After 32 years of parenting, I’ve put on a lot of miles in my journey as a mom. I’m now one of those people you young parents scratch your head and ponder…an empty nester.
Yes, I’ve crossed to that mysterious other side; that faraway place you longingly contemplate through the fog of your overwhelm, perhaps while stepping on sharp toys in the middle of the night, or when your toddler dropped your smart phone in the toilet.
Young mommies, you can’t see right now from where I am because the mess is too big and the noise is too loud and the tedium dizzying and the toilets are filthy and it’s 7:00 am and you’re out of half n’ half *&%!!! And to go get half n’ half you’d have to GAH get dressed, double gah get two toddlers dressed and in their car seats GAHHHH and then you’d have to do it 3 more times by the time you’re home with your purchase — just for half n half??!
And since you aren’t that amazing 5 a.m. yoga mom, you all look homeless which would make you so stressed while everyone stares at you in Safeway feeling sorry for your kids, the half n’ half would curdle in your stomach anyway. And if by some chance you primped everyone, by that time you wouldn’t want coffee anyway. You’d want LUNCH and you certainly can’t afford to eat lunch out on your husband’s meager salary.
And you’re mad at HIM; that guy you pick up after, sleep with, the utility patrol who comes home after a long day and can’t walk through the room without a helpful suggestion or another request and you really don’t have a whole lot to look forward to — ok story time at the library is pretty decent but the girls with the always-helpful grandma are out shopping til they drop.
As you peer out at it all through tired eyes, it can be hard to see clearly.
BUT I CAN SEE past your present circumstances.
AND I KNOW THE TRUTH.
AND I CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW IF YOU’LL LET ME.
Ain’t nothing better than what’s in front of you RIGHT NOW RIGHT HERE TODAY. I know because if you choose to skip over this inconvenient truth, you will have already lost the game.
Everything in you wants to RUN on many days.
Everything around you tells you “just do it.”
Every media outlet screams at you that your bad a$$ beautiful self has SO MUCH TO GIVE THIS WORLD — YOU CAN BE ANYTHING….and there’s always some free government program with their hands out, just waiting to take your kid.
And you think about it so much that it’s working its way into your soul….that holy place where you make good decisions or bad decisions.
Because there is a target on your back and the goal is to take you out of your little one’s lives for most of their waking hours.
Because there are powers-that-be that KNOW YOUR SUPER POWERS AS A MOM. Yes, YOU. Flawed, uncertain, fearful YOU: the perfectly imperfect mother God gave to YOUR kids because He knows who you are and how capable you are!
These enemies are cunning.
They hide behind your messes and shame you.
They lurk on social media and whisper in your ear…”who ARE you anyway?? Get a life.”
They compare you with others until you’re convinced you are a LOSER; a dumpy out-of-shape ‘housewife’ — that dirty word of the 21st century.
The narrative goes something like this: “girl you are better than a nanny, a maid, a cook, a mistress to your demanding not-so-helpful man, you are A WINNER WHO SHOULD BE STRUTTIN HER STUFF out there somewhere before you’re old and gray and washed up.”
But I know better.
I know the truth.
I know what’s coming.
I know who your kids are and who they are to become.
Because I’ve crossed to the other side and it’s a beautiful, even miraculous place.
My ROI (Return On Investment) as a Momma far exceeds anything my 401K could have offered me from the perfect government job I quit when my firstborn arrived 33 years ago.
Here’s a peek into my everyday world as an empty nester mom of five sons…
One son recently emailed me to say, “Mama, you gave us boys a conscience.” (401K you say??)
Another son stood in my dirty kitchen last week and declared, “Momma you’re the most empowered woman I know.” (I gave up some great benefits with that government job, you say??)
Another son came over for lunch as I wanted to encourage him about something and he spent most of the time preaching the power of ME, his momma, what I have to offer the world and how I need to go about getting it out there. (I could’ve driven new cars with all that extra money, you say??)
Another son called to check up on me because he had me on his heart and talked at length with me, sharing his wisdom. (How many Nordstrom clothes could I have afforded with that job??)
I woke to a text from another son with an offer of $500 not because I’m poor but because he saw something he thought I could benefit from and he didn’t want me to ignore it because it cost money. (Wow the vacations I could have paid for with that job, you say??)
And that’s just a tiny little itty bitty sliver of my midlife mom world…hang in there momma and lift your gaze above all that might weary you and see the vision of what you want to build.