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The ‘obsolete mum’ -what next when the full-time mum job ends and she finds herself made redundant.

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Most mothers dream of being the best mother they can be. Stepping into motherhood with high expectations all wrapped in fear of the unknown. For me, my life change forever from the moment I held my children in my arms. I become an obsessed protector with a love that was and still is immeasurable, absorbing myself into the life of these little humans, but what happened when this full-time job was complete, and my children became adults?

It’s healthy when our children feel that they are ready to embark into adulthood, they exercise their own decision making and live the way they choose to live. They want to feel grown up, so they detach from their ‘Mum’. They know they are ready to leave the bubble they grew up in and are ready to be on their own adventure. They become busy in their own lives, learning all the things we also had to learn as young parents. It leaves us ‘Obsolete’ Mothers feeling not needed anymore.

As mothers, we made our decisions and choices when raising our children. Some really good decisions, and some that we wish we had done differently. We hold guilt in our hearts and even regret, but we did what we had to do with what we had. The sleepless nights; the anxiety of when they had to start school trusting they would be ok; when they became the defiant teenagers doing everything you told them not to; when they gained their driving license and came home late or not at all for days! An array of emotions, grey hair, and heartburn from the stress but love always gets the Mother through it all. Even when they have done or said something to hurt you, their smile... their hug... wipes it all away.

That gut-wrenching moment when you know you can’t go back and do it again. When you can’t right the wrongs but accept them and do better next time in different ways. The wish that you could go back and hold your child in your lap whilst watching them sleep, stroking their face and kissing their cheek. A mother of adult children recalls many precious moments with sadness, knowing she can’t hold those moments in her present, but keeps them locked safely in her mind and heart forever.

Over those precious years, a mother held many professions: Chef, Cleaner, Nurse, Teacher, Negotiator, Child Psychologist, Cheerleader, Storyteller, Hairdresser & Stylist, Event Planner, Bodyguard, and leading the Tactical Response Group! Just to name a few! and now that her children have grown up, her role feels gone. The ‘obsolete Mother’ is left feeling invisible.

As I watched my babies grow up before my eyes, creating their own lives, I was filled with great pride, yet I was feeling a sense loss and grief that I was losing my babies. That feeling of detachment felt so real, like someone cut a lifeline cord and I felt myself slowly fading into a space I didn’t recognise anymore.

Where is the woman that entered the ‘pre kids’ vortex? and who the hell is the woman that has been spat out the other end? Flooded with emotions of anguish and uncertainty, asking myself “Who am I now?”. Knowing I couldn’t go back, left me feeling heartbroken but I had to navigate through the uncertainty before me.

This is where my new journey began. Redefining my old self by thinking of myself first, something I felt guilty doing in the past. I was so use to putting my children first. But now they are their first and when they have their children, they will change and evolve again. I took small steps, one by one, peeling away layer by layer. I knew that no one could do this for me, I had to find who I was again by myself. I began to take care of myself, listen to what I wanted, appreciate myself, embrace and love every piece of me.

All I gave to my children taught them what they needed to know and this next step would now become the next lessons to teach them. A mother job never really ends, or becomes ‘obsolete’, it just evolves into the next level. When you learn to love yourself, trust yourself, face challenges and believe in yourself, you then teach your children how to be adults. Remember, they are always watching you no matter how old they are. As you focus on you, you are still the teacher. Own your mistakes, we all make them! Don’t make yourself smaller to allow others to stomp all over you and form healthy boundaries so you always keep yourself healthy, happy, and growing.

Then come the calls when your children ask you for advice or want a recipe of their favourite dish you use to make them. They will check in with you to share their highs and lows, and they may one day gift you with the honour of going from ‘Mother’ to ‘Grandmother’. The grand is added because you did it! You did your best and now its their turn! From the moment you become a Mother, you will be a forever Mother in a line of the Mothers before you. Cherish this and keep being the mother you hoped to be!

Author Rose Monaco’s book “An Inside Job – A practical guide to finding your true self”, shares her tools to apply to any changes that cross your path. Revealing the 5 levels from darkness to light, and how to work with challenges instead of against them. Allowing these tools to be your guiding post to take charge of your life. Being a mother and grandmother, Rose walked through the darkness of change in her life that felt it was no longer hers, and created her new life where she finally found her place in. No one can change your life, its up to you. Your life is an Inside Job!

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