Your suggestions, please: How do you moms use your time?

 

Photos by Casey James Photography

Nobody told me that once all my kids were in school, I’d have a true identity crisis.

This isn’t a midlife crisis, like when men buy a sports car or get a 20-year-old girlfriend. This is more like, “Who exactly am I anymore, and how can I best use my time?”

I’ve been asking myself those two questions daily for the last three months. And I just can’t figure it out. I mean, I’ve worked part time ever since I had kids, so it’s not like I’m trying to decide if I should get a job—I’ve got one of those, and I love it. But I don’t have little people around all day, depending on me to stay alive or entertained.

And I don’t know what to do with the time they used to fill.

But it’s a tricky thing, this motherhood. Because even though you have time, do you really have time to take on much of anything? If your kids are involved in extracurricular activities and if you ever want to help at the school and if you want to prepare home-cooked meals even a few days a week, you really can’t schedule all your “free” time in new pursuits.

And what would those new pursuits be anyway? I’m trying to decide if I should put more effort into “homemaking” stuff, mothering stuff, or career stuff. These options are on mental repeat:

  • Should I simply revel in having “me” time every day? It might be nice to watch a show in the middle of the day. I could even paint my toenails. Sounds nice but kind of selfish too.
  • Should I go back to teaching, and if so, would that be at a public school or at college because I’ve done both?
  • Should I pick up more freelance writing because it’s flexible and I can do it from home? But I love newspapers, and we all know they’re dying, so could I even earn anything doing that?
  • How much time do I really want to dedicate to a job anyway?
  • And what about this blog?
  • And what about dreams like fixing up other old houses?
  • And what about all the scrapbooking I’m behind on?
  • And what about cleaning the house? I should probably do that sometimes.

Well, this post is a little too much about me, but I know other moms are in the same situation and asking similar questions.

So I guess my real question is, how do you decide?

And what have you decided?

Please advise. •

4 thoughts

  1. I homeschool my daughter so I rarely have any me time. On the weekends I go grocery shopping and sometimes take a long walk while I listen to an audiobook. During the week, while my daughter plays Animal Jam, I blog and catch up on household chores. I find time to sit on my back porch and read or crochet in the evenings. I have to make time sometimes. Those dishes can wait! 😀

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  2. I don’t have answers for you, but I love that you are asking the questions! I think it’s safe to say that the first step to figuring out what you want to do is to do exactly what you are doing – thinking about it, writing about it, and talking to others about it. One thing I do when I’m trying to figure out a life direction is to ask myself some probing questions (I think you’ll do just fine at this). I ask – if I could do anything, no restrictions, no guilt, no complications – what would I want to do? Obviously, the answer is not reality, but it helps me get a better handle on the core element of my wants/needs. The other thing I started doing is asking why I want something. Again, this helps me get to the heart of things. Sometimes I find I can meet that need in other ways. Sometimes I discover the need isn’t a need or a healthy want – it’s a needy ego. For example, for a while, I thought I’d love to go back to school and get degrees in various different sciences. But then I asked myself why and found a big part of that specific goal was a form of “stamp-collecting” to prove my worth. The other part of it was to always keep learning, and that part I kept as a goal.

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    1. Wow, this is so good. I love the part about looking at what you want, then trying to meet that desire a different way. I’m going to have to muse on that for awhile. And I share your issue with the education stuff; I feel like I need to get my doctorate at some point to prove I’m “smart.” But that’s a lame reason to invest in school. Thanks for your insights, as always.

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