The Roles Mother’s Play – Moving Towards Your Goals

QUESTION

I look around me and see all kinds of women who, after having kids and watching them grow into little adults, start to turn their sites on re-inventing themselves and moving on with their life in a new direction, but they lack the confidence to “dive in”. Any advice on what us gals should do to get/keep our self-esteem intact through this process?

ANSWER

JILL:
First, take some time to acknowledge what you have accomplished to date; you have succeeded at (to quote Oprah), “one of the hardest jobs in the world, being a mom”. You may have had no pay, promotions or sick days but being a mom was something that you willingly did 24/7. Add to that maintaining a home, wife, sympathetic sister, caregiver, and friend; your roles and duties have been many.

When being a mom becomes less of a full time job, you are faced with yourself. However, often with all the pressures of the above, you lost that connection with who you are. You need to re-establish a sense of self before you dive in to anything. From there you will be able to start to establish the self-esteem that you will need to face the next chapter in your life head on.

Create a team to help you – coaches, business consultants, mentors or counselors. Don’t feel alone, find ways to connect with like minded women, so that you can support and help one another.

Start to pursue new interests or pick up a long forgotten hobby or passion. Practice self-care with a fresh updated image – hair, clothes and make-up. As you start to feel more yourself look at what you want to do with the future. Brush up on rusty IT skills, prepare a new resume or take courses to help open new opportunities.

VICKI:
I’m going to use the “F” word here – fear. What you say is a lack of confidence really does boil down to fear. It makes perfect sense when you have had a long term routine, especially for stay at home moms. Whether you want to get back to the workforce or start your own business it’s normal to wonder and question if you have the skills to reach your goals.

This is where it’s imperative to know what your strengths are. Moms have more strengths / skills than they ever give themselves credit for; raising another human being is the most difficult and worthwhile job on the planet. The skills used and learned for mothering can be the same ones you use to move towards your dreams – courage, endurance, patience and please don’t underestimate love.

It’s time to reflect on what you have learned being a mom and acknowledge those skills, make a list of those attributes and move forward with them, not in spite of them. Then take Jill’s step-by-step advice.

Contacting A Birth Parent

QUESTION

I need to know whether I should attempt to contact my birth father, age 54, and half brothers. I am 37 years old. We have never met but they all know about me. The last time my birth father had contact with me was when I was 2 years old. I recently located one of my half brothers and he and his family live near my home.

My maternal grandmother raised me, from birth. My birth mother spoke with my birth father occasionally during my life. Her last contact with him was in the year 2000. He resides close to me. I have done research and know their addresses.

I would just like to see if I look like them or if we have any common interests. I am gay and I believe that both brothers are heterosexual.

I am very stable, professionally successful and self-reliant. I am fearful of rejection. I have always felt a sense of rejection deep inside my soul although I was always loved and had a good childhood.

ANSWER

JILL:
That is a lot of people to try and connect with and will at best be draining. You need to lay a strong emotionally foundation. So first let’s take care of you.
1. Where your father is concerned your feelings of rejection are understandable, as is your fear of possible further rejection from your father if you meet him. The best place to start is just being in the truth of those two feelings. Give yourself permission to feel them. Then breathe a deep cleansing breath as you take them in.
2. Take time to be proud of the “stable and professionally successful and self reliant person that you are today”. That will be the inner reserve that you will need to draw on.
3. Accept the fact that your desire to meet your father & half brothers is not an act of disloyalty to those who gave you a loving childhood.

One or all of these initial steps may take the support of good friends and if you have a partner share your thoughts with him. Consider support groups or a counselor, the important thing is that you don’t make any move to contact your father until you are feeling as whole and strong as possible.

4. When you feel ready to proceed (and there is no rush) you need to honestly review why you want to meet them. What are your expectations? I respect that you wrote “I would just like to see if I look like them or if we have any common interests.” On an intellectual level those words are true and genuine but meeting them is going to arouse emotions and you need to know how to deal with them. Is there a desire to reunite and stay connected on a regular basis? You need to be honest with yourself so that you can cope and so that the loving people who are in your life now know how they can best support you.

Only after this mental inventory will you be able to decide if you should contact them. If you choose to proceed, you might consider phoning first to see if they want to meet. Appearing on someone’s door step can be a shock to the person answering the door and their reaction might not be the best one. A phone call might be a better way to ease into a conversation. If you can only contact them in person be prepared for their reaction and don’t push. Have a card with your contact information on it and hand it to them with a “Get in touch with me if you want to.”

I wish you luck on this journey and hope that your father and half brothers want to get to know the person that you are.

VICKI:
Jill answered your question perfectly, I would like to talk about the deep sense of rejection that you feel within.

It is normal for a child to question the reasons their parent(s) are not in their life. Most children blame themselves deep down and assume that there is something wrong with them. They then internalize a mental list of all they feel is wrong with them. As an adult you know that you’re not responsible for their actions and given the age of your father I can only assume that they were too young and not responsible enough to look after a child.

The fear you have of rejection is that mental list from childhood that consciously or unconsciously still plays in your mind. To overcome this you must become aware of when you think these thoughts and when you have one you must replace it with a positive and true statement. Remember that these thoughts were your childhood thoughts, which were founded on childhood insecurities. They are not your truth and they do not serve you in adulthood.

My heart is with you as you make this important decision..