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.

Madonna – the mother of re-invention.

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.

A possible career choice?

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!

photo credit: Felix_Nine via photopin cc

photo credit: Jason Verwey via photopin cc

14 thoughts on “Re-invention

  1. Your comment on that ‘nagging sense’ is spot on … I think Mums need to go easy on themselves, and it is ‘enough’ … but having said that, having children does make you reassess your life completely and think about what’s important, and what you want to show them about how you live your life … so, Gah! It’s never easy, hence why I’m blogging like you I suppose. If I won Powerball I’d write too ;). And maybe build a library house to live in 🙂

    • Thanks Enid. Its strange. I dont think other SAHMs aren’t doing enough. I applaud them for making that choice in a world that demands we “do it all”. Its just that my girls will be doing three days a week daycare for the rest of the year and I feel I should be doing something productive with those days. I mean something other than cleaning the house.

  2. I reckon that is the hardest part about the reinvention journey – the nagging doubts about what you ‘should’ be doing, plus the criticism (real or perceived) of your choices. There is always someone available to tell you you’re no good if you’re a SAHM, but then you’re also no good if you work etc etc, depending on who you speak to on the day! I genuinely like being home with the kids on the whole, but then I spent many years at uni so I ‘should’ be using my degrees (such is my daily inner monologue). Reinvention Madonna-style must have a lot to do with not giving a flying you-know-what about anyone else’s opinion. And Powerball would help to 😉

  3. I LOVE this post. In fact, you’ve paralleled something I’ve been thinking about posting about. However, I couldn’t write today. I was too disillusioned. I do say, though, stuff the ‘should’. Do what you love. I really do love (well – OTT – ‘enjoy’ working) in those three days my kids are in preschool. But freelancing is quiet and I’m going crazy, and yes, feeling guilty at my lack of productivity. Trying to crack this ‘part-time’ (read non-existent) job market is TOUGH. How far am I willing to fall on the career ladder? And which part of the ladder do I even want to be on? Maybe my old ladder isn’t there anymore. It’s all very perplexing. Might go drink some wine.

  4. Oh yes. Wine. Me too…
    I loved reading this post. You have articulated the way I feel exactly.
    I have just written and re-written this comment a number of times, and each time I try to express myself I end up writing a thesis. Thus is the level of my confusion and angst on the topic.
    I guess to summarise – I am struggling to reinvent myself post kids (or at least, post leaving full time work to look after kids), and I have not yet managed to crack the work / life balance thing (am beginning to question whether it is actually crackable).
    I wish you the very best in your upcoming reinvention – can’t wait to read all about it…

  5. I started doing photography again, after MANY years. And I am loving it!

    I think you will really enjoy the IT world. It changes so quickly and there is always something new to learn.

  6. This post speaks so loudly to me! I have tried to re-invent myself with 4 small businesses to work around the family. It means that I’m stretching myself oven more thinly than before and it’s bringing associated problems. I think you have to find what you love and try to make that a part of your everyday life. For me, that’s writing so I’m concentrating on that business for now and letting the others slowly peter off.

  7. I would love to do graphic design too. I wish I could simply do what I love instead of doing something I like to make money but I’m not sure if it will ever happen. I wish I could stay at home full-time but alas we need to eat so I work. What I used to do used to be my love but not since having Mia so I continue to quietly search and think of new ways that one day I may be able to do what I love.

  8. I don’t feel I’ve reinvented myself a great deal in the workspace as I’ve returned to the same employer after each child but I’ve reinvented myself personally as an advocate for my kids and have become more assertive in the process. I certainly hope I’m a better person now because of them!

  9. Squirm’s only a wee bub still, but coming to terms with being a SAHM took a little bit of time for me. I realised pretty quick, that I would need some sort of project to keep busy, and I needed to incorporate both Squirm and the things I love. So the blog and working on fixing up our home has helped heaps – plus actually coming to terms with ‘being a mother

    Since I’m not sure about whether I’ll go back to teaching or not, I realise there might be a whole ‘nother reinvention down the track’. . .

  10. I think I have always been then kind of person who needs to reinvent myself in some way, because getting too comfortable with anything is not me. So whether it is starting a new hobby, or doing a course, or starting my blog, something new is important for me.

    Having children… That just adds another layer xx

  11. I’ve done the ‘reinvention’, I guess. But I never really felt the need. I’m different after children, but happy to be so. I’m never sure if it’s mothering or just growing up… x

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