I recently read a post on Austin City Moms blog that our neighbor’s daughter posted on her Facebook page about the difficulty of life as a young mother. As I read it, I remembered some of the same frustrations and others I had felt when my kids were growing up.
The first thing I realized was that I am so grateful that I didn’t know then what I know today from working in the health and wellness world the last 8 years. We always ate healthy, but I wasn’t crazy if our kids had dairy, gluten, or refined sugar. Now, I’m not sure what I would be like – but I think I know I would have encouraged even better options – avoiding gluten, dairy and most of all, sugar. I hope I wouldn’t have been too extreme like I am with myself these days due to health concerns.
Now I work with Moms and Dads as a health and wellness educator, helping them understand the potential harmful effects of dairy (for some), gluten, and refined sugar. I am working on a recipe line that is kid friendly for transitioning from the SAD (Standard American Diet) diet. There are so many options and I am really excited to be working on this project. I believe that we can shape our children’s palates early on to enjoy the right foods that are real and whole, one family at a time, not by striving for perfection, just overall better choices.
I am also grateful that there wasn’t Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest when my kids were young. We weren’t addicted to our cell phones because they weren’t smart phones. They were simply phones you could take anywhere. One of our local restaurants, Lebro’s, is even offering 10% off your bill if you don’t use your cell phone at all during dinner. Great idea, but a sad commentary at the same time.
The article also made me realize that sometimes while my children were growing up, I wished away the time praying that my children would make it through adolescence, high school, and college without making any negative life changing decisions. They did, and are awesome adults, but guess what? You never stop worrying about your children – no matter how old they are!
At this stage of life, I am enjoying the freedom of not raising children, coming and going as I please, and devoting time to caring for myself.
Do I miss having the kids in the house? Absolutely.
Do I miss the camaraderie of being with fellow parents at various events? Absolutely.
Do I miss the hockey games for the different teams Alex played on several times a week? Absolutely.
Do I wish my children lived in Buffalo and I could see them more frequently? Absolutely.
Does my husband miss our more structured dinners? (Lately it’s been fending for yourself because our diets are so different.) I think so.
Is there a void? Absolutely.
Am I lonely at times, and do I miss the hustle and bustle of the 4-7PM time? Absolutely.
But as I stated above, I love the time, freedom, and lack of responsibility now that my days of raising children are behind me. I am embracing this freedom. Learning to meditate and be mindful. Enjoying me time, husband time, friend time, and always, family time.
I have the time to make exercise a priority every day. I’m enjoying gardening again. I’m seriously thinking about taking up golf. I’m enjoying estate sales and flea markets with no time limits or restrictions, and I plan on making it to all the farmers markets in WNY this year. I’m enjoying working on my blog and recipes. I try to keep busy, because I do miss that part of my life.
My friend Joanne is always telling me in her words of wisdom, “You have done your job well, it’s their time to fly.”
For those of you struggling with your family dynamics changing, know and accept that the struggle is real; but choose to embrace the positives and focus your thoughts on making the next stage of your life the best possible chapter. If you loved your “old” life, consider the possibilities ahead. You’ve got this! With the right attitude, it can only get better.