My first is leaving for college, in a YEAR, and I’m freaking out NOW. Is that too early? Not for me. I’m a planner. I take comfort in having a plan “A” and having plan “B” just in case. It’s how I’m wired and I accept that about myself. So, when I felt unprepared for my son leaving my nest, I knew I had to create a plan to deal with the BIG changes I saw coming.
In the process, I became suspicious that there was a possibility that something was missing in my life. And I knew deep down, it was preventing me from getting to that place of fulfillment and happiness I craved so dearly at the thought of living without the busy raising-kids lifestyle. I know now that I’m not alone, so if you are feeling that too. I get you.
I know that hunger and curiosity to figure out what’s missing. What’s holding me back from that feeling I want, to get myself out of bed every morning excited to live life fully. And it’s my passion to share my knowledge and skills to guide my friends to that joyful place in life too.
What We All Need
In my practice, as a life coach, I’ve developed a guide or plan to help other moms figure out their path as well. It starts with learning a few basic things about yourself and all humans, really. It’s a list of our needs and what they look like in real life. Based on Abraham Maslow’s theory, it’s knowledge I’ve learned through my studies as a sociologist. This theory has stood the test of time and can be trusted.
Interesting, But What’s In It For Me
Let me share with you how to apply it to your experience as a mother so you can use it as a checklist to take an inventory of what you have achieved and what you may still be missing.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Physiological Needs
- Social Belonging
- Physiological needs are the need for oxygen, food, water, shelter, clothing and even sleep. I’m guessing if you are reading this, you have these covered.
- Safety is one level up in difficulty to obtain. We are talking about how safe you feel personally, emotionally, financially and with your well-being. This need is being met if you feel confident that you can pay your bills, have a little set aside in savings and feel good about the people you have surrounded yourself with.
- Social belonging can only be found after you have met your physical and safety needs. Now it’s starting to get complicated to get all our needs met. This need is all about your intimate relationships with friends and family. Social belonging can be found in small or large groups of friends. This is where as middle-age moms we begin to feel the stress of our current season of life because we have big changes in this area. When we are starting our own family, we are surrounded by extended family with the excitement of babies and the newness of a growing family. Then, we become connected to a community as we raise our kids in churches, schools and/or extra-curricular activities. We naturally and easily build several groups of small and large groups of friends. And the love from these friends gives us a sense of belonging we desperately need to feel welcome and joyful in our world.
As our kids progress through the school system and graduate high school, we begin to lose that community connection. We lose those regular visiting opportunities cheering on our kids. We lose the opportunity to volunteer in the schools or as a team coach or mom. Consciously and constantly maintaining and developing friendships is key to having the belonging need met.
Still, even when we are in a place that we have our belonging need met we still don’t feel completely fulfilled. We know there is more.
4. Esteem. Yes, it sounds somewhat egotistical because it is. Mom’s have egos too and we need our egos to be fed to be healthy. The way we achieve this is to be respected, recognized, valued by others and feel that we are important. Some moms keep their egos healthy with work outside of the home and some with volunteer work. Either way, this work builds our self-esteem or self-confidence that keeps depression at bay. The knowledge that we are mastering something important to us how we can give ourselves value.
5. Self-actualization needs to be the ultimate goal for a mom. It’s not just something she needs for herself but something she needs to live as a role model for her children. Self-actualization as all about being the BEST that YOU CAN BE. It’s all about you being uniquely you. The BEST version of you expressing and sharing your gifts and talents with the world.
6. Self-transcendence is all about your spiritual life. It’s about knowing that there is a higher being beyond your physical world. It’s about finding that higher level of consciousness where you feel a sense of peace about everything in the past, present, and future. It’s being clear about your ideas and feelings about your connectedness to the cosmos.
What’s Missing On Your List
Now that you have a working knowledge of a mother’s needs, think about it. As you were reading, did you think to yourself … hum, I think I want or need more of this or that specific need?
As a certified life coach, I partner with moms to make great strides to develop their social belonging, esteem and self-actualization needs.
The empty nest season comes with not only huge chunks of free time but it comes with big changes in friendships, marital relationships and most importantly the relationship you have with yourself.
Why Prepare for the Empty Nest
Moms who decided to prepare their hearts and minds for their inevitable life as an empty nester are more able to push away feelings of melancholy and sadness. These moms are too busy creating a new and exciting chapter of life for themselves. What’s more, it gives them new experiences to share with their empty-nested kids so they have two way-conversations about what’s going on in life.
If you are ready to start recreating your life by reinventing yourself, let’s talk. You can schedule a free 15-minute call with me to see if we are a good match to partner to achieve your goals to be joyful in the empty nest. Until then, I encourage you to continune on your journey to find the happiness you need and deserve.