My book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today, tells the story of my journey navigating the changes in every aspect of my life after we had our daughter nine years ago.
I have recently admitted to myself that I am in the midst of a set of changes that are likely to be as difficult and challenging as those I went through nine years ago.
To quote myself paraphrasing William Bridges: “change is an external event or situation that is different, whereas transition is the internal psychological response we have to the change.” Hmm, I have a lot of messy “internal psychological responses” going on right now.
- Our daughter is in 4th grade. In three months we begin in earnest a search for a middle school – a search which makes real her transition from little girl to pre-teen. This totally natural, expected change is triggering an internal transition for me that is fraught with emotion: losing the little girl, losing my identity as the mother of a little girl, realizing after nine years she’ll be gone in another nine.
- For a couple of years now, I’ve been the primary and often only earner in our family as my husband struggled to keep his business afloat in the recession and he took on even more of the family work. Just this week he accepted a fabulous new job with a long commute and long hours. It is a welcome change – yet still bubbles up lots of questions. What will this mean for how we share family work and share the search for a middle school? What will it mean for my own employment? What will it mean for our marriage?
- My husband’s parents are five minutes from us and his father is unexpectedly in the hospital with a long recovery ahead. We’re forced to face the reality that we are in the sandwich generation and the top half of that sandwich is upon us – for both my parents and his.
- I’m now eight months into a new job and eight months from the date of my book release. It’s been a challenge combining the two, and the new job is only a certainty for another year. So what’s next for me? How will I find a way to combine both of the kinds of work I love and at the same time likely take on more responsibility for family?
All of this made me realize that it’s high time I took my own advice and identified some Mother’s Day Resolutions – a few steps I can take to continue remodeling motherhood and help me navigate this set of changes and transitions gracefully. I’ve matched them up to the new beliefs I’m using to remodel motherhood.
Belief: The transitions women make into and through motherhood are challenging and can be difficult.
Resolution: Make myself a sticker for the front of my journal. “You are in transition. You are supposed to feel confused, anxious, uncertain. Everything is up on the air. Breathe. Experiment. You’ll get to a new beginning.”
Belief: Mothers and fathers share the responsibility and are equally capable of caring for children and home.
Resolution: After my husband has been in his job for a few weeks, pull out the list of family work we’ve used in the past and talk with each other and our daughter about how we need to shift our family responsibilities around, including the support we want to provide for his parents.
Belief: A variety of job structures to fit various stages of personal lives is best for people, families, businesses, and communities. Family and employment can be integrated and complementary.
Resolution: After my husband has been in his new job a couple of months, sit down and revisit our goals for an ideal family employment week given his new schedule and a plan for any changes we may need to make.
And finally, I resolve to keep writing in the midst of all this transition to help mothers and fathers and everyone else remodel motherhood – and fatherhood – for themselves, their families and their futures.
Happy Mother’s Day!
P.S. If you’d like to make a few Mother’s Day Resolutions yourself, download my FREE Mother’s Day Resolutions Guide.