We all have those seasons in life’s journey that create a sort-of paradigm shift; a moment of self-realization or actualization. The most well-known season is often called a “mid-life crisis”. Generally associated with men in their 40’s rebelling against the responsibilities of family, day-to-day duties, and unfulfilled dreams. They long for the days of spontaneity and the sense of invincibility. For women, there isn’t any particular label, but one might suggest, “Post-motherhood depression”. In any case, any season of change can result in questioning one’s identity and then setting out to rediscover, and redefine, who we are.
I heard folks say that becoming a parent is like hitting a pause button in your life. That’s like a 20-30 year pause! (depending on how many kids you have)
I’d say parenting IS your life. There’s no pause between the day your first child is born and the day the youngest child leaves the house. Who I was prior to my son’s birth has no bearing on the person I am today.
I’m standing at the doorway of an empty nest and my first instincts are to revert back to pre-baby days…but there’s a problem; I have no resemblance to that young woman so long ago.
My years of parenting were not a “pause” to life…it was a full-on fruit-basket-upset!
Being a parent became my very identity.
Every decision I made, move, relationship, goals…all centered around the impact it would have on my son. From the instant he was born, my role in life instantly became one of protecting, caring for, developing, teaching, and investing in another human being. Suddenly, I was forced to think about someone other than myself.
It wasn’t “pause” and then I’ll pick up back where I left off.
In railroad terms, it was as if I was looking out the window, enjoying the scenery, looking ahead, and suddenly someone threw a switch and I was on a totally different track.
Most of my adult life has been preoccupied with raising a little human. However, I woke up a few months ago and realized I no longer have a small child who needs me every minute of their life. I find myself staring into space and wondering what to do with myself. I see that rail switch is about to be thrown again and I’ll be on yet ANOTHER track!
Business and Parenting
As soon as my son was born, my friends changed, eating habits changed, my sleep changed. Instead of nights out with friends, late night BBQs & campfires, canoe trips, waterskiing, sailing, & hiking, I spent money and time on diapers, toys, books, baby food, and clothes. As he grew, I was tending to the special needs of a child with Aspergers, homeschooling, dealing with divorce and protecting my son from emotional trauma (while dealing with mine).
All the while, I was attempting to be an entrepreneur.
No matter how much I went to seminars, stayed up late, and dragged my son to various home parties or meetings (I even built him a school area/playroom in a women’s boutique I owned), the reality was that I would drop everything in an instant to meet his needs and be there for him. I determined if anything would suffer, it would be my business endeavors – and they did. I gave my all to parenting and was conditionally committed in business.
There are no regrets…for two reasons:
- Raising a child is worth the investment. If we don’t raise our kids, society will (and it’s not the best part of society either). Society, and even well-intentioned folks, only seek what they can get out of someone, be that a paycheck, grants, votes, support, or another benefit. A parent is the only one who truly invests IN a person when there is no promise of a reward.
- While I couldn’t give my all to developing a business, I picked up numerous fragments of experience, wisdom, and knowledge along the way. At first, I felt like a failure. Now I see that every moment was teaching me something new.
My Future Is In The Fragments
Recently I heard someone say, “Your fortune is in your fragments”.
That got me thinking…You know, my future is in my fragments!
In redefining myself post-parenthood, I’m gathering all the bits and pieces of experience, successes, failures and building a great future out of them!
What seems like unrelated, unusable fragments of my past are the foundation stones of my future.
No matter who you are or what major changes are happening in your life, every day or experience can be a lesson that is the fragment of a bigger picture.
There are no wasted moments – only redefining moments.
If you are not where you thought you would be, or you think the last “X” amount of years were wasted, I hope you realize that nothing is wasted.
Moments of loss, failure, grief, or disappointment are redefining moments in our lives. Moments that cause us to tack with the wind – sometimes it’s a good wind, other times not so much. Either way, they both create momentum towards building who you are.
I’m not going back to who I was. I may be quite weathered, however, I like who I am developing into.
I am eager to see the picture that is painted with the pieces of my past.
Same for you – gather your fragments and start building your fortune and your future with what you already have! See each trial, set back, or unexpected season as redefining moments.