Now That Your Kids Are in School, Who Are You?

by ParentCo. September 01, 2016

Before becoming parents, most of us had jobs and other interests, passions, and hobbies – whole parts of our identity that we no longer have now, post-babies.

When our pre-baby existence broke apart and we discovered a love unlike any other, our world was reconfigured. We were reconfigured. It was a time that demanded change.

Many of us opted out of the work force – by choice – to care for our children on a full-time basis. Others leaned out because of special circumstances, finances, or necessity. Whatever the case, there are millions of stay-at-home parents in the United States.

The work of these millions of people is often invisible, undervalued, and unpaid. It's rewarding in myriad ways, as well, but over time, many stay-at-home parents internalize the prevailing cultural sentiment that what they're doing is somehow less valuable than paid work.

It may become harder to remember who you were "before" and what you were interested in, what brought you joy. It's a real identity shift, one that can be difficult to sort through to any level of satisfaction.

So what happens to these full-time caregivers when their youngest child enters school for the first time?

The majority of full-time parents are women who suddenly find they're left wearing the only hat they’ve worn for many years – mother – yet their children are now out of the house for as many as eight hours a day. There's an awareness of the opportunities this block of time presents, – one being a return to paid work – but we lack the clarity and confidence to march straight back into a professional setting.

My co-host, Angela Arsenault, and I call this transition "Empty Nest Version 1.0." We're both lead parents within our respective families, and Angela is in the midst of her own transition back to work as we speak.

We've produced a 10-episode podcast called “Where Was I …?" about this particular time in life for parents who have been full-time caregivers.

"Where Was I...?" explores all aspects of this transition through stories and interviews, while also seeking out advice and guidance from prominent and successful leaders in their fields such as Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of “Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family,” and president of New America; Amy Cuddy, author of “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges;" and Carol Fishman Cohen, founder of iRelaunch.

Angela and I feel this is an important conversation for everyone to hear – regardless of your caregiver status – because the issues raised in this groundbreaking podcast have far-reaching implications for all members of society.




ParentCo.

Author



Also in Conversations

dont touch
What to Consider When Baby and Toddler Proofing Your Home

by Charlie Fletcher

There’s no way to completely limit baby's exposure to risks. Yet, there are some practical steps you can take to ensure that they can be in a safe environment.

Continue Reading

mother and baby
The Evening Ritual That Transformed Our Bedtime Routine

by ParentCo.

Taking inspiration from "Goodnight Moon," and research on restorative sleep, I created a routine that has put an end to our bedtime battles. Here's what we do.

Continue Reading

two women smiling
5 Steps to Giving (Good) Advice to New Parents

by ParentCo.

Here are five easy steps to giving your new-parent loved ones the advice they are looking for without looking like an idiot. (Often times, just listen!)

Continue Reading