couple of times. I’ll wait.)

Why can’t they see straight? They have these big blindspots called “Attraction,” “Being In Love,” “Infatuation” or “But He’s/She’s So Hot! Then at some point, a few years into the rest of their life, they are like, “Wow, this is really, really hard!” (If children come into the picture, multiply the difficulty level by a factor of at least five.)

Here’s the thing, nobody is going to be able to tell you definitively, “You guys are just too different.” There is something there or you wouldn’t be dating, right? But here is some help seeing around those blind spots…

Are the differences in core values, non-negotiables, or just preferences?

I’ll use my 25-year marriage (That’s twenty-five years. A quarter-century!) as an  example. We. Could. Not. Be. More Different…

Her idea of a fun Saturday morning is re-organizing the kitchen cabinets so she can check that off her List of Things to Do. (That’s an illness, right?) Then she wants to proceed to the next things on her list, all equally as exciting to me. My perfect Saturday is watching some (pretentious) art-house movie, then analyzing and endlessly discussing the cinematography and the significance of the director’s color palette while listening to some obscure Icelandic band.

She is a grounded, list-making Doer. I am a list-averse, head in the clouds.

She is concrete. I’m abstract. She’s about accomplishments, I’m about … not.

All these are real differences, BUT we pretty much completely agree right down the line when it comes to religion, spirituality, and politics. We have the same non-negotiables of honesty and loyalty. We both wanted kids and wanted the same things for them. (But, man, if my life depended on buying a dress for her that she would actually wear, I’m a dead man.)

Do the differences complement or compete?

She is more of an extrovert who loves people and parties. I’m an introvert who is good at faking being extroverted. She loves the crowds on Black Friday. I hate them. But, if she has to return something and has lost the receipt, I will be called upon to talk our way out of that with the manager. I’m just good at that sort of thing.

See, when encountering differences, people often make a judgment as to who is better and who is worse. If you can avoid that kind of thinking and be more like, “Where does THIS come in handy? Where does THAT?” now you are complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Boom.

Are the differences an obstacle or an opportunity?

Religious differences are unique. Now, you can say that in this arena you’ll just agree to disagree. That’s sounds grown-up. Might work for you two. But It will be a thing with the in-laws. In fact, it will be THE thing. If you have children, you will have to pick which traditions they will be raised under. That can cause some serious tension! I’ve seen it. Just sayin’…

Speaking of children, it can be really good for them to have parents who are significantly different but model how to make that work and play to their strengths. Maybe the kids end up being balanced and learning valuable life skills. Or maybe they grow up seeing their parents arguing all the time because they are so, so different. Are you guys arguing a lot now?

Are the differences a problem to be solved or a tension to be managed?

Some differences might get smoothed out a bit over time so they don’t rub each other so sharply. but they will always be there. These differences aren’t something you solve, they are something you learn to live with the rest of your life. You cool with that? 

I don’t have a wife who enjoys talking about philosophy, movies, music, books, art, or the beauty of the word “oblivion.” She indulges me and works at it and is a really good sport about it. I try not to wear her out and corner her with lengthy conversations about Southern Gothic authors.

She doesn’t have a husband who will ever be organized, be good about budgeting, will jump up to tackle some project around the house, will ever want to go jogging, or organize my day around a list of things to do. I know that stuff is important to her, so I work at it. We both have accepted these thingsWe had to grow into it… It was hard for a long time until we figured it out.

Are the differences equally valued?

This is important. For us, this has taken some time and has been tough. When it comes to our differences, she likes to claim, “Hey, at least I get stuff done.” Then I say, “Yeah, but you miss out on so much beauty and wonder and will likely die from a stress-induced heart attack.” (Point, mine. Check THAT off your list…)

We have learned to play to our strengths. Who do you think makes sure that bills get paid on time? Who do you think helps our kid with his Shakespeare project?

Spending the rest of your life with someone doesn’t require uniformity – that would be boring. It does require unity. Whatever the differences, you will need to be able to stand unified. Unified against challenges, problems, hardships, the test of time, and even sometimes things like in-laws and often your own children. It’s gonna be you two total opposites against the world. Is there enough common ground for you to stand together?

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

For more resources, see our Dating and Engaged or Marriage pages.

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Build an Unbreakable Marriage Right from the Start! 

(And get a discount* on your marriage license at the same time!)

Preparing for Marriage is an online course that will guide you and your bae on a journey to build a solid foundation for your marriage! From communication to intimacy, conflict to in-laws, we unpack 8 fun and fast-paced lessons in short videos that will provide you with all the essential tools to create a thriving marriage.

Plus you’ll have access to healthy relationship experts, Reggie & Lauren, by email every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement!


