Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

By Miriam Slozberg

When you hear about someone going through a midlife crisis, you usually think of that stereotypical scenario of some guy in his forties impulsively buying a sports car and dumping his wife for a younger woman.

Well, let me tell you that is just a stereotype, and dealing with some kind of midlife crisis or transition is not something that only affects men. Many women are very much affected by it as well.

People going through it are affected individually, but many women who are in this phase end up confused, feeling lost and depressed. Many mothers who have given up their lives taking care of their kids, the home and their husbands end up putting their needs and wants on the back burner.

As a result, these women question who they even are, as well as the purpose in their lives … and many of them end up wondering if there is anything in store for their lives beyond what they have been doing for years or even a few decades.

They may suffer from regrets about making poor decisions that trapped them in their current, less-than-satisfying situations. Plenty of these moms going through this phase also realize that they don’t have all of the time in the world to make their dreams come true and start wondering when or if they can ever make that happen.

There are many mothers who are also sandwiched, caring for their children as well as their aging parents, and that pushes their needs aside even more. It is no wonder that so many moms reaching midlife become depressed and bored with their marriages and have an urge to just leave their responsibilities and live their lives once and for all.

Some have even filed for divorce for this reason alone. However, filing for divorce and leaving the kids and other responsibilities behind for this reason alone is not going to help. In fact, it will only make matters worse and will create massive regret later on.

Many people also go through a deep reflective time when they are around 60. Think about how you would feel then if you took off on your family because of feeling trapped during your midlife.

There is no guarantee what tomorrow will bring, but odds are if you are a woman who is going through this phase right now, your life is not over and you can start making plans to do those things on your bucket list now.

Let’s put the feelings of boredom, being trapped, dissatisfaction and even those depressed emotions aside and point out how you can plan for a more exciting life for the future.

  1. Accept Where you Are Now — Beating yourself up for not making good decisions earlier in your life that landed you in a bad place now isn’t going to solve the issues you are currently facing. You need to accept where you are right now, and that does not mean settling.

    Acceptance will bring you to a point where you are fully aware of where you are and what you would like to make better so you can start taking action.

 

  1. Set Boundaries — This is where so many women, especially mothers, struggle. They are afraid to say “no” and yet end up depleting themselves by constantly putting their needs aside.

    Are your kids depleting you? Then you need to encourage their independence.

    I know many moms (like myself) have kids with special needs, however it is very important that these children are as independent as possible. In some cases I realize that’s impossible, but in that case ask for help and make sure you don’t overdo it to the point that you are depleted.

    If you are caring for aging parents, demand help from other family members and only do what you know you can do to help and nothing more.

 

  1. Stop Feeling Guilty — This is also a huge one that will create burnout and stir up the midlife emotions even more in a negative way. For instance, if you are no longer able to care for an aging parent then start looking into help outside of the family.

    My son has special needs, and I know that he will need assistance of some sort during his life (this also comes with acceptance). Because I know this, and because it’s better for him to live up to his potential and live away from home when he is an adult, I am already making plans for his transition.

    Unfortunately, many moms who have kids with special needs feel guilty if they even think about doing what I am doing and intend to care for their kids well into adulthood. Those parents aren’t realistic about how they will likely feel and how that decision will impact their other children.

    There is nothing to feel guilty about making plans like this.You have needs and wants, too.

    If you keep sacrificing your life, you will only feel more resentful, depressed, and depleted and won’t serve as a good friend, mother, sister and daughter! Don’t feel guilty about not doing it all. That is because you can’t. When you reach a limit, don’t push it!

 

  1. Find Out What You Really Want and Go After it — What do you want to see happen in your life? What would you like to achieve? Do you want to start a business or expand on your business? Then carve away time just to focus on that!

    That time is your time to plan on making a dream come true. Your kids or husband cannot interrupt you during this time. Make that clear!

    Do you want to travel somewhere exotic? Start saving a little each month. Talk to your bank or financial consultant about how to grow your money.

    That money is yours to use for what you want! Not for your kids, not for your parents, for you!

 

  1. Reach Out to Other Woman Who Understand — Just know you are not alone in how you are feeling. Women reaching midlife are dealing with too many emotions to handle, and they cannot do it alone.

    Talk to other women going through the same thing. Talking with someone who truly understands can really lift your spirits.

    Isolation will make everything worse. If you are a mother facing overwhelming midlife emotions, just remember even though you can never escape some kind of responsibility completely, you can make things change for the better and live a more satisfying life.

 

You can go after what you want. Focus on what you do want while you are taking action and planning. By doing that, you will feel better. And most importantly, your needs and wants matter!

 
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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

 

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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