The other morning I was watching a news program during my morning 15 minutes of silence (if you mamas out there don’t practice this habit, trust me, you need this! Start your day, before the kiddos wake up and the chaos ensues, with at least 15 minutes of only you, your fav coffee mug and whatever you fancy — Candy Crush, The Today Show, Facebook, planner planning, bible journaling, staring off into space, dreaming of going back to bed in 15 hours. Whatevs. You choose.)
And because wine is frowned upon in the mornings, this really is the next best thing. It is so good for the soul and for your AM ‘mom mood.’
Anyway, the reporter was discussing the increase of women reentering the workforce. They ended the segment for a commercial break with a question: “Why were so many women taking on ‘side hustles’ or choosing to become entrepreneurs?” It’s true.
I have noticed within my own inner circle that more and more of my beauteous women friends have either gone back to work, gone back to school, or have become distributors of skin care essentials, spatulas, herbal supplements, mascara etc. Here’s the thing — each one of my girlfriends appears truly proud of the business they represent. Like, ‘shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone about it’ proud.
I felt like I was right back in Mrs.White’s class in third grade, raising my hand, flailing it around in the air, jumping up and down hoping the reporter would see me so I could answer his question. I knew why they had chosen to go back to work. Why they had chosen to say “yes” to themselves; “Ooooh! Oooooh! Pick me! I know! I know! Pick meeeeee!” It was so obvious: They were lost in the laundry! Duh!
Okay, so obviously these women aren’t lost in the laundry… At least not in the literal sense (I hope). Although sometimes the piles around here are so high this might actually be possible. (Sooo, if you don’t hear from me for a while, you know where to look.)
For some women, the choice to go back to work stems strictly from a financial standpoint — and we all can agree that extra moolah for Target shopping is never a bad thing — I do believe there are also women who are simply feeling lost. And I was most definitely lost.
You see, I have been a mom since I was 17.
It’s one of the few things I have consistently done in my adult years. And I don’t say that out of spite. It has just been my life for almost 20 years. I love my mom job more than anything, and I wouldn’t change a single thing that has led me to where I am. But, once upon a time, I was just a girl named Kristin. A nerd introvert who loved watching movies, reading anything I could get my hands on, writing stories and jamming to Rod Stewart while imagining my wedding to the “Dirty Dancing” version of Patrick Swayze.
And I had some plans. Some BIG life plans.
There was a moment a year or so ago that I found myself on the floor of my bedroom sobbing. It was one of those really ugly cries, my friends. Most likely due to the fact that my oldest son was making his own big plans.
Huge life changes were on his horizon. He spent his evenings after school and work applying for grants and scholarships. My baby was in the midst of deciding which college to enroll in and in turn, choosing a major he would earn a degree in that would eventually serve him and his future family for the rest of their lives.
And while I was blowing (honking) my nose into my tissues all alone, it occurred to me that the last time I knew what I was good at, knew what I was truly passionate about — other than my family, of course — was when I was a teenager preparing for a future that would never materialize. I had lost myself in these past 20 years.
I was so caught up in the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, grocery shopping, and taxi driving; the sports, after-school clubs, the playdates, and the PTO meetings that I wasn’t quite sure where I fit into all of this.
Where did I go? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love volunteering in my kids’ schools. I love that my kids are involved in activities and sports. And I really freaking love being their mom. But, who the heck was I anymore? Was I really just a non-yoga practicing, yoga-pant-wearing, messy-bun-rocking, soccer mom? What did I like to do? Did I have a hobby? Could I even say I had interests? I honestly didn’t know anymore.
I remember reading somewhere that journal-writing helped to clear the mind and ease anxiety. So, I started there.
Once I began writing, it was like a flood of feelings overwhelmed me.
I remembered how much I adored taking a pen to paper. The journal writing then led me to start a ‘stupid blog that no one would want to read.’ The stupid blog led me to start an Instagram page where I could share all of the stuff I’ve made for my home. And guess what I realized? I was actually good at something that didn’t begin and end with an ‘m’ and have an ‘o’ in between! And most importantly, in the journaling, the stupid blog, and the IG page, I found myself! It was like myself and I picked up right where we left off all those years ago.
I mean, sure, we were both a bit older and a smidge wiser with possibly a few gray hairs.
She was obviously a little worse for wear after being lost so long in that dang laundry, but all-in-all, we were pretty much both as equally amazing as we’d always been.
I’m still a mom and wife first and foremost. A woman that loves my kids, my husband, and my life to the moon and back. But, I’m also Kristin — a quirky, obsessively clean crafter with a creative soul. I love to make stuff from junk and writing posts on my blog is my passion.
And I really am so happy to meet you!
This story originally appeared on Perfectly DeStressed