Yesterday, it seems I wrote about reframing not just once but twice on Facebook. Guess I can't get enough of the old, "Can't we approach this in a better, healthier way, people?"
Today, I am offering up a very personal reframe. One that I have been reminded of often over the past week in particular.
You see I decided last week to jump into a group for "Empty Nesters." Not because I'm new to the space by any means but because I know I think differently about my role as a mom today and I work with a lot of women on the brink of the transition or in the midst of it, so I wanted to stay connected to women in the various stages (not just my own)...hence the decision to join the group.
I have to say in all honesty, it's been difficult to read post after post on how sad, miserable, lonely, even depressed these lovely women are. Mind you, there are posts of moms in a different mind space but the majority, as you can imagine are in the midst of some serious struggle.
And so I wanted to share two things today that I did to transition from a "day to day mom" to my current role of what I have deemed "Mom Emeritus" which in translation means "retired with honors."
I found it was time to acknowledge with grace and yes, some tears at times, the fact that my role was changing and if I didn't accept that, I would suffer and of course if I was suffering about my kids growing up, that would spill over in my words and behaviors towards my kids and that's the last thing I would want - to put that on them right when their lives are taking off.
Here was my first "reframe" - that being a "Mom Emeritus" was a cool thing. It meant I did my job as a mom and it was time for me to step back and enjoy watching my now "adult offspring" grow and thrive. Time to enjoy all the benefits of retirement too - including more time for myself, more time to do the things I wanted and to spend time with the people I really dig!
Second "reframe" - This was a gift given to me early on and for that, I am truly grateful. My daughter was a freshman in the fall of 2010, I think I cried almost the entire 2 1/2 hour trip home after we dropped her off and she called crying that first month or two as well. Fast-forward to December when she came home for Christmas when I got to spend a couple of weeks with her and it was BEYOND evident to me that she had matured greatly in just those few months.
I remember as clear as if it were yesterday, me thinking to myself that if she was thriving, growing, learning, maturing and happy, I should be as well. I decided that very moment (just 1/2 way through her Freshman year in college) to allow her (and subsequently my son's) happiness to be my guide, my "permission" to retire with honors and enjoy my new role of "mom" in their "newly minted", young adult lives.
I cannot tell you how those two reframes, changed everything. I have added some other "shifts" in thinking around my role since then and I believe they are healthy, respectful additions but overall, both of those initial shifts remain true in my life today.
My heart goes out to the women suffering because I know how much I am enjoying my life right now and how fulfilling it is when you look at this time as the gift that it is - a gift that's available to them as well.
I also believe this gives you the opportunity to show up for others as an example of how to navigate changes in life, even if the change begins with you getting incredibly "lost"...know that the "map" to your new destination is there for you to grab, anytime you wish.
Love and light, my "Sister Mothers."