Each stage of motherhood comes with its pluses and minuses. While infants need to be fed every three hours, they don’t talk back. And while teens push our buttons and dabble in risky behavior that makes us completely neurotic, they take up less of our time on a daily basis. It may be challenging to let go of your kids as they get older and become more independent, but these changes also have the potential to open some very exciting doors for us moms.
Here are seven things to look forward to when your children get older. Some are pretty basic parts of life that people without kids totally take for granted, while others are game changers that can really propel your life in a new direction.
Reboot Your Career
Mothers with young children are less likely to have a job than those with older children, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2018, only 65 percent of moms with children under age 6 worked, while 76 percent whose youngest child was age 6 to 17 worked. Once the kids are busy in school all day, you will have more opportunities to head back to the career you love or to start a new one you always dreamed of. Even working a few hours per week from home can be quite fulfilling to a woman who spent years tending to her young children.
Participating in community service is a wonderful way to meet people, learn new skills, and help those in need. It’s also a really incredible way to feel calmer and happier, according to science. Yet, it can be really hard to find the time to volunteer when you have little ones. While there are ways to volunteer with your children in tow, your options will multiply once you can participate without them. Volunteering can also be a jumping off point to restarting your career.
Reboot Your Body
Many moms struggle to stay fit when taking care of kids 24/7. But once you have some more freedom, you can join fitness classes or challenge yourself to participate in something as huge as a marathon. I have seen many moms love exercising so much that they get a certification in yoga, Zumba, or personal training so they can get a job helping others to meet their fitness goals.
You are probably wondering who has time for hobbies when you are a mom, right?But as kids get older and busier, they will not have time or interest in hanging out with us as much. Hobbies are so important for giving us a creative outlet, a way to fulfill our passion, or venue to meet like-minded friends. Be sure to make time for you by getting involved in a hobby, whether it be signing up for an art class, joining a book club, or riding your bike.
Finding Friends that Aren’t Tied to Playdates
For many moms, their friend group is based solely on their kids. But what if you move schools or your kids stop getting along with your friends’ kids? You could easily be left out in the dust. Once your children no longer need you to schedule and chaperone their playdates, you will gain the freedom to meet the friends you choose to spend time with, whether it be from work, volunteering, or your favorite hobbies.
The most common complaint from new moms is that they can’t get enough sleep. Trying to function on just a few hours of interrupted sleep can be detrimental to one’s mental and physical health. Unfortunately, some parents have to wait many years until their kids stop fussing over sleep. But when that day finally arrives, you will be able to sleep in! Weekend mornings are blissful around my household now that the kids entertain themselves and even grab breakfast on their own.
Indulging in Some Self-care
Getting a mani/pedi. Going to the mall to shop for yourself. Meditating in your backyard for a whole hour. This may all sound like a dream, but once your kids are older and more independent, you can engage in these special moments just for you. Relax and enjoy!
Sandi Schwartz is a freelance writer/blogger and mother of two. She has written extensively about parenting, wellness, and environmental issues. You can find her at www.happysciencemom.com. Get her free course on raising happy, balanced kids at bit.ly/2i53TDV.