I’m not having a midlife crisis, I’m having a “my-kids-are-getting-older-and-don’t-need-me-as-much” crisis

So this morning I was driving to pick up the groceries, after I took Zoey to the ice skating rink, after I made sure the kids were fed and had their lunches and backpacks all ready for school, and I had this bad feeling about myself. I was feeling very unaccomplished.


And yet I was feeling UNaccomplished.

It’s like all my adult life I’ve said that being a stay-at-home-mom is one of the hardest jobs on earth, and yet lately as my kids have been getting older, I’m feeling like my “job” isn’t a full-time job anymore. Like it used to take up 24 hours a day (17 if you count sleeping which I don’t because my little douchenuggets were constantly needing me in the middle of the night), but now that they’re older, they’re taking up less of my time.

And I’m having a feeling I haven’t experienced in over 12 years.


Like Holden will be at soccer practice and Zoey will be locked in her room being tweenagery, and suddenly I’ll be standing in the middle of the kitchen going now what do I do?

I’ll start sorting through the stack of mail and there’s a random catalog called Garnet Hill and I’m leafing through it and suddenly something occurs to me. I don’t even know WTF this catalog is and I’m not going to actually buy anything, so I just wasted like ten minutes. Now what? 

Oh I know! I’ll start doing a few hobbies to fill my time. Like decorating cakes and playing tennis. And now when I say let’s do lunch to a friend, I don’t mean it in a let’s-say-we’re-gonna-do-lunch-and-never-actually-do-it kinda way.

The OLD me: Let’s do lunch.

FRIEND: Yes, let’s!

The NEW me: Let’s do lunch at 12:00 on October 6 at the sushi place.

FRIEND: Wait, like actually do it?

But even though I’m having fun with these new hobbies, they don’t feel like enough. At the end of the day, I’m still feeling UNaccomplished.

It’s like for the past 12 years I’ve been the CEO of a busy family, and now I’ve been demoted to chauffeur. And in 3.5 years Zoey will get her driver’s license and I’ll lose my chauffeur job too.

So is this when I tell you I’m going back into the corporate world? No F’ing way. I mean sure I would love a regular paycheck again, but A. I don’t know what job I would do that would make me happy. B. My resume has like six inches of dust on it. And C. I remember how I felt at the end of my working days—unaccomplished AND pissed off.

I wish I had some career I loved that I could go back to, but I don’t. Am I jealous of my friends who love their jobs? Absolutely. And maybe I could have found a different career if I hadn’t stayed home with the kids all these years, but honestly, I don’t regret it AT ALL. I’ve loved my time at home with them and I count my blessings I was able to.

So now what?

I wish I had some magic way of tying up this post to tell you I have a plan. I don’t. I keep trying to remind myself that it’s okay to feel bored. That working a 24-hour-a-day job for 12 years has earned me some downtime. And it has. But I need more. More of “what” is the question.

More than getting excited because I hear the squeak of the mailbox. More than running to Target just because I have time to. More than developing a better backhand on the tennis court. More than schlepping my douchenuggets to and from 9000 activities.

More of something that’s going to make me feel accomplished. I’ll let you know what that is when I figure it out. If I figure it out. In the meantime, it’s off to Amazon to see if I can order myself a chauffeur hat!

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There are 9 comments for this article
  1. Ann at 9:25 pm

    Yeah. My kids are in their 20’s and have flat out told me they don’t need me anymore. I’ve been a SAHM with them for 25 years. Now what? Totally feel this post!

  2. April at 10:05 pm

    Volunteer somewhere to feel like you’re not wasting your days. Even a few hours a week.

    • Meghan at 8:30 am

      I went back to school after 13 years. I could never figure out what I wanted to do. I couldn’t handle staying home full time because I felt so unaccomplished all the time. Sometimes I still do. I am finally in a place where I love my job (middle school science teacher!) And it works out because my kiddo is in middle school and needs me less and less every day. Now I need to figure out the work/home life balance. We’ve been eating out WAY too much because I’m just so exhausted at the end of the day.

      One thing you could possibly do is substitute in your kid’s school district. We are hurting for subs, and I think that’s probably everywhere right now. Just a thought!

  3. peggy at 7:04 am

    I never had kids but totally get what you are saying. I was a school teacher for ten years and then a tennis pro (give a yell if you need any tips!) and as I see the kids in my tennis classes growing up it definitely gives me that “now what?” feeling. I vacillate between “holy crap! I have a list of things I could/should do” and “I think I’ll just sit and read/wander the house doing half started projects”. None of which makes me feel like I have accomplished ANYTHING. I can’t wait to hear what you find to give you that feeling of accomplishment. Maybe it will spark something in me, too.

  4. Julie D at 9:49 am

    I work full time, but I still get what you’re saying. It’s a balancing act between relief/enjoying the free time and feeling your job is being devalued and downsized! How about volunteering somewhere there are kids who still need a “mom” who maybe don’t have one, or whose mom is struggling to give them all the great help and support you can give? They would be so lucky to have you. 🙂

    • Julie D at 9:51 am

      Sorry, I should have said, I work outside the home full time. Except now I’m doing that work from inside the home. But it’s outside the home type work. I’m so confused!!! 😀

  5. F at 11:11 am

    You could sort of ‘re-invent’ yourself by considering going back to school to do something you will actually love; counseling? Being a therapist (mental health)? Dunno, just saying.

  6. Meaghan at 10:59 am

    Not me crying to Reba macintire’s “is there life out there” this morning after I dropped the kids at school

  7. Kezia M at 3:45 pm

    Start by volunteering at the schools! They ALWAYS need dedicated parents to help out in so many ways- from PTA, to classroom moms, to just READING with low kids.
    May turn into something you’re passionate about!