Two kids. Check.
Cut to: It’s now six years later and the two kids are now in grade school from 8-3 all day…
Is this you? Are you one of those women who had that “just okay” job right around the time you met your husband? If so, let me guess: Once you got engaged, you hung in there with your day job while your main focus became “planning for the wedding.” A few months after the wedding you purchased a house and the next thing you knew you were joyfully knocked up. You then became totally engrossed in planning the baby’s nursery and suddenly, you took off like a train on a train track, wheels a blazin’ as you furiously continued to check every must accomplish on your life goal list.
So here you are, two kids in, both in school and every day they seem to become less and less interested in “mom” as their own little lives become their own. You didn’t see it coming, but one day, you look at yourself in the mirror, panic stricken, and think, “What do I do now?!”
First of all ladies, breath. Seriously, take a deep breath. Your feelings are normal and you have not completely lost yourself. In fact, your anxiety-ridden identity crisis is a tool you can use to read your feelings because what they might be telling you is this: Hey Lady, it’s now YOUR turn now to find out who you are what is exciting to you as an individual.
That’s right, Mom…the spotlight is now on you and the timing couldn’t be better as you are now wiser and more life experienced compared to your life pre-kiddies. Yet, if you’re reading this and asking: But where and how do I start to even do this?!? Well, here’s my answer:
- LISTEN TO YOUR GUT – If you are one of those women who have always valued being a mom, but secretly you wonder if you’ve loved it as much as you thought you would or should, then STOP the thoughts. Turn off the guilt/critical voice and know that maybe it has nothing to do with a maternal piece lacking, and perhaps it’s about you not feeling connected enough to you separate from being a mom. Understand that maybe you are genuinely craving something more at this stage in your life emotionally, mentally, and/or intellectually. The moms who have the most balance in their lives (and the definition of balance is different for every individual) and know how to feed their own soul are usually the ones who are equally enjoying motherhood as well.
- COMMIT TO STEPPING FORWARD – If after taking the time to listen to your gut, you realize that you in fact need more stimulation than just your role as a mom, commit to the process and make yourself accountable to take action. If have no idea what that “next role” is, simply carve out a consistent block of hours every week to help you figure out what that next idea might be. Journal, write, research ideas, etc. Utilizing those blocks of hours in any way to help you get into a creative flow without distractions will help you connect to that fire in you. However, it is key that you make that consistent appointment with yourself and stick to it! Fear, doubt and procrastination can easily rear its ugly head if you don’t discipline yourself to being accountable to make this change.
- EDUCATE YOURSELF – Once you have connected to even a general direction of how you might want to pursue this new journey, then it’s time to investigate. Knowledge is invaluable and figuring out how to further execute your ideas will only happen by seeking key information. Talk to successful people in the fields you find most interesting. Interview them or better yet, brainstorm with them about what interests you and how you may be able to make it your own niche. If starting a new online service for other moms is something that excites you, then talk to others who are doing something similar to find out how they started. Find out from them what is a must as far as how you spend your time and how not to spend your time. Be a hungry detective as far as gathering the knowledge you need and don’t be afraid to ask people for information and/or support.
- FIND A MENTOR AND/OR A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY – Being your own advocate is imperative, but also having a mentor who is actually doing what you aspire to do gives one a sense of inspiration, guidance and hope. Furthermore, surrounding yourself with others who are of the similar field, profession, etc. will provide a sense of belonging and connection and will surely help you in the self-confidence department when the going gets tough.
- OWN IT – Once you have landed on a chosen path, own it and keep your eye on the end goal. In other words, consider this as your new baby, which will take time to develop and mature as your journey will always be shaping and taking different unexpected turns throughout along the way. Continue growing your supportive community and be patient as any new project or venture can sometimes take a year to 18 months before you really see the fruit of your labor. Most importantly, don’t allow other people’s doubts (even friends or family) spoil your vision. Believe in yourself and own it!
Obviously the above 5 steps are easier said than done. The hard part will be disciplining yourself to trust the process even when it feels like all odds are against you. Remember that your “gut feeling” spoke to you for a reason and you appropriately chose to take action. Be persistent, have faith and take the leap…you’re beyond worth it.
Carin Goldstein, MFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles and the creator/host of the popular video blog, BeTheSmartWife.com. Visit her blog to watch Carin give free video tips on how to improve your marriage and sign up for her monthly E-zine. You can also connect with her on Facebook or Twitter (@bethesmartwife ).