Here’s what I remember thinking when I was pregnant with my first daughter: I will never be that wife who, when her husband comes home from work at night, greets him at the door only to pass off the baby and then promptly retreats to her bedroom alone.
Nine years of marriage and two kids later, the only way in which that hasn’t come to pass is that when my husband does come home and I tag him as the “it” parent, I have a glass of wine in my hand and the rest of the bottle waiting for me on my nightstand.
Kelly Clarkson is on the cover of Redbook‘s May issue, and in an interview, declares, “I always swore [my marriage] would not be a relationship where we have to schedule sex. That is never going to happen.”
You can’t blame her — or any newlywed — for saying that. While she claims she and her husband, Brandon Blackstock, have an “oxygen-mask mentality” about their relationship, wherein “take care of yourself first” is their motto as a couple, they’ve also been married for less than two years and their daughter is not even one year old. At the risk of sounding cynical, this will change.
She’s not the only young bride and new mother to think the bloom will never fall off the rose. That’s not to say the marriage is doomed to disintegrate or she’ll realize being a mom and/or wife isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But at some point, whether you’re a Hollywood star with all the help and resources in the world or a real real housewife doing it on your own from 9-5, the honeymoon bubble of playing house and welcoming babies always bursts. What’s underneath may be even better, although it’s also always different.
In addition to the not-scheduling-sex thing (because most all marriage and parenting veterans will admit this is a necessary evil), expect these other six mom vows to be broken eventually:
1. You’ll always stay sexy for your partner.
Despite what Eva Mendes says, you will start wearing yoga pants at home and possibly going a weekend (or, let’s be real, a week) without washing your hair, never mind putting on makeup and something pretty. Marriages are important to maintain, but so is your sanity. When something’s got to give if you’re working, caring for children and a home, oftentimes the first thing out the door are concerns about your personal appearance.
2. You will grow closer to your partner after having a baby.
If by closer, you mean equally exhausted, even that’s not true. Sure, you’ll both share in the unspeakable delight that babies can bring. But if one of you doesn’t eventually envy the other’s closeness to your child or free time away from the child, you should go out and buy a lottery ticket on your way to view the unicorn that just landed down the block — because you are seriously lucky and rare. Babies may cement your family bond, but they can also make you feel farther away from where and who you were as a couple before they came along.
3. If you loved each other enough to marry, you’ll agree on how to raise your children.
Falling in love deeply enough to want to spend your life with someone is not necessarily a predictor that you will have the same views on child-rearing. Discipline methods, diet philosophies, and household routines can be astonishingly different from person to person, even if in every other non-child aspect of your life you’re remarkably similar.
4. Parenting is a 50-50 split.
Good luck with that. While you might have married the most outstanding person on the planet, in the history of relationships, there is no recorded instance of two people in the same bed staying awake at night making mental notes of how the next day, week, and month will unfold precisely, despite having only 24 hours in each day and 29 hours worth of things to do. Usually that mental work (and much of the physical work) falls to one parent more than the other. Even if you agree to that arrangement at the outset, it can still be tough. However, assuming it’ll all be even-steven can result in some serious resentment once reality rears it’s ugly and tiring head.
5. Your marriage will always come first.
It doesn’t mean you love your partner less if you put your kids first. You probably should put your partner first, and that has likely been your intention all along. But the fact is that when kids need something, they’re a lot less apt to understand the concept of waiting until later so that you can hear all about whatever your husband needs to tell you right this very second about what happened at work/with his buddies when they went bowling the other night/what his sister’s cousin’s friend’s in-law told her brother about that friend of a friend of yours from college.
6. You’ll never take your spouse for granted.
The good thing about finding the right person to marry is that they’ll probably assume that you will eventually take them for granted. In the first few years of marriage, it’s best to try to avoid this, of course, or at least before you start having kids. That’s because inevitably, after the babies are born and your family’s life is overrun with playdates, carpools, practices, homework and after-school activities, sometimes dispensing with the niceties just happens. And if you’re dealing with someone who dissolves into a puddle of tears because they failed to volunteer that dinner was delicious or it totally slipped their mind to go drop off the already-overdue library books, staying together forever is going to start to feel like a mighty long time.