One of the great fallacies of life is that your current season will never change. It seems you will never. . .
- Graduate high school.
- Graduate college and find a job.
- Make enough money to buy a house.
We are tempted to wish away the kids’ infancy with thoughts of I can’t wait until he can walk and talk.
When the kids enter elementary school and then high school, we grow accustomed to the Golden Age of kids’ laughter, voices, and activities. We assume the Golden Age will last forever. In this season we are the CEO, COO, CFO, event planner, and janitor of our kids’ lives. And while we often feel stretched to capacity, deep down we love it.
But the truth is the Golden Age won’t last forever. We won’t always have kids in the home who need us. If we do our jobs well, they will becomes productive, independent adults who pursue their own dreams and lives.
No matter the age of your school age kids, now is the time to start thinking—What’s next for me? I’m not talking only to stay-at-home moms. Every mom needs to re-examine what God has for them in the next phase of her life.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Discover you passion. Talk to God about discovering your passion if you haven’t already. What would you do for free? What group of people do you care about deeply? What talents are you not using or would love to explore more?
- What now? Is there something you can do now to pursue your next step? Online classes or research? Part time job or volunteer to see if this next step is a good fit? Pray and God will guide.
- Acknowledge and address the tension between being the mom who is involved in a healthy way in her kids’ lives, and the overly involved mom (helicopter parent, co-dependent parent), and the parent who all but checks out of their parenting role (“I’ve done my job. They’re on their own now.”).
Being the mom who is involved in a healthy fashion requires intentionality and prayer. When our kids were growing up our goal was to let them experience the consequences of their decisions (some of which we gave and some of which came from others). Our goal was to raise kids who would become independent adults and who knew their mom and dad loved them and would always be there for them. Encouragement was and remains key in our parenting.
- Parenting is an ongoing process. Now I experience another tension—the tension between being available when the kids need me and pursuing the passions and opportunities God sends my way. I still have not found my rhythm in this empty nest season. In the last five years the only constant I have found is that each day is unpredictable. Each day has its own style of crazy-wonderful. I am learning to be flexible while prioritizing and protecting my other priorities (refer back to intentionality and prayer).
- There is no formula. If you’re looking for a how-to here you won’t find it. As with all of life, it is messy and organic and best lived in moment-by-moment relationship with God. For me to navigate my role as the mom of three adult daughters, mom-in-law to three sons, and Nana to a fun little boy, and my other passions and pursuits, I must take each situation, question, and concern to God. He gives me guidance and opens doors as only He can do. He makes it possible for me to be the mom I want to be and fulfill the other purposes He has for me.
- Enjoy today. Whatever season you are in, enjoy today. It will never happen again. It is the only chance you have to enjoy each kid at this age. They change overnight and without warning. One day they do that cute thing with you that they do every day. Then all of a sudden they stop. No notice.
If you feel you don’t have time to enjoy each day, each child in each phase, then something needs to change. You are too busy. Our kids grow up fast. This is not a cliché; it is truth. No job or sports event or practice of any kind will matter when your child launches and you wonder how she grew up so quickly.
Each season of life can be rich and wonderful. Our part is to be alert and listening to God for what comes next.
*Photo by Jordan Whitt, Stocksnap.io.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.