Whether you're an old friend of mine or a new, chances are you know that my children are grown and attending college. Many of you who have known me for a long time doubted I would survive the transition into this next chapter of my life. Homeschooling for 16 years and being with my children 24/7/352 until the day they each left for college was a lot of time to spend with them, and I'll admit, I too was wondering how I'd keep my sanity with a rambling empty nest and children who didn't need me anymore.
Truthfully though, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be for a couple of reasons. The first of which is beyond our control and the second of which is the one thing you need to know if you're a SAHM, because it requires some planning.
Let's visit the first reason. The good news it's entirely within nature's jurisdiction, and it's a slow and relatively painless process — so just let it happen, mama. There is plenty of time between the 'mommy stage' — when children need you to sustain life and the 'mom-stage' — when they only need you at 11:00 pm on a Tuesday night from the dorm laundry room because they can't remember if they should wash whites on hot or cold.
It's not like one day you're living a fairy-tale existence with sweet, little adorable human beings and then — POOF — the next day you find yourself living in a horror flick with aliens who act more like roommates from hell than the children you birthed and loved. Nature intentionally eases parents through the cycle of childhood, during which adolescence and puberty do serve a purpose! So remember that next time you get 'the eye-roll' — it's just life's kind way of helping you cope with your children growing up.
So yes, thank the heavenly stars for adolescence and puberty! (Oh my word, I never, in a million years, thought I'd be saying that.) I'm also thanking those heavenly stars that I had a plan — an exit strategy if you will. And that IS the ONE thing you need to know if you're a stay-at-home mom — your exit strategy.
Over time your little birds will be continually spreading their wings, and before you realize it (in the blink of an eye), they will fly away from your nest. You are sure to have made some sacrifices during that time — like your entire social life and career. Rather than be left thinking, "What do I do now?" — have an exit strategy and be able to say, "I can't wait to start (fill in the blank here)!" That blank can be whatever you'd like. It can be a career restart, a new venture, a hobby, a passion, a mission, traveling around the world — whatever floats your boat; as long as you have a plan that includes something into which you can pour yourself.
I have to admit that my exit strategy was probably 99.999% daydream and .001% bonafide plan. Although I couldn't be sure at the time it would ever be anything more; at the very least, the daydream afforded me a something to look forward to rather than a time to dread.
Eventually, I had a personal epiphany. It was at that moment I realized that if I could successfully raise and homeschool three children (nothing to shake a small stick at), I could do anything. Turn my daydream a reality? No problem.
So what was this daydream of mine?
It all started when my once very full life started to feel not-so-full. My daydreaming began right around the time my first two started learning independently of me in high school. I started daydreaming that one day I would design and develop 'simply perfect' products that would make it 'perfectly simple' for all parents to create fun and educational together time with their children. The business (although in my mind — 'an empire' — hahaha!) would be called Homespun and Hands-On®. The educational products — based on all the fun, hands-on learning activities I created for my children during our homeschool years — would be called Hands-On Kits 'n' Kaboodles™. Any supplementary materials would be called Hands-On Whatnots 'n' Wearables™.
And here I am today, with a website selling Hands-On Kit 'n' Kaboodles™ and Hands-On Whatnots 'n' Wearables™. I have launched two Hands-On Kits 'n' Kaboodles™; they are selling all across the US and Canada! I am excited to announce the launch of the next two Hands-on Kits 'n' Kaboodles™ in 2018! And I am happy to say, "I am living proof that having an exit strategy (even if it does start out as a daydream) from full-time stay-at-home motherhood will keep you busy, sane, and not missing your children — as much."
Homespun and Hands-On® is now a reality; my new baby, a baby that will need — as my children once needed — my undivided attention and constant nurturing to blossom and grow.
Hey, what's your exit strategy from being a SAHM? If you don't feel like you have one, is there something you daydream about doing when your littles become bigs? Pop your plans or daydreams in the comments section below; we'd love to hear about them!
Oh! And by the way, we'd be ever so grateful if you'd...