I’m 51 and have been a mother for 34 years, well 35 if you count my first pregnancy. I have never really been an adult without the responsibility of a youngster either glued to my hip, journeying to school, cooking meals for….. well, we all know that the list is endless. I would not change any of this not for one minute, my children are precious and bringing them into the world is the greatest achievement I have. Despite the challenges we have been through, despite the worries and sleepless nights, I would change nothing.
So here I am now coming to the end of ‘my time’ as some one who has spent all these years with the thought…’what about the children.’ Not a day goes by without wondering how the food cupboard is looking, am I needed for a taxi driver today or having a little worry because I have not heard how one of them is for a week or so. It is coming to that time when I have to let go of so much of this and start to focus more on my own life and what I am now filling it with. I’ve always been a self-employed working mum, but I am noticing how different it is now to still be working, having that extra bit of head-space to focus on myself and how I will now spend the next phase of my life. My children are all growing up, focusing on their careers, leaving home and setting up their own lives. I’ve had to adopt some new strategies to ensure that I fully use this time wisely. I am not so young, I cannot waste any of my time filling it with frivolities. So the important thing is that I now use this extra ‘head-space’ (for want of a better word) to ensure that the next years are inspiring me and that I am being creative with them.
It’s interesting how many other women I know in this very same position. I’m fascinated with the women who find they have arrived at that same time in their lives, yet with no idea at all of who they themselves are, or what they now want to do with their time! I’m interested because I believe this is such a rich place, so full of potential, with possibilities of creating a whole new life, that they may have never even dreamed was possible. With so much motherly wisdom and the ability to ‘hold’ a family, mothers can make fantastic facilitator’s, speakers and organizers. Their ability to listen, have patience, act accordingly to need, understand, predict, respond with ability, analyze and so much more without hardly any so-called professional trainings, is admirable. They already have incredible abilities to step into the work force with. It’s just how to recognize that and for others to recognize it also.
I have witnessed my son’s leaving home and my daughters preparation for it. I’ve been through deep process’ in letting-go and having to stop myself from in any way trying to hold on, even when I have been afraid for them, wondering how on earth they will cope in the big world, without ME. It’s a huge test in letting go of our own importance in their lives and trusting that we have done all we could have done for them and now it is no longer in our hands.
So the focus needs to now be else where, otherwise of course the tendency is endlessly wondering ‘how they are getting on’ rather than ‘what am I going to do for myself today.’ Maybe focus on that new career idea, a class, a group, some writing? The sky really is the limit and there are endless opportunities awaiting us. Getting support for a new venture is a great idea. Some coaching to gain some insights really helps. Brain storming new possibilities with other women and doing your best not to try to go it alone. After years of doing it for others, it’s really good to have company so that isolation does not kick in, especially around motivating oneself to keep active and creative.
Of course isn’t it just wonderful when you finally get the house to yourself and can do just as YOU want to do there! But keep hold of the dream that there is so much more. Now is the time to ‘Leap!’ A time of new beginnings and a new life. An exciting time when so much of our thoughts need redirection, turning inwards looking at ourselves, WE become the focus.
First step is the body. Physicality, remembering who you are and where you came from. Even reminding yourself that you have a body and it is yours! Dance, move, join a gym, walk, run, give that body a lot of attention, you’re going to need it healthy and strong while you enter this new phase. Age can over take and before we know whats what were a Granny and then that is a whole new exploration. I’m a granny, but I’m not knitting I’m afraid and I am definitely not your classic grandmother type, whether this is a good thing or not, I really hope that my grandchildren will be proud of a Granny who is still dancing into her 90’s sharing her words and books and encouraging others to live their lives to their fullest potential, especially after they’ve had their families.
Who knows where it may end, there is a call these days for women to be strong in their femininity. To make use of the wisdom of motherhood, to teach our younger women and to be inspiring Grandmother forces within our workplaces.
Caroline & the four youngest children. Winner of Sole Trader, Women in business Awards, East Sussex, 2011.
Caroline Carey Coaching … http://www.alchemyinmovement.com/coaching.html