*Must live in a qualifying state where a discount is offered on your marriage license for completing premarital education or counseling.

Have you ever had a friend who completely began to ignore you when they started dating someone? Or a friend who began acting differently once they were in a relationship? How did that make you feel? Angry, irritated, frustrated? However it made you feel, we all say that will never be us until… it is.

Dating can be hard, especially in today’s digital age. You can’t open Instagram without feeling bad that you are single. When it comes to dating (or not) there are some things we have to be aware of. There’s not a right or wrong way to date, but there are unhealthy and healthy ways!

How can we make sure we are staying true to ourselves while also being in a relationship? Here are some dos and don’ts of dating…

Dos:

  • DO take your time. Good things come to those who wait. Anything worth having is worth waiting for.
  • DO stay true to who you are. Never forget where you came from. Be who you are because losing yourself is not worth it.
  • DO know what you stand for! You don’t have to compromise what you believe for others. Be strong and stand for your values. If they don’t like it, it is possible they’re not supposed to be in your life anyway.

Don’ts

  • DON’T block out your loved ones! Closing out the people who have always had your back is the last thing you should do. There is such a thing as having a family life and a social life while in a close dating relationship, trust me!
  • DON’T let your relationship status determine your worth. No, you’re not a loser because you’re the only one in your friend group that is single. Go live your best life. Being single can be lit! You don’t have to worry about someone eating your food, Valentine’s Day isn’t a huge deal for you, and no one gets upset with you for not calling them.
  • DON’T get in a relationship just because everyone else is in one. It’s completely fine if you’re single…

Listen, you don’t have to date right now. It’s okay to date yourself for a little bit. It’s okay to live in the moment by yourself. It’s okay to take yourself on dates. It’s okay to learn about who you are. It’s okay to tell yourself you’re beautiful or handsome. It’s okay to reassure yourself that you’re not alone- you have people in your corner! Don’t rush for the status. The heartbreak isn’t worth it.

For more resources, see our Dating and Engaged page here.

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What, exactly, were you expecting when you got married? Did you expect marriage and your spouse to make you happy?

Are you on the verge of stepping across the line into the world of marriage with your beloved? What do you expect when you get there? Are you expecting your “happily ever after?”

If you’re like me, I had all kinds of aspirations about traveling the world with my wife, going on endless adventures. It was going to be tons of fun! We would be so happy! But of course, real-life quickly set in, and we came to understand these weren’t the most realistic expectations we could have.

Great expectations in marriage make a marriage, well… great! Expectations give you hope for a fulfilling and enjoyable relationship. And who doesn’t want that? I’ve never talked to any couples who desired a less-than-happy marriage together.

But there’s often a very fine line, though, between great expectations and unrealistic expectations. And unrealistic expectations make marriage—you guessed it—unrealistic. So these unrealistic expectations, often unspoken, wreak all kinds of havoc on the marriage.

And ironically, what is the biggest and most popular of all unrealistic marital expectations? Expecting your spouse to make you happy. 

Yup, you heard me right.

Every married person wants their spouse to be happy. But a married person can’t control their spouse’s happiness. If your partner feels pressure from you to be the sole provider of your happiness, that pressure will eventually cause damage. You will always be looking for something from your spouse that he or she can never provide enough to satisfy you, leaving you in a constant state of frustration. Your spouse will always have a weight on their shoulders – a sense of inadequacy and failure.

This is such an unrealistic expectation because happiness is a complicated thing—it is a combination of genetics, circumstances, and decisions you make, not a reality your spouse can manage and maintain. Making your spouse your Happiness Manager sets him or her up to fail at something they weren’t meant to do. 

The fact of the matter is, life is full of ups and downs, unexpected turns in the road, and bouts of chaos- happiness is never a guarantee. And life in this regard does not change once you are married. Marriage does not solve problems, alleviate stress, cure addiction, create balance, nor give enlightenment. Marriage is not an automatic happiness dispenser. Therefore, your spouse is not—and cannot be—your source of happiness in life.

Author Gary Chapman calls these kinds of expectations “If Onlys.” If only my spouse would work less… If only my spouse would lose weight… If only my spouse would wash the dishes, take out the trash… Then he/she would make me happy

So how do you go about reversing these unrealistic expectations?

First, ask, “Where is this coming from? What is it that makes me think my spouse should provide my happiness?” These kinds of expectations usually come from something in your past – maybe some kind of unmet need that you’ve experienced earlier in your life. Or maybe they come from our culture, our circle of friends, or maybe even social media.

When you start recognizing the source, you take the pressure off your spouse for “fixing things” and “making you happy” and “making everything alright,” and you can put energy toward resolving the source of that need for happiness and getting it in perspective.

