Tag Archives: motherhood

Leaving Motherhood

MotherhoodDiscovering my sense of self causes me to reflect on my motherhood role. I spent the last 25 years being a mom. I was far from perfect – just ask the kids. But I loved them and my life revolved around them. While my kids were the center of my world, I never felt like one of those moms whose children were her entire universe. I took classes, had different business ventures and served at church and in Cub Scouts. Absolutely my kids were a huge part of my life, but I had plenty of other facets of my life.

When I got divorced, my foundation was upended. So much of what I thought was reality, turned out to be just my reality. I was aware of plenty of loose bricks in that foundation while I struggled through marriage. Afterwards, those bricks and several others crumbled away. I moved, left my network of friends and the comfort of my neighborhood. I was over 40 years old and for the first time I was living on my own.

I started working full time and I tried to do everything I did as a stay at home mom. I am still surprised that I’m still adjusting three years later. I tried to keep as many of the bricks in tack as possible, but only so much can could fit in a day. I now hate the saying “you make time for the important things”. I had to let go of many things that were important and clung to what was vital; work, motherhood (although in a much different form), and learning. I discovered writing isn’t a hobby, it’s the key to my sanity.

As much as I loved planning elaborate theme parties for my kids, I didn’t have the time or energy. The upside is they had outgrown the structure and preferred to hang out and eat. They lost interest in other traditions and often preferred to spend time staring at a screen or with their friends. I was tempted to try to force them to play with me, but I know the whole “You’re going to fun and like it” thing rarely worked. I tried to plan with them things to do. But feeling them cut those apron strings often left me more isolated than my divorce or moving away from my friends did.

Two years into my ‘new life’, I was still struggling to adjust. Then my middle daughter left for college. This is the daughter that cuddled and comforted me since she was little. She started mothering me before she was 10. We’d spent Nestevery day together for several months before school started. When she moved away, I felt so alone. I wandered around the house lost. I knew I’d miss her, but I wasn’t prepared for how much.

It’s a little early to be facing empty nest syndrome since the twins are still home. With the core of my world slipping away, more bricks crumbled and I had no footing. I suppose if things went according to plan, I would be part of a couple and we would handle the change by focusing more attention on each other and rekindling our relationship.

But the realization of how little my kids need me makes me see the importance of figuring out who I am and what makes me happy. I can’t depend on validation from my children, my boss, or a significant other to provide acceptance. I have to do it for myself. I’m the one responsible for building my bridge with bricks of self-love and purpose. I guess the advantage of being alone is I’ll have plenty of time to figure it out.

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Celebrating Halloween Just for Me

Halloween MummyHow do you celebrate the holidays? For the last 25 years my answers focused on my attempts to make the holidays memorable for my children. Now that they are adults and teenagers, they aren’t interested in many of the traditions of their childhood. Without the kiddos to concentrate on, I’m left me pondering what makes the holidays important to me and how to celebrate in a way that brings me joy.

It’s back to my word of the year, happiness, and figuring out what makes me happy – just for me.

I keep calling it an adjustment, but it feels like opposite extremes of the spectrum! All those years, bringing my children joy truly made me happy. The flip-side of not having them to focus on sometimes leaves a painful void. It’s hard to not take their lack of interest as a personal rejection – that I’m not important to them, rather than the activity. Realizing what I was doing to myself has helped a little. But I’m still trying to fill the gap.

With Halloween is around the corner (yikes!) and once again I’m looking for how to celebrate that feels like me.

Halloween candyWhen I was a kid Halloween was cool because you dressed up and got candy. With my kids, I stuck to the cute side of Halloween. I loved walking around the neighborhood with my kiddos, visiting the neighbors. But my favorite part was talking and laughing with my kids. Last year, my trick or treating days came to an end when my teenagers chose to hang out with their friends or had to work. I’m so glad I was able to enjoy taking them out one last time the year before, even though my neighbors gave me grief for not sending my teenage kids trick or treating on their own.

My oldest daughter loves the scary side of Halloween, with her haunted houses and zombie walks. But I’ve never been into the spooky parts. Do you know how hard it is to find Halloween activities for adults that don’t revolve around getting scared or drinking?

I bought a costume to wear to work on Friday and we’re having a potluck. I’m thinking about making Monster Munch and Mini Mummy Bagel Pizzas. I also put together a “pumpkin” decorating contest. I gave everyone a print out of a blank pumpkin for them to decorate. We’ll invite the other teams to vote for their favorite.

If I have enough energy, I’ll spend Halloween night in the driveway with festive activities for my trick-or-treaters; paper pumpkins for them to decorate, pumpkin bowling, and a bean bag toss. Maybe a few quick games of Halloween bingo or I could share some Halloween trivia.

I’m not sure if any kids will be interested in taking a break from their candy quest, but it is fun thinking of the possibilities. I think I’ll be okay on my own this Halloween.

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The Change

I miss having little kids, it’s such a change. I love my teenagers; they’re not sassy or rebellious. But, I miss the “excuse” to celebrate silly little holidays, having weekly summer themes and the other fun kids activities splattered all over Pinterest. Granted, my teenagers will play along with my silliness – especially if there is food involved. But at this stage of the game they are just as content, if not more so, to hang out in their rooms with their noses in books. It’s weird feeling like an empty nester when we’re all home together.

I don’t think it’s just me though. Take a minute and compare the number of blogs focused on young kid activitiescompared to the number of with teen activities. It’s about a 1:5 ratio. I think there is a golden window for themed stay-at-home summer camps and ice chalk. That window quietly starts shutting as the kids approach junior high.

Maybe I’m also missing being a stay at home mom. I enjoy my job and I work for a great company. But it’s hard to get everything done, much less to find the time to make Groundhog Day cupcakes.Ground Hog cupcakes

All the more reason to revamp my blog. I’m in a different place than when I started my blog all those years ago. My challenge to adjust to my current life has seeped over to how my blog no longer feels like me. I’m hoping a blog makeover will help me feel more comfortable here, and maybe help me on my journey to feel more comfortable in my own skin.

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Striving for Balance

Balance of beautyMy word of the year is nurture, but my word for this life is balance. Everything always seems to come back to finding balance – nurture and direction are part of finding my ultimate peace, but that peace comes from balance.

Summer always seems to emphasize how challenging it is to strike that balance. I want to spend time enjoying my children while they are out of school, I want to teach them responsibility, the importance of work and education. I want to help them develop a love for learning and the desire to develop their talents.

If that wasn’t enough to fill a summer, I also have my own responsibilities and a desire to continue learning and developing my own talents. We all have a need for social time and even down time to just relax.

Every summer I know the challenge of pulling it off in a satisfactory manner. I usually only achieve it for a few days each summer.

The rest of the days are skewed one direction or another. I spend the whole day with my family, then scramble to meet deadlines. Or I work and research, then feel guilty that my kids are bored and want to do stuff with me. Yes, they should be able to entertain themselves – and they are usually pretty good about diving into a book. But it seems foolish to not spend time with your kids while they still want to be with me.

Now that summer has passed, I try to remember all that I’ve learned and fiddle with the balance of our lives. Maybe I’ll have a better handle on it next summer. There’s always hope, right?

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