For about sixteen years I was a professional mom and wife. Then a little over two years ago, my marriage ended. Because that involves other people beyond me I'm not going to go into details here right now. I was suddenly faced with uncertainty and a completely new and unexpected future. During my marriage I was never able to establish a career of any kind. My husband and I moved to quite a few places in the US and then overseas.
For the most part, I was ok with that. I really wanted to be there for and support my kids and husband. Of course, there were times when I felt empty and unsatisfied, but I didn't really know how to fill those spaces. I always found activities that made me happy... in New York I was a substitute teacher before the kids were born... in Michigan I did a lot of yoga... in Egypt I edited and wrote for a magazine for expats... in Russia I was involved in a Bible Study and an Icon writing class. Art was always a constant for me... I loved creating and making.
In my current situation, I knew that my kids were getting older and they would be graduating high school and moving on with their lives soon. I knew I needed to find something for me... something lasting to really focus on.
I always, always, always try to find the blessings and the positives in a negative situation. Sometimes the bright spots are harder to find and sometimes it takes a little longer, but there are ALWAYS positive points to discover... EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. One of the positive things in my marriage ending was realizing I needed to rediscover my passions sooner rather than later. Not just to find my joy, but I also needed a way to make a living. Motherhood doesn't come with a salary or a pension plan!
I was really at a loss though. I didn't know what I wanted to do. The flexibility and the freedom a being a stay at home mom was something I knew I needed to keep if at all possible. The importance of discovering something that was just for me came rushing to the front. While my kids may say otherwise, I believe it's important to still be available for them even though one is in college and the other is a sophomore in high school. They know they can count on me being there. I know how I roll and I was terrified I would get into some kind of career and not have time for them physically or emotionally. Add to that my age... I know it's never too late to start over, but I'm turning 50 this year (holy crap!!! I'm gonna celebrate big somehow!) and found that a bit daunting.
After floundering around for almost a year, first recovering from the shock and pain of a marriage ending and then trying to figure out how I would pay the bills, I decided to work with a career coach. Not just any career coach, but the When I Grow Up Coach, Michelle Ward. She was instrumental in helping me define more of who I am, my passions, and what I wanted from my life. Working with Michelle helped me get back to my art and discover that I wanted to make that a true part of my life and not just an escape or hobby.
It's been almost ten months since I started working with Michelle and it hasn't always been easy. It's involved a lot of soul searching and self discovery. I think a lot of women find this happens to them as wives and mothers... we lose sight of who we are and our passions. Finding them again is work!
Launching my website was HUGE for me... I mean GINORMOUS, EPIC, MONUMENTAL... you get the idea. However, I did it and kept moving forward. I'd like to say I've completely found my groove and am making oodles of art, blogging regularly and selling my art. I'm still figuring it all out though. I mean, life is like that anyway... we take it one step at a time and figure it out as we go along.
Recently I was talking about the steps I'm taking and how they're baby steps. My friendleague, EB Sanders, said, "baby steps are still steps!" She's so right! So that's what I'm doing... taking one baby step at a time!