Single Mom Slice of Life:
Which Act Of Life Are You On?
I am a fan of the show (and movie before that) Parenthood. Right now, there is a storyline about how the grandparents are at a crossroads due to the fact that they don’t agree on how to start their third act in life.
What? There are acts in life? In just a few short months I will be 40 years old. Of those 40 years, I have been a parent for 18 of them. I’ve been writing for Good Enough Mother for… well, a long time. When I first started writing, my articles were about trying to struggle with being a single parent of two pre-teen boys, work, family obligations, and life in general.
Over the years, those articles have included wisdom both given and accepted, admitting flaws, and celebrating strengths. Lately, they’ve been more about watching my children take their first steps into adulthood… starting lives of their own… away from me.
What act of life am I in? My children – who are technically now I guess young adults – spend more time away from home than in it. Their questions are harder to answer. Their friends now handle their heartaches. The majority of my lectures to them are now repeats.
I am the oldest of 7, so I spent a lot of time taking care of, or helping take care of others for as long as I can remember. I had my own children at a fairly young age – I was only 21 when Nick was born. He’s 18 now. So I am forced to ask myself – what act is my life in? What have I learned from my previous act? What do I want from my next act? Am I ready to start it? Why aren’t my kids a part of any of those questions?
Is that a sign that maybe I’ve grown as much as they have? Because I’ll be honest – of late my decisions, my free time, my life in general has been spent more on what makes me happy instead of how it benefits other people. Ok, maybe that’s not 100% truthful. I still make more than my fair share of sacrifices, and it’s only been a couple of weeks – but still, over 40 years, it’s a change… dare I say… an improvement?
It is. A little. I have things to look forward to now that I didn’t have before. I spend time doing things that bring me peace instead of working myself to exhaustion. I am learning to let go of things I once thought were important, but now realize… aren’t. I use the pronoun I a lot more without an overwhelming sense of guilt.
My kids will always be my babies which means I will always be a parent. That is a gift that will never change no matter what act my life is in. That having been said, our relationships are changing. My role, my importance within their lives is changing. My need to make them the focus of my every waking moment is changing.
I am changing.
And for the first time in 40 years, it is a change I am conscious of. For the first time in 18 years it is a change I am facing without fear or worry. For the first time in a lot of years it is a change I am excited for because quite frankly – this act is all about me.
What about you? Are you aware of how much your life has changed, or like me, did those changes hit you from out of nowhere? How have you handled those changes? Are you looking forward to your next act – whatever it may be?
More from GEM: