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A Purposeful Parent: Finding Your Way Once Kids Are Older

By: Donna Chaffins | Date: October 5, 2018 | Categories: Parenting
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Time is a luxury, it would appear, that we haven’t got. When we’ve got more important things than ourselves (especially if you are a parent), we tend to prioritize everything else, even the things that actually aren’t more important than ourselves. As a result, we leave ourselves so down low on the pecking order that we begin to neglect our own lives, health, and sense of self.

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For every parent, this feeling of not doing anything for ourselves will rear its head a lot, but when your children are old enough to go to school, or they are finally more self-sufficient, that recapturing of our former selves can be quite tricky, to begin with.

We may have lost our direction, which is why it’s important to find another purpose, apart from our children. Where do we begin with this?

Making A Plan

It’s common sense to begin here, because not only do you have many plates to spin, you might not actually know what you really want to do. You just know you have a lot of time available, which means you’ve got to put a lot of thought into it. But this is the benefit of using that free time you didn’t have before.

Your days and nights may have been crammed with parental duties, and once the children have gone off to school, you may find yourself with a couple of hours spare every day.

And while the temptation is to clean the house top to bottom every single time, is this necessary five times a week? No! It’s time for you to really dig deep into what you want.

Maybe you’ve had numerous thoughts over the years, or you had a career that provided that professional fulfillment but you gave it up to be a parent.

There’s a lot of soul-searching that needs to be done at this stage, and while you may have the luxury of time now, you still need to make your choices worthwhile. Creating a plan is all about deciding what you would like to do, and what skills are necessary for that role, and what you have to do to get those skills.

But we can do this endlessly for every single flight of fancy we have, which is why it’s essential for you to do some research on each flight of fancy.

Of course, the benefits you have, time-wise, means that you can really find out if it’s something that takes your fancy, not just if it’s something you saw on television and thought you’d like to have a go at that. A lot of people retrain, only to find that when they get into the job itself, it’s not what they thought it was.

So when you are fantasizing about your dream role, don’t just consider the glitz and glamour, but think about how it makes you feel. Will it make you feel fulfilled, or is it just something you’re clutching at because you now have the free time to pursue it?

Balancing Your Purpose With Your Family

Yes, it may feel like it’s time for us to focus on everything we want to do because we dedicated so much of our lives to everyone else, but we still have a job to do as parents. In which case, a job might feel like the perfect balance, especially if you get a part-time one, but is it a role that you will feel a sense of fulfillment in doing?

A lot of people do this midway through life, go back to college or university to acquire new skills, but financing your education is one of the most significant problems nowadays. This is why it’s crucial for you to have a long-term plan, and really figure out what you want to achieve now that your children are old enough.

Naturally, we have skills in looking after our kids, so, we could quite easily make the transition into nursing or caring. Although going back into education is quite a time-consuming effort, you could complete an online course, such as those offered by Carson-Newman Online University and achieve a qualification in nursing.

This is one of the keys to finding that work-life balance when juggling a family. Online courses can be an incredible lifeline when time is fleeting. So when you know exactly what you want to do, researching the role can be easily done online, as can be initial stages of learning.

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Making That Leap

It’s a very scary time, especially when you are used to being in the household, and the farthest you ever go is in the car to school or to the grocery store. Making that leap into a new career or pastime is very intimidating, because you are, in essence, leaping into a new life.

And the temptation can be to go back to what you know, and your parental role. But it’s now come to the point where you need to look after your own interests and put your needs before others in your family. The great thing about making this leap is that you are able to fail!

Now, this may sound like a silly idea, but you have such a place of comfort to go back to if the choice you make is the wrong one because you’ve been at home, or raising your family, for so long. But now, you’ve got the opportunity to do something for yourself, you can embrace the idea wholeheartedly.

Sure, it can feel terrifying at first, but now it’s a time for you to thrive, so why shouldn’t you go for it?

Developing yourself as a person away from your parenting duties is something we may forget to focus on, but as time goes on, and we feel that our children don’t need us as much as they used to, we can feel a bit on the empty side.

As a result, making that leap isn’t just beneficial to our frame of mind, but it could provide us with a whole new purpose to life. So when it comes to taking a new direction, we can always feel intimidated, but this is the case for every single one of us.

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