What Stage of Mom Life are You In?
I’ve lived through many stages of life as a Mom. Right now I’m the Mom of a guy who’s almost 23 years old; he’s launched into a life he thrives in, doing work he finds challenging and rewarding after graduating from college a year ago. Luckily, I get to see him about every 6 weeks or so. And we text now and then.
Believe me…I’ve had to adjust to this amount of contact, and this new stage of life as a Mom.
The Mom Juggle Begins
When my son was 4 I started my side-hustle…working with career coaching clients at home while I worked with MBA students during my day job. At that time, I wanted my own business so I’d have a flexible working life, and be available for my son’s day-to-day life. We all know that being a Mom is a full time gig – whether or not you ‘go to work’; it takes so much mental and emotional energy, organization, and often times invisible work to do the Job of a Mom. The years when I was working before I started my own business I was lucky to have help, but I always felt the pull to ‘be there’. I would race home from work to get dinner made, to give him a bath, to spend time with my husband, to put my son to bed…that long exhausting process of getting that kid to sleep which put me to sleep after a long day. Those were full days and I honestly couldn’t see much beyond them.
The Job of Mom
The Job of Mom – I experienced – changed every two weeks in the beginning, and then every 6 months to a year. Then we hit those early school years — just so busy with activities, school, organizing playdates, camps. I think of that as life in the middle. You’re just so in-deep with kid stuff – it’s hard to imagine having a life of your own, life to see friends, to be with your spouse without just talking about the kids. And you’re in the middle of building your career, in the prime climb time. Many of my clients feel that same conflict. They want to wring every moment from family life, and are busy exceling in their careers. It can be done, is done, and we all know it’s not easy to spread yourself that thin. It’s amazing, really, how we get it all done.
And then the teen years hit, and all bets are off. Everything changes. Adolescent personalities change, their physical appearance changes, you’re all dealing with grades and activities, social issues, college decisions…everything changes. Some of these changes are in you, too. Managing your career, on top of all that Job of Mom stuff while your kid’s life is upside down…your own goals can become more laser focused, or they may get cloudy. Those middle years can leave you breathless, frustrated and confused.
The responsibilities of the Job of Mom change as our kid(s) grow. And we, too, change. Maybe you have a partner who’s just as engaged with all of the parenting stuff, and maybe not. Maybe you’ve been working at home, taking care of the world of home life, and maybe you’ve been working your way up a ladder in an organization. You, like me, may be running your own business from home or your own office. How ever you slice it, It’s a big juggle. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes annoying, exhausting, exhilarating, challenging, fulfilling.
Launching Them and Us
Some women can’t wait to launch their kid off to their next chapter as they hit 18, others cry every time they think of it. Regardless, our identity inevitably morphs. As my son left for college, a few years back, I cried so often, and worked so much, keeping myself busy, getting ready…ready for that empty nest life stage. Looking back I see it took me 3 years to really adjust to my new status in life. I probably looked like my usual self on the outside, but on the inside I was full of questions, struggling to know what my new purpose was now that my first focus had changed.
A New Identity, Integrated
As I’ve eased into my new identity of single (again) woman/entrepreneur/coach, mom of an adult son, I still feel as youthful and energetic as I did in my 20’s – but happily, I’ve eased into feeling a new peace with how I live, work and move in the world. What I aspire to accomplish, and how, has changed. It’s different now – more focused and more open, too. I lived as a single woman without a child until I was almost 40. When I was in my 30’s and looked ahead at having a family and career, I saw a recognizable path that other women were walking. Now I know that no matter how old you are, what career path you’ve started on, you can create your unique path that works for you. It’s easy to lose sight of a path we once saw, with all of the bramble that gets in the way, and new options that can distract us or side-track us. I know that for sure. But we can also forge a new path.
Transition, at any point in time, takes a lot of thought and can be emotionally challenging. I couldn’t manage all of the internal (and physical) changes by myself. Thankfully, I’ve had my friends, a few great professionals, and a lot of learning opportunities, to help me formulate ideas, stay healthy and befriend my new identities. Now I see my life — as a Mom, as a woman, as a professional, all integrating into this new me. Full of energy and enthusiasm to birth other entities – not children J
Where are you in your Life as Mom, your Job of Mom? What do you need in order to fulfill – or even see – your vision of life ahead?
Let’s all make the most of each identity, each stage, and season, of this life we get to live! Here’s to all of the transitions in your life 🎉