It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a year since my husband and I began having discussions about me leaving my job. There was a lot of thought and planning that went into making my decision, as is typically the case with anything I do. Long walks talking about finances and logistics, chatting about my strategies for building a business on my own, planning the exact moment I would give my notice, as well as the date of my official last day of work (I really wanted off for Christmas.) I know it was the best decision for me and my family, but even when change is good and exciting, it can still be difficult.
I had spent 17 years at the hospital and nearly 11 in my current position when I left. There were many things I loved about my job. And as hard as it may be to believe, there were things I actually loved about working night shift. Think no bosses to deal with…sounds good, right? But I did not love working weekends and holidays, and I did not love not being able to take a vacation day when I wanted. I could tell my schedule was taking a toll on my family and my body.
So I left, and I don’t regret it one bit.
But it has definitely been an adjustment. It took a couple months just to figure out what my new normal was. And of course to catch up on 11 years of sleep. Then I launched my Wildtree business and was forced to change yet again. I added the launch of my blog to that list, and you guessed it, I had to adjust once more. I had left my job, but I felt like my workload had actually tripled.
Summer came, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my summer as a mom for the first time ever. I had all of my kids at home, and I was able to fully participate in everything they did all summer long. But now all of my children are in school, and I am getting a small taste of the dreaded “empty nest.” I am alone with my thoughts and one more change to deal with.
I am entering a new phase in my life, which I hate to say because not only does it sound cliché, but let’s face it, it makes me feel really old. I am, for the first time in thirteen years, trying to rediscover who I am. What are my passions? What do I love to do? What brings me joy?
Sometimes I feel that as mothers, the moment a child enters our life, we lose ourselves. It is almost as if we become host to a parasite. This new little person latches onto us, draining every last bit of energy from our bodies, demanding their needs and wants be met until we can no longer tell the difference between what they want and what we want. We go through every day with very little thought as to what our own personal needs and desires are. And over the years, we forget that we ever had needs and desires of our own.
I feel like I’ve spent the last thirteen years mindlessly plowing through each day. Making breakfast, running errands, making lunch, changing diapers, doing laundry, wiping butts, playing Legos®, making dinner, cleaning the house, helping kids with homework, reading stories, putting kids to bed. Hardly taking a moment to breathe, let alone figure out what I want or need.
Now that I am afforded a small window of time each day to myself, I am finding it more important than ever to focus on my mental wellness. I long to discover a greater purpose for my life. Don’t get me wrong, being a mother will still be my first, most important and most rewarding job, but as the kids get older I know it will not be my only job. I want to be a complete and fulfilled person when all of my kids are living their own lives.
So, I have a plan! This should be no surprise as I’m big on planning. I am taking steps to help me on this journey, and I plan to bring all of you with me as I go. Just a few of the things I intend to accomplish in the coming months:
- Joining Junior League – Being a mom can be a very isolating experience, especially now that I am finding myself alone during the days. I am choosing to open my horizons, meet new women, and hopefully make new friends. Plus, it comes with the added benefit of doing charitable work to improve the lives of women and children in my community. I want to be an example to my children of the importance of helping others.
- Daily Meditation – I know what you may be thinking, this sounds a little too “new-agey and weird” for me. And of course, as a mom, the only time available for meditating is that 5 minutes it takes to take a dump, and that’s only if you don’t get interrupted by a needy child. Very rare, right? But now that I have a little extra alone time, I thought I’d give it a shot. I mean the documented benefits are endless (i.e. relaxation, lower stress levels, increased creativity, greater levels of the “feel-good” hormone serotonin, etc.) so why not?
- Daily Positive Journaling – This falls into the same category as meditation for me – something I’ve always wanted to try but have never had time for. I’ve started several times, and have left it by the wayside several times as well. Since writing and speaking gratitude on a daily basis has been scientifically proven to be good for one’s physical and psychological well-being, this time I plan to give it a real go.
I’m sure I will think of more to add as I begin my journey, but this is definitely a start. Stay posted for updates on my progress, and wish me luck!