I got my pink slip today. I knew it was coming, but I thought that I had more time to emotionally prepare. The actual firing is a year away. You see, my youngest child just officially became a senior in high school. The baby! The first two I practically held the door open for and helped them pack. This child hits hard. She’s the baby. The LAST one. My full time job as a professional hands on Mom is coming to an end. No gold watch, no engraved plaque. Like the first two, boundaries will be set and I’ll grin and bear it each time I’m reminded that I’ve gone over the line. The new Mom rules can be so hardÍ¾ too close, too demanding, too smothering. It’s a constant mantra of, “Remember not to overdue it.”
My days are so full. Between my full time job, meals, school forms, sporting events, plays, parties,
sleepovers, homework patrol, outfit critiques and answering texts I never had time to do “me.” I was
always so busy doing “them.” Years of stuffed passions, desires and dares wedged down into my
core. My memory of those perceived thrills, gone. If that joy can’t be tapped into, you can’t know
what to ask for physically, emotionally, spiritually or financially.
I see a lot of women like me. Women who have been handed an empty nest, not even having asked
for one. The days are too long and the house is too damn quiet. They wander into empty rooms
looking for a purpose. Looking for a new role. Everything begins to hit a nerve. They are personally
offended when their partner is 10 minutes late. They resent the easy giggles when hearing the
latest water cooler rumor. Doesn’t he know that I’m lost? Doesn’t he know that I’ve broken down
Whether you’ve gotten your pink slip or know it’s coming, prepare for the bumpy ride. Prep makes
the difference between the cyclone white knuckle ride or the soothing carousel.
Luckily, I’ve written a prep strategy for you. Use these 5 tips to find balance in your transition. If you
willingly embrace this mothering rite of passage, it will eventually even out into a new, exciting
chapter of adventure and joy.
1. DETOX from the noise.
Unplug from the constant distracting background noise. Do you reach for the radio before your
seatbelt is even on? Does it really matter who Maury proclaims the “baby daddy” to be? Start with a
day of being unplugged and then slowly increase the amount of time. Get to know that inner voice
again. Learn to enjoy your own company. After all, who else is with you 24/7?
2. FIND a tribe.
Talk with other women who are in your situation. You’re not alone. Find a support group, coaching
group or Facebook buddies in the same situation.
3. KEEP your baggage with you.
Don’t kiss your children goodbye with a heavy burden of knowing that you feel lost without them. It’s
not their issue to worry over. Put your big girl panties on and work through it.
4. DON’T resort to quick fixes.
There’s nothing better than a shopping spree to get the adrenaline going. Don’t resort to temporary,
fast “feel goods” for an instant high. Nothing good EVER comes from an affair, overeating, drinking
to excess or drugging.
5. DELIGHT in the miracle of your children.
You created those miracles. You’ve gotten them ready to go out into the world, support themselves
(sortakinda), and become productive members of society. That’s HUGE!!!
Going through any life transition can be difficult. The stress can paralize our ability to cope. It can
negatively affect our wellbeing and ability to function as well as we would like.
Sometimes we need help taking back control. Get support if stuck. Partner with SOMEONE who can
lovingly put you on solid ground. In hindsight, a crisis is always a blessing. It forces us to get honest
and take good care of ourselves.
You’ve spent decades caring for everyone else. It’s your turn.