Another way to counteract this unrealistic expectation is to start recognizing marital expectations that are truly realistic and healthy

Dr. John Gottman lists several marital expectations that healthy couples aspire to in their relationship:

  • Be good friends.
  • Have a satisfying sex life.
  • Trust one another.
  • Be fully committed to one another.
  • Manage conflict constructively – arrive at a mutual understanding and get to compromises that work.
  • Repair effectively when one hurts the other.
  • Honor one another’s dreams, even if they’re different.
  • Create a shared meaning system with shared values and ethics, beliefs, rituals, and goals.
  • Agree about fundamental symbols like what a home is, what love is, and how to raise children.

These are good, healthy, realistic expectations to aim for. And they are hard enough.

One thing to remember—just because it’s unrealistic that our spouse provides all our happiness doesn’t mean that a fulfilling, remarkable marriage isn’t attainable. When you turn toward your spouse‘s needs and focus on them—you find true marital joy and fulfillment is much more within your reach. Now you have found true happiness!

Looking for more marriage resources? Click here!

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

What happens when the one you love isn’t your dream guy? Well, there might be The One, but then there’s also the one you actually marry.

“The One” is where things are going really great, you’re into him, and he seems to check a lot of the boxes. He’s cute, your heart races when you see him, and you get butterflies being around him. You think, “This is it, right?” This is the fun and exciting, sweep-you-off-your-feet, true love that you see in the movies. It’s finally happening to you!!

But then it ends.

He didn’t choose you, or you decided not to choose him.

A little back story – my boyfriend is tall with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He smart, athletic, and hard-working. He dresses a little outdoorsy and preppy- absolutely no hipster or granola (which I thought would be a quality of my dream guy). I can’t even get him to try on joggers. What matters most is his amazing character and his heart- but we’ll get to that later. 

So I transferred to Andrew’s college in the middle of my junior year. Even though I told myself that I would never follow a boy to school, the move was better for ME. (Whether Andrew was there or not, that decision was what was best and healthiest for my life.)

When Andrew graduated, (a year before I did), he moved to Greenville, got a big boy job, and decided to live at home with his parents to save money. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m thinking about where I want to be. I’ve considered all the paths I can take & thought about the ones I truly want. I have always loved the thought of moving somewhere far away, whether it’s Vancouver or India, but I know that no matter where I went or what I did, it wouldn’t change anything between Andrew and me, because what we want is each other.

So, we have talked about a plan. We’ve known we want to marry each other for a while, but we both have talked about how we’re not ready to get married yet. We want to work and live on our own after college, because we think we’re young and still have some growing to do when it comes to responsibility and maturity. He’s saving money for a ring, we’re both saving because we want to get a house when we get married and we have no money to our names.

We’ve talked about things. We’ve communicated our goals and what we want. And, most importantly, we’re on the same page.

We are best friends. We can trust each other, we have the same purpose and goals in life and want to be teammates in pursuing those goals, work well together and balance each other. Love and forgiveness is at the core of our relationship, even when it’s hard and when the other person messes up. We’re together because Andrew sees my heart and that’s what he wants to be with, and I see his amazing heart and I’m so lucky to have found it. He is one of the best people I have ever met. 

His character is incredible and amazing, which is more important than if he wears joggers or not. You get to figure out what are deal-breakers and what are not.

Andrew does not have the personality I would have chosen; we are complete opposites and don’t understand each other easily. He is not what I imagined my dream guy would be, but I love him. It took and still takes a lot of communication and work. But I have learned to love and appreciate, and even sometimes need, his differences. Who Andrew is as a person and will be as a husband and father one day, is a deal-maker over and over again.

Our love is so much better and even more romantic than the movies, because it is real. Andrew has shown me love in deeper ways than Hollywood movies do or what I imagined in my daydreams. We’ve loved each other even when it’s hard, which makes our relationship even better and stronger.

I’m glad it’s not perfect. The One isn’t Prince Charming where the stars align and you see the signs and everything is right – it’s the one you choose to marry because you see who they are and they see you and both of you are excited about doing this life together. That’s why it will seem right.

I do not have to be with Andrew. I really don’t have to be. If I were on my own, I would be doing the same things. I would be who I am. I would want what I want. I’m not with Andrew because I’m afraid to be single. (I actually sometimes think it’s easier to be single, because relationships take work and it’s easier to get away with being selfish when you’re single.)

I’m not with Andrew because I’m afraid I won’t find anybody else. I know what’s best for me, I know what’s healthy, I know Andrew and I are a really good thing. I’m glad he’s in my life and he’s the person I’ve created a relationship with. We didn’t have to, but we chose to because we love what we see in the other person and life is fun to do together. 

And that’s the difference between the one you love and your dream guy.

