Overcoming Life after Mom-Hood
Here is the moment you\’ve been waiting for—your last child has moved out of the house and is now “on his own.” You drop off his last boxes at his new apartment, meet his roommate, and drive home with your husband to your quiet, empty house. You can finally enjoy some “peace and quiet,” you tell yourself, some “me” time for yourself, and “we” time with your spouse. You can also finally get to all those things you\’ve been meaning to do. You\’ve been looking forward to this day with mixed feelings—excited, but at the same time a little sad—but overall, you\’ve been anticipating it happily. Life after Mom-hood has begun. Pretty wonderful, huh?
Well, if you\’re anything like me (www.tinaturbin.com), the mother of three grown children, or like many other women out there who have raised their children and watched them leave home to start lives and families of their own, you may find that life after raising children may not quite be as sweet as you thought it would be. There are some definite challenges.
First of all, there is the matter of you. Who are you, after all? Many moms tend to identify themselves as—well—moms, of course. Twenty-four hours a day, that\’s what you\’ve been doing for the past couple of decades. A full-time job once meant nine-to-five to you, until you had children. Then you discovered the definition of full-time, or should I say all-the-time? Why wouldn\’t you call yourself the post title of a job you hold all the time? As a supporter of women and mothers, I know how important it is to take on this identity as a mother and I applaud any woman who does this. However, it is also important to have your own identity apart from motherhood.
Perhaps you have a career aside from being a mom, or maybe you have a hobby or two, or you might think of yourself as a strong woman who likes to help others. It can be a whole activity you do on your own or a few adjectives that you use to describe yourself—you as yourself, not just as a mother. Not only does this help during your state of mom-hood, as you\’ll find it easier to recharge on your own now and then with some personal time apart from the kids (kids don\’t want Mom stressed out, trust me—they want you to enjoy yourself from time to time), but also I found that this helped me immensely after my children “left the nest.”
This ties into the second challenge. Now what? Studies show how important it is to have goals and show a direct link between writing your goals down and achieving success. Making goals comes easily to mothers, as they are impelled by the natural desire to help their children thrive. From getting the kids ready for school in the mornings to building their college funds, the objectives were clear and you clearly wanted them.
This one is up to you. What would you like to do now? Come up with one or more goals, and you will have something to serve as a foundation for your hard work and dedication in this new life after mom-hood. You know you are strong and capable—you successfully raised a child, after all! It\’s time to put that energy now toward something else, perhaps something you\’ve always wanted to do since childhood. Whether it\’s arts and crafts, volunteer work, or learning Chinese, it\’s important to have something to work toward, whatever it is.
After mom-hood, I blossomed more than ever as a woman, launching a successful children\’s book series (www.dannythedragon.com), researching and illuminating important health issues such as gluten-free and celiac disease (glutenfreehelp.info), and participating in humanitarian efforts such as improving children\’s literacy. These are things that make me who I am, just as being a mother will always make up who I am. The satisfaction from meeting your own personal goals is a gift every mother deserves to give herself.
The final major challenge is one you\’ll face with your partner. Divorce among couples with “empty nests” is extremely common. Believe it or not, raising your children has been part of the stable foundation of your relationship, something you two shared in common as a goal. Just as you yourself will need new goals, so will you and your spouse. You two should decide on something to create together, a vision as ambitious as starting the business you always dreamed of or as commonplace as Friday Night Date Night.
Life after mom-hood is something you\’ve been looking forward to for some time now, after all. You deserve to make it as rewarding as it was raising your children.