I am pondering something at the moment, and I think it’s big…
So many mums I talk to, are going through the same life musings. I recognise it instantly, because it was me not that long ago, and it goes something along the lines of this…
“I’m not unhappy, but I’m not totally satisfied either. I want more for me, but I don’t know what that looks like… and I don’t talk about it because it because these feelings scare me.”
Does this sound familiar?
For many of us, we’ve given up a career to follow our spouse across countries. Somehow in the process of stalling, or in some cases abandoning our career, we also lost a sense of who we are and what we want from life. We find ourselves going back to the childhood question, what do I want to do when I grow up? (sorry, that’s a little tongue in cheek! 🙂
There is also that stage where the kids are finally in full time schooling, their demands of us have changed, and we suddenly discover that we have a little more time available. But we’re just not sure what to do with it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very easy to fill that time. The question is whether or not that activity is meaningful or not.
Through the sheer experience of living life abroad, our interests and passions morph too. The things that used to make us feel happy and satisfied, may still interest us, but don’t always deliver the same level of sated contentedness.
We recognise that we want something more for ourselves, but we have no idea what that looks like. We know we want something different, but how can we make it happen?
Quite literally we want to contribute more than groceries and school drops to the family unit.
But what I’ve found really interesting, is that it doesn’t matter if you are an expat, a repat, an immigrant or have never left your hometown, these feelings are common and generally very consistent. Which is also why I started wondering if it’s a reflection of age?
As a general rule, us mums, we are looking for more!
What I think is key and what has to change, is our reluctance to talk about it. We need to recognise that these feelings are “normal” and we need to start talking about it.
You may feel a little selfish, why can’t I just be happy with my own lot? You may feel ashamed that you can’t name what it is you’re interested in. The thing that I am learning, this feeling of dissatisfaction is common and very normal!
So where does that leave us? Do we just accept it and live with these underlying feelings? Do we confide in a friend over a vino, share the experience and leave it at that? Or do we actually do something about it?
I think you know the camp I’m in… do something about it!
So if you want to change it, what can you do? Firstly STOP being silent and START talking with your sisterhood. We need to share this burden.
Take a moment and recognise where you are in your life for what it is. A normal part of our “growing up”. And make a conscious effort to get your “mojo” back.
A great way to start is to get clarity and you can do that by starting to journal. It could be as simple as writing down each day – things that make me happy, and things that don’t.
Then get clear on what you do want. For yourself, for your family, for your life! You can do this loads of different ways – one approach I love is to grab your kids coloured pens and draw a mind map. Just write down everything/anything that comes to mind. See where it leads you.
Work out what you need to do to get there. What support do you need? What resources do you need? What actions do you need to take?
Make a commitment to yourself. Write it down, take these goals and turn them into actions. Put those actions in your diary. Share the support you need with your spouse, or a friend. Start today, take one small step and start making it happen for your life.
AND it is vital that we get this conversation going. Don’t sit alone wondering anymore, pick up the phone and talk to a friend. Through our sisterhood, let’s talk about how we really feel and help each other find a way forward. If you want to talk to me, I am always here for you, and I really do hope you know that.
As women and as mums, we’ve got this!