I recently started joining a small group of women once a week to gather and do life. This was a bit of a stretch for me as lately I have found solace in being home, with my yoga pants and no makeup, and my nose in a book or blog. Outside of business networking, I haven’t done anything like this in nearly 10 years. A lot has happened to me in a decade and I’m in a completely different place in my life. Even so, I didn’t think that would have any bearing on my experience with a gathering of women. However, as I introduced myself and tried to participate in the exciting conversations, I quickly realized how much had changed in my life!
A DIFFERENT TYPE OF TRANSITION
Giving birth and becoming a parent involves transition. Not only do we transition from kid-free lives doing as we please – to everything in our life revolves around the kids- but the whole labor process involves “transition”. Those moments (or hours) when the pain and wordless feelings make you wonder if this is actually a good thing; the panic of knowing there’s no going back; the thought that you can’t bear one more moment of pain and truly wanting to kill everyone in the room. It is in transition that our joy is oh-so-close even though it feels hopeless. We transition from an individual to a parent and it takes a lot of adjustment. You know the transition is coming, but when it comes, it is sudden. Once we pass transition, we are a completely different person.
After a transition, it is a time of rediscovering.
These lovely ladies grouped together to talk being a “mommy” of toddlers, babies, and even school-aged children. As they chatted, with each word I felt myself standing on the outside and looking into a place I had not been in awhile. It was completely foreign to me and it made me scared for a split second. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 18 years and suddenly I didn’t relate to young moms.
Even worse, I didn’t want to.
Wow. For the first time, I was no longer interested in talking about diapers, temper tantrums, toys, bedtime rituals, homework, or anything else like that. I’m on the verge of an empty nest. My step-daughter is in her 20s and has her own home and job. My son is 17, a junior in high school, and just finished his first summer working a full-time job. He’s saved up enough for his first car and he has his own life. Yes, I’m still mom and he still needs me, but not like it used to be.
Then it hit me in such a stark way that I had lost my full-time job as a mommy.
I knew that it was coming. I got my first taste of not being needed when I drove my son to his first job fair earlier in the year. That was a wake-up call that transition was coming. I saw it and ever since have been trying to prepare myself. Yet, suddenly, as I was listening to these ladies who were so much younger than I was and in a completely different stage in their life, I felt the cold water of reality hit my face.
- I was NOT one of the young mothers anymore, and
- I was now a part of the “older women”
Oh man. What an awakening. Well, actually a shock.
NO GOING BACK
Who I was in my mind for nearly 20 years was suddenly, “poof!”, gone. My heart stopped for a moment, and I could tell I was holding my breath. It’s like walking in a door thinking you are Cinderella, but then the clock strikes midnight and you look down and see an old hag! (Well, not really, but pretty close).
Once I gathered my composure (it was only a short moment), suddenly a deeper realization hit me.
- I don’t miss being a young mom.
- I’ve learned so much through those years and have no desire to go back. You couldn’t pay me enough to walk that road again.
- Maturity is far more beautiful than youth.
- Each stage of parenting was so precious, including the one I am in now.
- My son and step-daughter are amazing young adults. I am so proud of them.
- Motherhood is now entering a new phase, with its own excitement.
- I may not be needed as much physically, but speaking words of wisdom and life, versus instruction, is so rewarding!
- Time has opened up for me to rediscover myself. I’ve finished one calling, and I can maintain that role in a different way, but I now have plenty of time to embark on a new calling and adventure!
MOMMY TO SHIPBUILDER
As a mother, it consumed every thought and moment I had. Even though I tried to pursue business and “discover my purpose”, I never achieved very much. This was because my very purpose was to raise godly children.
When I walked in the door to that women’s meeting a few weeks ago, I was a full-time mom, but when I left I was a shipbuilder; rediscovering myself as I build my ship to head out on my next adventure. Oh, and on a side note…
I didn’t go from princess to hag. I went from princess to a wise, weathered, warrior with a depth of beauty only time can give!
What was a brief flash of shock, sadness, panic, and fear quickly set in as strength, resolve, and full-on excitement!
I’ve laid aside my Cinderella dreams and am raising up as a Galadriel (for all you LOTR fans). All these years I’ve been gathering the supplies for the ship of my new season and didn’t even know it.
Now it is time to build!