Motherhood is tough, but good. As a mom who also writes about Millennial life, I have discovered three essential elements to help modern women embrace these changes, lessons that I pass along to new moms I know and meet along the way. Here are three things I've learned about how to make motherhood work today:

1. Embrace the good ways that you've changed, like getting smarter. Sure, college broadened my interests in various subjects, and helped me to grow in my chosen field of study. Being married has taught me how to live in-tune with another complex human being. But being a mom has helped me organize and problem-solve faster than I could before. When you have a little ball of chaos constantly threatening order you learn to identify the key factors, take variables into account and execute more quickly. It’s like I can divide how many hours of running errands by how many stops, and arrive to a perfect number of diapers, crackers and fruit snacks to put in my purse.

2. Find friends who love being a parent. I actually haven’t run into many people who don’t like being a parent, but I’m just sayin’ find the ones who really enjoy it. I talked with a couple I ran into in Santa Monica a while ago with two sons. One parent said to me “It’s just awesome, isn’t it? We love it.” I paused for a second, sort of surprised by the spontaneous candor, and replied “Yea, it really is, actually.” It made me feel good to see other parents taking their parenting experience seriously, and also enjoying it. I also have a couple friends I hang out with often who have kids around my sons age. The more you see other parents enjoying the ride, and sharing the bumps along the way, the more you’re able to enjoy it as well. Plus, your kid will make friends too, and there is nothing cuter than your little kid’s “buddies.”

3. Still be you. Having a kid will change your life. It will change the amount you have of the following: time, emotional energy, physical energy, money, to name a few. Before you’re a parent you fear an identity crisis, but really it’s not the end of the world (or you), just time to re-route. For many moms and dads, there is a fear that you might just not be the “parenting type”. . . whatever that is.
If you’re a creative type you might be scared that your inspiration will suffer from lack of time or too much regimented living (which is required when you have a kid). Find inspiration from your kid. Sure you have to have a bedtime routine, but you also have a crazy uninhibited little muse on your hands now. Who knows what they’ll do!

If you’re a planner plan plan plan to the smallest detail in order to get a good grasp on the parenting thing. Having a kid is chaotic but it doesn’t mean you can’t give up a sense of functionality. In fact, kids thrive on structure. Even if they are constantly trying to prove otherwise by coloring with your lipstick all over the couch.

If you’re a creature of comfort
find ways to help your kids get energy out as you recharge your natural zen state. They may need to climb up and go down a slide 80 times, but at the end of the day you’re the one to hold them as they go to sleep. Gentleness and patience are totally underrated parenting qualities.

If you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, or are an adrenaline-junkie you may find in your kids the only people in your life that have the same level of energy that you do. Of course you can’t go skydiving or extreme rock-climbing with them, but they may surprise you with the level of ridiculousness they naturally possess. Just make sure to get the basics down of child-raising: food, diaper changes, doctor appointments, bed time and bath time. And, of course, make sure the kids are safe at all times.

I know “2.5 kids” is included in the American Dream, and it’s not for everyone. But I hope that Millennials won’t gloss over the having kids part of the dream over fear of what they might lose. You gain so much more. It’s just awesome, actually.