Shop the fall collection ➔

 

I’m losing my job. Not the kind that I go to from Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the other kind of full time job, the one of a stay at home mom. Nearly ten years ago I quit my successful career to stay-at-home and raise my twins. It was the easiest and yet most difficult decision I’ve ever made. At times it’s very nearly killed me. But the day I put them on that school bus for the first time, through the gallons of tears spilling down my face, the thoughts began.

What am I supposed to do now? The people who for five years had been my sole purpose of being are now in school for seven hours a day. How will I fill my days? Who am I beyond just being “Johnny’s and Susie’s” mom? What do I even like anymore? What am I good at? Those first few years of elementary school I started to reclaim my life a bit. I became addicted to exercise, forced my mind to engage on a very small scale with some freelance writing and began to dig out from the chaos that the first five years of having twins bring. I also volunteered at school every chance I could get so that I could remain as big of a part of my kids lives as possible. I thought that by volunteering I was showing them how much I cared and wanted to be a part of this new life they had that didn’t include me. I have come to realize that all the volunteering has been just as much for me—if not more so. I’ve been desperately trying to hold on to them and to my sense of purpose. And now as they get ready to head to upper elementary school next year, where rumor has it parents are not just unwelcome but unwanted, I feel that desperation growing.

With no choice but to let go even more (bless my heart when they actually leave the house and go to college), I am having what I’ve started referring to as my mid-mom-life crisis. The conversations with myself go something like this: Should I go back to work? But what about when they get sick at school or need a ride to practice? Who is going to be there to pick up the pieces when things inevitably fall apart? Look at my friends who work in schools—a nearly ideal set up in terms of schedules and being home when the kids are home—even they struggle when breaks don’t align or someone wakes up with a fever. What would I even do for work? After nine years out of the traditional workforce, am I really qualified to step back in where I left off? Who would hire me? And is that even what interests me anymore? I really enjoy learning, should I go back to school? Is that a waste of time and money when I’m currently not even using the college education I have? When exactly did I lose my mojo? Where is that girl that knew what she wanted and was ready for the next challenge? And so it goes. Over. And Over. And Over.

I thought I was alone in this relentless struggle until I started opening up to friends. The more moms I talked to, the more I realized this is an epidemic among stay-at-home moms who have made it past the early stages of childhood. Many are lost, wandering, trying to find our purpose. Don’t get me wrong—we are some lucky ladies. We are in a position where working or not working is an option. And that is a luxury I will never underestimate or take for granted. But that luxury comes with a price. And the price is a piece of our own identity.

If you are reading this article in hopes that I have the solution, get ready to be disappointed. I’ve done things like take Italian classes online, get back into playing tennis, and set aggressive goals for reading books so that I can be semi-interesting at cocktail parties. But it’s all grasping at straws and distracting myself from the real question of, “what is my purpose?” In college they had guidance counselors who helped steer you in the right direction. Is there such a thing as a mid-mom-life crisis counselor?

The one good thing that has come out of this struggle is what I call “momversations”—conversations between mothers that are vulnerable and difficult and necessary. In a world filled with picture perfect lives being thrown in our faces on social media, it can be hard to admit that things aren’t always as peachy as they seem to be. Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone is enough. So reach out, pick up the phone or schedule a coffee date with a friend—start a momversation. It’s certainly cheaper than a new Ferrari.

Laurie Larsh

Laurie Larsh is a freelance writer & travel blogger. She has paraglided in the Swiss Alps, hiked a glacier in Norway and jumped off a 1,400-year-old Italian bridge--none of which have prepared her for parenting tweens. Check out her travel insights for adults and kids at www.goexplauring.com.

Setting Boundaries with Toxic Family Is Hard but Worth It

In: Motherhood
Family walking in water

Breaking generational chains is one of the most amazing, beautiful, and beneficial things I’ve done for my family. My children are happy and healthy and know they are loved unconditionally. I continue to heal my inner child and find my worth. I feel so much relief knowing my children won’t go through the trauma and pain my husband and I did.  But breaking those chains, establishing boundaries, going no contact with abusive family members, explaining to my children that they can’t see our relatives who they love so dearly because they were hurting us. That is hard. That is painful....

Keep Reading

As a Mom, I’m Always On

In: Motherhood
Mother and two kids at home

Yesterday, my kids made to-do lists as I do, they pretended to be Mom in their play, and they wanted to look up a bazillion and one things on my phone. These little humans are watching me. They are taking in all my actions, one by one. And it’s exhausting. From 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. (or later), I have to be “on.” I am expected to watch what I say (no cussing), be careful what I watch (no inappropriate memes or shows), stay off my phone as much as possible, and, of course, enjoy every moment and be present...

