Getting Your Life Back After You Have Finished Your Family
Getting Your Life Back:- Let’s face it having kids is a fantastic journey….most of the time.
The unconditional love you give and receive in return is beyond amazing.
You have miraculously created this little human being and from the moment they enter the world you are filled with such a sense of responsibility.
However you are left wondering, just how this parenting gig is going to pan out.
- Are you going to give them everything they need?
- Are you going to give them enough love and time?
- Are you going to know what the hell you are doing?
- Are you going to lose yourself in the process?
The first three seem to just fall into place. As long as you give lots of cuddles, have fresh food on the table and be there to listen, support and protect them from their fears and inspire their dreams, you pretty much have it covered.
It’s the last one that kind of creeps up on you. Are you going to lose yourself in the process?
Misplacing your own identity is something you don’t generally think about when you are snuggling with your gorgeous newborn. But somehow over the years you stop being “Mandy” and somehow just become “Mum” or “Dad”.
My girls are all growing up. I don’t have babies anymore. Knowing this sometimes makes me feel sad that this period in my life has come and gone, other times I voraciously welcome my new found freedom.
As my girls are now discovering their independence, I am once again finding my own also.
As parents it can be all too easy to get caught up in the lives of our children, so much so that you forget to live your own life sometimes.
There are sporting commitments, school commitments, play dates to organise and attend, birthday parties, medical and dental appointments and if you have a large family these things are never ending.
When does all this, leave any time for you?
I recently scored myself a job. To tell you the truth this is one of the best things I have done in a long time. Honestly nobody there cares who’s mother I am. They only know me as ME… Mandy. As long as I do my job properly and turn up on time they are happy. Quite a new revelation for me.
To be honest it was my husband who pushed me into finding a job outside the home.
He said rather bluntly “the kids are getting older and more independent, soon they are going to be embarking on their own lives and won’t need you so much”. It was like a dagger to my heart. How the hell did that happen so fast?
He wasn’t saying this to be nasty or hurtful, after all kids will always need their parents to some degree. However those needs change and he worries about me being stuck in the house, no kids, no job and becoming too lonely.
He is also encouraging me to go out more with my friends.
As parents sometimes we find it’s just easier to curl up on the lounge with a glass of wine and netflix (mind you that sounds damn good too), but humans are social creatures and whether we realise it or not having fun with our friends, going out to dinner, a few drinks maybe a movie, is just as important for our sanity as a few moments of quiet time.
Now that the girls are older, my husband and I are even able to venture out for dinner, just the two of us and remember what it was, that we liked about each other before all the girls came along.
The scary thing is you don’t even notice the decent into anonymity, it happens and honestly you don’t really care! I didn’t ….. until all of a sudden you do.
The truth is I was and am happy just being “Mum”. The gradual metamorphosis into just “Mum” didn’t bother me in the slightest, however the ripple effect of my re self discovery is creating a few waves around here.
There has been a few changes in our household and although most of them at the moment are quite unpopular, I think they will benefit the family in the long run.
For example, the “Chore” lists haven’t gone down too well, but after a few weeks and a new routine, hopefully everyone can work together and keep the house humming. This is proving a bit of a challenge considering I was responsible for pretty much doing everything and probably doing the girls a disservice in the process.
So what are my tips for remembering who you are and getting your life back.
- Find a hobby. Find something that you really enjoy doing. Maybe it’s learning to paint, writing that best selling novel or learning pottery.
- Have a regular night out with the girls. I can assure you that most of them are in the same position you are and would kill for a break and a catch up.
- Find a part time or full time job. Refresh your skills, employers don’t see you as “just” someones parent. They appreciate you for what you can contribute. It’s also great to earn your own money again and also there is the social side to the workplace that is beneficial too. Just immersing yourself in adult conversation once again is terrific.
- Get your older children babysitting. One benefit of having teenage daughters is getting them to babysit their younger siblings. This will free up your time to spend on your relationship or indeed maybe some retail therapy.
- Get your children to contribute around the house. After all your kids live in the house too. Teach them to use the washing machine, get them running the vacuum cleaner over the floors, maybe get them to share the cooking duties a couple of times a week. Do up a family roster and allocate certain duties to everyone. Just make sure the jobs are age appropriate.
- Remember to make time for yourself. After all if Mum is happy, then pretty much everyone else will be happy too.