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How Your Mom Responsibilities Will Change with Season of Life

It’s easy as a mom to feel as if there will never be time to do all the things you want to do. There are so many ways we want to make a difference and dreams you want to fulfill, but they don’t always fit into your demanding life. But take heart! There are different seasons of life, and different seasons of motherhood, too. Just because you can’t do something today doesn’t mean you never will.

1. Newlywed with no children

This stage of life, even for two-career couples, has a great deal of flexibility and margin. You work hard all week, but your evenings and weekends are typically free for doing whatever you want, whether it’s spending time with friends, volunteering, or pursuing other personal goals. Enjoy the freedom, and make the most of your time together as a couple, building a strong foundation for your marriage.

2. Mom to babies and toddlers

The bad news? This is a very demanding stage of motherhood in terms of hands-on involvement from sun-up to sundown. The good news? It’s also a lot of fun. Sticky, cracker crumb sprinkled fun. But this is not a phase of motherhood that coincides well with numerous outside obligations. If you need some stimulation outside the home, take advantage of opportunities that provide childcare, like a church bible study group that offers a nursery.  If you work outside the home, do what you can to make the time you do spend with your children enjoyable and nurturing, instead of hectic.

3. Mom to preschoolers

If your children are attending a mom’s morning out group or preschool a few mornings a week, you may have a little more flexibility in your schedule in this stage. But be careful—those two or three hours go by quickly, and some days you’ll need that no-kids-in-tow time just to complete the grocery shopping or get a haircut. So be selective about the outside obligations you take on, and don’t overload the cart.  Working moms also need to watch the urge to work more hours, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

4. Mom to grammar school kids

If you homeschool, your schedule might not change much when your kids start kindergarten. But for families who choose all-day school elsewhere, this can represent a big shift in the schedule. Parenting kids at this age is like bookends: crazy early mornings on one end, and jam-packed afternoons and evenings on the other. If you’ve previously decided to be a stay-at-home mom, you may decide to go to work for the first time in a while, or you may invest those hours in volunteering or making your home a wonderful haven for your family. Either way, you have more choices.

5. Mom to tweens and teens

It might be tempting to believe our kids at this stage when they assert their independence and insist that they just don’t need us “in their business” as much any more. Granted, your child should be acquiring the skills to take care of responsibilities on his own, but he still needs you to be engaged with him as much as possible, so don’t check out! It’s only in spending significant time with your kids at this age that you manage to know what’s going on in their lives because they tend to talk less. You may find yourself tapering back on the outside involvement just to be “around” for your kids.  If you do want to take on more, what about volunteering where your kids are for their activities?

6. Empty nesters

When your youngest leaves for college, it creates a vacuum that used to be filled to the brim with needs. If you also retire from a career around the same time, the change can be a shock to the system. When the kids leave the house, it’s the perfect opportunity to dive into those interests and opportunities that there was never time for before. Write that book. Travel more. Reconnect with old friends, and make new ones. Invest time in causes you believe in. And don’t wait too long. Why? Because soon there will be grandchildren, and you’ll shift gears yet again!

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© 2014 Family First. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.