About a month ago, my oldest child turned ten, which means that I've been a mother for a decade (although if you add up the ages of my kids, I have more than 20 contact-years, and I'm pretty sure some of those years count at least double). Here I am about ten years ago, holding my rather new firstborn and looking way younger (but very tired).
Not, mind you, that I'm out of the motherhood trenches. My youngest is only three. But there is an opening, more space, more time, more creative energy to spend on myself. Periodically someone will ask me if I'll be going back to work when my youngest goes to kindergarten (which is still three years away! what long thinkers!). My first reaction is always, Who will do the job I do now? And my second is, Who on earth would hire me, and for what? I was working from home as a copy editor for a medical website when my oldest was born; it was a great job. I was laid off when he was about nine months old, and while I often can't help but edit, even when unasked, I was happy to be able to focus all my attention in one place instead of trying to split myself. But really, what am I going to be hired to do, at this point, anyway?
And...what would I want to do?
That's the question. Because if this past decade was all about the babies, this next one will have more space, I think. It's not that my kids will need me less as they get older, but they need me in different ways. I'm not actively seeking any one goal right now--my life hasn't shifted enough yet to start something big, or even something medium, to be honest. But I think this year is about figuring out what the goals might be, of trying to bring more into focus. If I get a chance to choose, what do I choose?
So that's not really a resolution for 2012. It's more like a...mission statement, maybe? This is the year I work on figuring out what comes next...being open to hearing it and seeing it. Oh, that sounds pretty mystical for practical Virgo me. But there you go.
Happy 2012. What do you hope it has in store for you?