Looking for more relationship resources? Click here!

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Okayyyyy ladies… Let’s talk about dating & The One. Does The One actually exist?

You probably grew up believing that one perfect person exists who you had to fall in love with and marry. They are our Soulmate, aka, The One.  And there is this fear that we won’t end up with the one we’re supposed to end up with, so we take this mentality into the dating game and freak out about making sure we pick the right one.

And that’s exactly what I did. I went on a quest to find my Soulmate, the guy that was exactly right for me, have a perfect love, and live happily ever after. Seriously.

I always dreamed that the guy I would end up with or The One would be a tall athletic guy with blonde hair and blue eyes. He would be outgoing, adventurous, and into photography and traveling like me. He would want to live in different countries and live a non-traditional lifestyle and dress like an outdoorsy, granola hipster.

The One can understand all my emotions, read my mind, and know exactly what I am thinking, and I dont even have to say a word. He would do and say all the right things because he was, The One. Duh.

When this didn’t happen…and it didn’t, I would FREAK. OUT.

When Andrew and I first started dating, I freaked out all the time. “OMG, should I stay with him? Or should I date someone more outgoing, or someone that talks more, or someone who does photography too?” (All valid considerations.) I was like “Ugh, is this right? I don’t know…”

But then I started to rethink The One. I noticed it in the little things and I realized it in the important things, that I could really see myself being with him. Instead of figuring out who I’m supposed to be with, I get to choose who I want to be with. I know he is The One because he has become my person. I would like him to be mine for a long time. (But I won’t say he is The One out loud until we are engaged.)

I expected that when I met The One, I would know, and he would know, and that it was meant to be. We had found the one we had been looking for and it happened easily, obviously, and “just like that.”  So I tried to look for all the signs to figure out if this was the guy I had been looking for- The One that was the right one, that I’m supposed to marry, oh, and he knew I was The One, too.

LOL, OK.

Andrew may not fit all the qualities as the one to find by destiny. I instantly knew he could not achieve perfection. But check it out– He is the one that I got to know and build a relationship with. He is the one I want to choose to love and grow a life with. So it never started with, “Yes, he’s The One I’m supposed to stay with.” It was “Yeah, we like this and work to make it work and it’s good.”

There’s a big difference between those two mindsets. Dating isn’t about finding The One; the trick is to find the one who you can make it grow with.

Looking for more relationship resources? Click here!

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“I hear so often that your entire life changes when you become a mother. But I just really want to know how… How exactly does it change? Like, specifically.”

As we walked down the sidewalk on a cool spring day, my best friend, who was pregnant with her first child, asked me this question.

I suddenly felt very nervous, as if I were in an interview and my answer was going to be highly scrutinized and dissected to its core. How can I possibly narrow down the specifics of a life-altering experience? I racked my brain and let out an anxious chuckle as I grasped at how to articulate all the million ways my life changed when I became a mother.

“I think the biggest thing that changed for me is… time. Before kids, I thought I was busy. I thought I had a never-ending to-do list. I thought I was overwhelmed. But I had NO idea what busy was. After kids, you literally have no time. You are working 24/7, whether it’s at a job or at home or both. You are constantly taking care of everyone else’s needs. All. The. Time. It never stops. And it’s the most exhausting and overwhelming thing you’ve ever done. You’ll sacrifice so much… but it’s so worth it because you will finally understand what unconditional love is.”

I vividly remember the moment I realized what being a mother meant.

My first daughter, Jackie, came as a happy little surprise. Although I certainly didn’t feel ready to be a parent, at the ripe age of 27, I found myself with the most precious bundle of joy. There was a flood of emotions as I navigated the waters of motherhood, especially when it came to being a working mom. My entire perspective changed one night, as I rocked and nursed my sweet baby to sleep after a long day at the office.

I realized that motherhood is a thankless job; expected; commonplace. It’s just what you do.

There are no awards given to the best mom. No “Mom-of-the-Month…” (although there should totally be!). You don’t get a raise for doing an exceptional job. No one congratulates you on calming a screaming baby or praises you for changing 50 diapers in a day. There is no recognition for how many times you woke in the middle of the night and no trophy for the fact that you are still able to run on three hours of sleep (barely). And all that hard work you pour into making and sustaining this tiny human will never get you a promotion.

But the paradox is that being a mother is actually MORE rewarding than any amount of acknowledgment you could ever receive. To experience the love a mother has for her child is beyond anything I can begin to describe. It’s supernatural. It’s divine. And that’s what keeps us going at 1 a.m., and 3 a.m., and 5 a.m. … through the blowups and blowouts, the baby blues and the bliss.

Motherhood is a thankless job that I, for one, am so very thankful to have.

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