Is There Life After Parenting?
Read more life after parenting from Christine Field on her site, RealMomLife.
Like many moms, I gave my ALL to mothering. All my energy and creativity. Mothering grew and shaped me in ways I could not have imagined.
But time, toddlers, and teens have marched on. The days of up-to-my-elbows mothering have drawn to a close.
I did not easily transition into a season of new interests and pursuits. It has been filled with stops and starts, wrong turns and rerouting.
The transition turned out to be a process of looking ahead and dreaming dreams, looking back and recapturing passion, and looking around to explore new frontiers.
Looking Ahead to Life After Children
Clarity began to emerge when I took time to examine what interests and passions have lain dormant while I invested in the sacred calling of motherhood. As I mulled these matters, I found myself giddy with anticipation!
Why? This is the time when I can focus on myself, without guilt or hesitation, without needy little people pulling at my shirt or asking to borrow the car keys. It is the time to unpack and reignite my passions and fuel my mojo.
What about you? Has it been a while since you felt enthusiasm? Indeed, are you trying to identify what lights you up?
When you were younger you were probably curious about a hundred things, some of which matured into passions. Maybe you loved a film so much that you had to watch it every single day. Maybe you loved an author so much that you read everything they wrote. Or maybe you were fascinated with dinosaurs and were sure you were going to become an archeologist?
So how do you reconnect to those old passions you once had? How do you reignite yourself?
Living the un-ignited life is like being ready to cook a gourmet meal while the pilot light on the stove is off. You know what you need to do.
Looking Back to Rediscover Passions
One of the best ways to find out what you are passionate about today is to think about what you used to be passionate about.
In other words, what didja usta do?
When you were younger you probably wanted to be an astronaut or a princess, or both, and it’s only as we get older that we are told to find something more “adult” to be interested in.
For me, it was writing and music. I had urges to express myself that could not be silenced. Then I realized that the life of an artist was more struggle than I was willing to endure. So I went to law school. Go figure.
But just because we’ve been forced to bury those old interests, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there still bubbling (perhaps boiling!) under the surface.
And just because you might not realistically become an astronaut, that doesn’t mean you can’t still chase a passion for space, or for travel, or for new horizons in studying the cosmos– whatever it was that originally drove you to feel so strongly.
Spend some time thinking about what you’ve lost touch with. What was it that once captured your interest and imagination? What didja usta do? How did that make you feel?
Looking Around For New Passions
Sometimes you will find that you have lost interest in the things that once were so amazing to you. If that’s the case, no worries. I lost my ambition to be a flute player with the Chicago Symphony, but I never lost my love of words.
There is nothing wrong with finding new things to be passionate about. Or, you could also try adding a new spin to an old passion. For instance, while I once fancied myself as a broody Irish fiction author, I now joyously write non-fiction articles and books.
Rediscovering old passions is about respect for the past, but it’s also about growth and development and not forcing a square peg back into an old, round hole.
(When I was a sophomore in high school, one of my teachers wrote in my autograph book that I WAS a square peg in a round hole. At the time, I thought it a bit off-putting. Now I rejoice in it!)
Moving Forward Once You Have an Empty Nest
So, where are you at?
Are you willing to take a little look back to see life after parenting?
What didja usta do?
Pay attention to how you feel when you think about those things. Do they light you up and make you feel excited? You’re on the right track.
What if you look back and conclude – meh, as the kids say. Nothing quite grabs you. That means you need to create some new experiences to try on some NEW pursuits and talents. The world is so full of wonderful things that you WILL trip across something delightful.
It’s your time. What will you do with it?
It’s time to reignite mom!