They say that motherhood is the only job in the world you will work so hard to get fired from. It’s true – and getting fired sucks.
I was a mother at the tender age of 21 years old. At a time when most young women were out discovering themselves at university, I was trying to raise my first little dude. I always think of that line from the movie Jerry Maguire where the single mother, Dorothy Boyd, says: “What are women my age doing? They’re out there trying to catch a man. Trying to keep a man. Me? I’m trying to raise a man.”
I always got that line. I always understood it in my core. So, now what do I do? I’m staring down the independence of grown children but with much more life wisdom than I had in my twenties.
I have lived my life in reverse, it seems.
Both of my “little” dudes aren’t so little, anymore. They’re teenagers and the oldest is just a smidgen of time from being a legal adult.
As I watch him anxiously approach the age of 18 (and being able to get out and explore the world on his own) I find that my empty-nest syndrome has begun to creep in.
Okay – not so much “creep in” as it has landed squarely on my lap like a boulder, knocking the wind completely out of me.
Without any little ones to chase after or keep from climbing the bookshelves, my hands are not sure what to do without the emergency juice to grab or “boo-boo” to fix up.
Oh, I was so sure that I wouldn’t get the nest problem. I thought that I would welcome the ever-increasing free time. When I was a young mom, and chasing toddlers and potty training, I couldn’t wait for them to be this grown and independent. Plus, I figured that since I was a “modern mom” that worked outside of the home, too, I wouldn’t have these problems. I took time out to learn myself and love myself over the years. I didn’t give birth and exchange my soul to take home a baby. I thought I had it all figured out.
The really tough part is that I have so many friends without children. The bulk of the people I know either don’t have children or they waited and all of their children are still babies or toddlers. They don’t get this. Not yet – but they will…
In the meantime, here I am – older, wiser and with an ever-freeing calendar… Children gone – no husband or significant other to dote on…
What to do?
I had picked up my old love of photography and opened up shop (A to Zed Photography) but that’s is not a complete calendar filler. Okay, if I wanted to give away photo sessions all day, I’d have a full calendar but I’d be broke. I am trying to avoid being the creepy homeless lady that yells at parking meters – at least for a few more years, anyway.
That is an entirely different blog post, though.
I managed to score myself a regular job. It’s weird – after an entire lifetime of working in cubicles and writing for various reasons (journalist and then communications professional), you would assume that I wouldn’t want to do a job that wasn’t white collar. That is very far from the truth. I sling booze and food at a bar in Dallas’ local artist’s community known as Deep Ellum and I’m really enjoying it.
You would think I would have grown tired of picking up dishes left behind but, shockingly, I feel a strange sense of fulfillment at the end of those shifts. Weird.
Maybe it’s that maternal thing – that needing to be needed.
After what feels like a lifetime (nearly my entire adult life) of taking care of others, it’s nice to feel like I still “have it”.
Maybe that will start a trend. An entire gang of empty-nesting women taking up service industry jobs…
But I digress…
As I continue down this phase of my existence and fill my changing calendar, I will be blogging here about it. I am not sure what will take shape or if you will even find any of this interesting, but you never know. Just know that the “empty-nest” syndrome is real; Even for us more “progressive working moms” who didn’t leave their entire identity behind in the delivery room (or so I thought).
Welcome aboard – enjoy the ride!