It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention and that Madonna is the mother of re-invention. I’d argue that whilst Madonna is talented at changing her hairstyle, motherhood is actually the mother of re-invention. One message that is coming across loud and clear on the blogosphere is women lamenting the loss of their pre-children “self”. What I believe they are really mourning is the loss of freedom that accompanies parenthood. Your wishes are a distant second to the needs and wants of your brood. It feels like every waking thought is taken up by “them” and perhaps fantasies of escaping “them”.
Time passes and something happens. The offspring head to school or daycare and you find that you have a few spare hours between the grocery shopping and the housework. Sadly not many of us have the luxury of spending this time gossiping with friends over champagne lunches, toning up for summer in the gym, or getting yummy mummy pedicures at the salon. A large percentage of women return to their previous employer and manage to pick up the threads of their former career. However for others like myself, there is no turning back. We have to find a new direction and “re-invent” ourselves.
The prospect is both daunting and exciting. Its a golden opportunity to pursue our true interests and passions. At the same time it often means starting at the very bottom of the ladder. Of course there’s the eternal question of balancing it all with school pick ups, homework and the never ending housework. It’s a question that has been vexing me for some time now. How do I carve out a small space for myself and still be present for my girls? Sometimes I wish I could simply say to myself “you’re just a Mum for now and that’s that”. However I am tormented by the nagging sense that I should do something more and be something more.*
I can point to many examples of women who appear to have mastered the art of re-invention. These are ladies who have used their talents as a diving board and sprung off into the waters of small business ownership. I greatly admire them and I wish I could emulate their achievements. Its simply a case of finding my niche which is easier said than done. A very wise girlfriend of mine advised me to imagine that I had won the Powerball and money was no object. With the freedom to do whatever I liked what would I do? Apparently travelling around the world and shopping wasn’t the correct response.
So what would I do? The answer came quickly. I would study graphic design simply for the love of creating beautiful images and I would continue to write. Unfortunately one cant win the Powerball when one doesn’t buy a ticket. This means I’m missing several million dollars to blow on my frivolous fantasies. For the time being I am taking the most practical option available to me and helping Dadabulous out with his business. Its a chance for me to flex my mental muscle (which is currently as weak as my pelvic floor) and learn a little more about the scary world of IT. Next year P1 starts school and after she is settled, I may just get the opportunity to strike out on my own. Re-invention – bring it on!
Are you struggling to re-invent yourself after having kids? Have you found a way to make work/life balance work for you?
* I in no way intend to deride what SAHMs do. I am one!