We have all heard of empty nest syndrome, when your children graduate and move out of the home.
But, what about just before that stage— when your kids are in their teens, having increased independence and craving freedom to become their own selves? When there is less time we as mothers are needed to physically care for our child, creating more “me time.” Time to join gym, travel, change your style of clothing and appearance, upgrade a vehicle or engage in extreme sports.
This stage could be classified as the “midlife crisis” that we hear about. We are middle-aged, our babies are growing, and we suddenly find ourselves needed less. To combat our feelings of sadness, we may do things to give ourselves a boost (skydiving, anyone?).
But what if you don’t see this midlife stage as not really a crisis at all?
What if you are celebrating this midlife parenting thing like an achievement award and not even realizing it?
Celebrating This Stage
I have made it to the midlife stage and I must say, I have not experienced a crisis or psychological stress, but a huge lack of it. I have more time to focus and relax.
But, let’s not forget that even though our child’s independence has increased, there are still many parenting challenges present in the teenage years.
We have all heard the comments about a person that went skydiving, dyed their hair purple, got a nose ring, or traded in their minivan for a Jeep! With the conversation ending with, “They must be a having a midlife crisis.” Or, is it simply that they have more time for things they had on their bucket list but never crossed out because they put their family first?
Time for Myself in Midlife
Right before I turned 40, I got inked. Not for the first time, but for something that I truly wanted and that was special to me.
After I turned 40 I went to a Botox party with my friends.
My midlife fun continued as in the form of upgrading my wardrobe, making more time for massages, manicures, and bingo nights. I began spending more time on myself and with my friends.
At first I admit I felt guilty. I had been putting every waking minute, dollar, and emotion into my kids and career. Working hard each and every day, putting my whole self into making sure I was a loving mom and dedicated employee. That was my main goal. And I met it.
But then I found myself needed less and with more free time.
And so, over the past few years I have enjoyed engaging in these small indulgences. It made me think – do people, parents in particular, engage in these behaviors because they are having a mental breakdown? Or, are they simply celebrating their achievements of success?
You nailed the parenting stage and rocked the career at the halfway point. Bring out the bubbly. Do the midlife “crisis” fun. You earned it!
Things to Remember in This Time
- With your kids becoming older and more independent, it is time to give them space.
2. Your kids will be fine if you are not present for a few hours every now and then.
3. Use the extra free time on you. It will make you a better mom.
4. If you have regret about not attending certain events or get togethers, this is your time to start showing up.
5. Engage in the hobbies and extracurriculars you did prior to becoming a momma.
And for those of you that are not at this stage yet — when you get there, don’t forget to celebrate!