Rediscovering Who I Am Without Kids

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This post is written by School Mum Contributor Carolyn Tate

I’m writing this post on the first day my kids are over at their father’s new home. We separated this week and we have agreed to share custody of the children 50-50. My children are lucky enough to be loved by two capable parents, so I know that’s the best choice for our family.

If I was selfish and I had a choice, I would have the children all the time. But I know this is the right move.

What I am left with now is time to discover who I am when I’m not “Mum”.

All those times I wished I could be left alone to shower in peace, to just pop to the supermarket without having to strap people into the car, to be free on a Saturday night – all those wishes have come true.

So I could sit around and pine, or I could embrace this new opportunity with both hands. I’m choosing the latter.

At first I was terrified my spare time would become this huge abyss where I would be frozen into inaction and not know what to do with myself. But a wise friend advised me to write a list of all the things I wished I could do when I have the time. That way, when I have a spare day or evening ahead, I can look at that list and choose something.

So I’ve made my list. Some things will only take an hour and won’t cost anything, others stretch over days and may take some saving, but one thing’s for sure: I’ll always have options:

  • Get back to that yoga school I tried two years ago and loved, but have never had the time to get to
  • Go to the movies (a non-animated one!), not share the popcorn with anyone, and not have to worry about shooshing anyone
  • Visit friends who I haven’t seen in too long, in Melbourne and Sydney
  • Go kayaking on the Brisbane river like I used to 20 years ago
  • Go to a meditation retreat and experience deep peace and stillness
  • Go for a long drive and ferret through antique shops in the country – hopefully returning with stuff I don’t need but love anyway
  • Learn more about wine tasting beyond just being able to say, “mmmmm, delicious”
  • Join a running group – I always run alone and I see people from groups around the place who look like they’re having such a great time. I’d love to be part of that. 
  • Hold a kid-free dinner party – with hors d’ouvres and stuff kids hate. Not a nugget in sight!
  • Take a painting class. I used to love painting when I was younger but I wouldn’t know where to start now. I’d love a refresher and to see if that artistic spark is still there.
  • Start a book club – talking about books is a great love for me but I never get to do it at the moment. I generally hate other people’s book choices so I know I’ll have to start my own club.
  • Spend a day op-shopping. I have mad op-shopping skills but my time has always been limited. Having a day to sift through the rubble to make wonderful discoveries is my idea of heaven.

I’ll keep adding to this list as ideas occur to me, but I’m really looking forward to ripping into this list. I think the new me will be just fine.

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