Keep Reading

Dear School Bus Driver, My Whole World Is In Your Care

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing on school bus stairs, color photo

To the bus driver I do not know, You don’t understand how hard it is to let go of my child’s hand in the morning and hand him over to you. You don’t know how long it took me to make this decision . . . to let him ride the bus.  Some may say it’s brave or courageous to trust another with your child’s life. I sometimes think it can be daring but also really unwise.  RELATED: Every Time I Leave My Child With Autism in the Care of Someone Else, I Worry In today’s world, we must worry...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to Girlhood Innocence

In: Motherhood
Little girl walking down road

She loved pickles and pudding and rocks that glittered. And forts that touched the ceiling. She mastered shadow puppets on night walls and Carol Burnett’s Tarzan yell in lieu of bedtime stories. In her innocent mind, the bogey man hid in the closet because he was scared of her. Thus she coaxed him out nightly with “shh . . . it’s okay, you’re alright.” She mailed letters to the mailman with sticky hearts on both sides and Cheerios in the envelope. RELATED: I Wish I Could Freeze This Moment of Innocence She regularly asked our 96-year-old neighbor Mr. Grayson if...

Keep Reading

I Am An Autism Mom

In: Motherhood
Autism heart puzzle piece symbol in hands

I have always known what kind of mom I wanted to be. The mom who has the best after-school snacks. The mom who’s always ready with a warm hug and a kind word. The mom who makes jokes that get the kids to roll their eyes but laugh hysterically when they repeat them to their friends. I wanted to be a super involved mom—there for every activity, every field trip, every adventure. We all have our motherhood labels, usually defined by our children’s current hobbies or seasons of life. A kindergarten mom. A PTA mom. A scouting mom. A soccer/lacrosse/baseball/hockey...

Keep Reading

Every Time I Blinked, They Grew—and It Was So Beautiful

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boys kissing mother black and white photo

I thought we were prepared, but we weren’t. Not even close. Not in the tiniest, least little bit. When we hugged our precious, oldest boy and left him to start college just a few hours away, we didn’t know what was coming. The waves of emotion, of loss, of pride, of accomplishment. They say not to blink because your kids will grow up. But despite how much we may not want to, it’s involuntary. We have to blink. They don’t talk about this part. No one tells you what to do when you open your eyes again. RELATED: I Blinked and...

Keep Reading

The Boss Around Here Is Tough

In: Motherhood
Tired mom with baby drinking coffee

I’ve recently changed careers. I was so used to working a regular 8-5 job over the last 13+ years. Sure, there were some late nights, plenty of obstacles, and a multitude of frustrations, but this career change has been life-changing, to say the least. We’ve all worked with difficult people before. I should be used to this, but this new boss I have has been nothing short of tyrannical.  Before I’ve even had my morning coffee I’m at his beck and call. You never know when he’s going to need something, and I have to be ready at all times....

Keep Reading

To the Homeschool Mom Trying Her Best

In: Motherhood
Homeschool family

Homeschool mothers are their own worst critics. The subject doesn’t often come up, but occasionally someone will discover I was homeschooled. My mother taught my siblings and me at home from third grade until I graduated high school. Most people don’t really care about my education before college, but homeschool mothers pepper me with questions. What curriculum did you use? What was your schedule like? Did you have issues getting into college? What did you love about it? What would you have changed? I know why they ask. They have a list of all the things they have heard about...

Keep Reading

What a Gift It Is To Watch My Babies Grow Up

In: Motherhood, Teen
Mother in pool with teens in background

A few weeks ago I ran away and I brought my family with me. It’s become my favorite thing to do for my birthday week. Nestled neatly between the end of the school year and the beginning of the longest stretch of summer, for years that week has provided my family and I with the perfect freedom to get away. There are four simple rules for this escape from our normal lives and they are always the same. Our location must: 1. Be located in a climate with palm trees. 2. Require an airplane to get there. 3. Have a...

Keep Reading

I Love it When You Smile at Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl in wheel chair with classmates, color photo

I gained a bit of insight today. We were walking past the checkout at the store this afternoon when we came upon a mom and her children, waiting in the checkout line.   RELATED: A Simple Invitation Means the World To a Special Needs Parent My daughter Chloe rolled by them in her wheelchair. I watched, as I often do, as the children noticed her. One girl about Chloe’s age smiled at her as we walked by. As soon as we had passed them, Chloe turned to me and said . . . “She’s the first person to smile at me!”  Let me say I...

Keep Reading