I thought I was so slick. I filled my life with wonderful things; friends and career pursuits and education, and so many dogs. I kept my essence protected, loving my children but always carving out a place for my marriage and myself.
I wasn’t going to be one those moms. You know, the ones who spend so much time with and on their children from 0-18 that they are left with nothing when the kids go off on their own.
No way, mister. I was going to balance my job as mother with growing other parts of myself so that when I raised strong and independent children who would leave me, I would still have plenty in my life to feel full.
Guess what? It’s impossible. I know. I KNOW that my job is to raise strong and independent humans who eventually go off on their own. I know that I’ll be very lucky if all goes as planned and they grow into adults who take care of themselves. I know I have plenty of my own to focus on when those days come.
Doesn’t matter. What I know and what I feel don’t line up. I know my life is full. But the more these humans pull away on their own, the more my heart feels empty. Not totally empty. But definitely not totally full.
Seems no amount of me time or self-focus or relationship satisfaction could completely protect me from the little holes left in my heart by strong and independent children going off on their own.
So, I’m doubling down. I’m not just taking quiet time for myself to pamper or maintain. Instead, I’m investing in myself. I’m learning and filling up my cup, so that even if my children do leave tiny spaces in my heart when they grow up and move on, I’ll still have a whole and full me left standing to live the rest of this glorious life in the next phase.
What are you doing so that you’re left with a whole and full you? What can you start now?
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P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.