Empty Nester – yet still immersed in Motherhood guilt.

 

Yup, I did it.  At the ripe age of 53, I “rescued” a canine creature.  I have never owned a dog in my entire life, but after much debate and pondering with my hubby, we decided this may be the answer for me.

This all happened two years ago now, and Stanley has been in our life and become part of our quirky household.   I was struggling with the quiet loneliness once the kids left the Nest with Mike still working tours overseas.  The decision was made to give it a go and start by Fostering a dog to see how it worked for us.  Well of course in a short space of time I became what’s known as a “Foster Failure”.  This is actually a positive thing meaning that you’d failed at being a Foster Dog Owner, and had actually decided to adopt the pooch.

He really has been a bit of dream dog for us.  No whining, no barking at every little thing, no chewing of furniture.  Just the odd bit of aggressive behaviour when on leash.  We changed his name from “Tyson” (he never answered to it anyway – and being as my husband is called Mike, we just didn’t think that would work for us) to Stanley, aka Stan-the Man, Stanners, and Stan.

The main problem with having a dog is all in my head.

The issue that I’m having with owning a dog has nothing to do with him, but instead this irrational guilt I carry. Turns out its not him, it’s me.

You see, I seem to have held on to that amazing skill I have to immerse myself in the “Motherhood Guilt” technique that I had fine-tuned over my 20-or-so years of being a full-time parent. Now I have developed the ability to put that same guilt on myself for leaving Stanley alone for a longer period of time (6-8 hours).  Yes, I know, I’ve heard all the advice before.  “He’s just a dog”,  “They just sleep anyway”, “They have no concept of time”.  But still I go round in circles worrying in my head.  Does anyone have any better advice than those listed in the previous sentence to help me get over this ridiculous issue?

Tonight, I’m enlisting my “self-talk” skills and going off to work for what may be a 7 hour shift while Mike is away working.  “You’ve got this Kim, he’s just a dog, he’ll sleep, it’s all good”, I’ll be chanting to myself.   Summer’s coming and more of this is coming, too.  I need to smarten up.  Fast.

 

20160918_122139-800x450.jpg

 

Advertisements

It’s a New Year, a New Day, a New Life ……..

………and I’m feeling, gooooooddd.  (in the words of many a jazz singer!)

Yes, it’s a New Year, and a time where many people make resolutions for new beginnings, achievements, goals etc.

For me this year, being the “Evolving Empty Nester” I am working on myself  and running towards how I can be the best Kim Kohan possible.  I don’t think of it as a Resolution, more of a “work in progress”.  I don’t want to just settle for the way I am now, but want to find the best Kim that I can be.

Whilst doing that, I’m putting it out there that there will be a sign showing me which direction to take with my life/career/time going forward.  Don’t get me wrong – I actually LOVE being a Server at a fabulous location and business in the Okanagan and I feel that I could quite happily go along doing what I’m doing – but feel that there is something more out there for me.  I love to train/coach people, I love to be moving at work (not sedentary), I love to be in a positive environment, I love people laughing at my jokes (or maybe they’re just humouring me, but I enjoy that anyway.)   I am great with staff and customers alike.  Now to wrap that all up into one thing and make it my own.  That’s what my goal is this year.  To find out what that bundle is!

Just to backtrack  4 sentences in the previous paragraph – yes, I feel I AM great with people!  This might sound braggy I realize – but shouldn’t we know our strengths in order to go forward?  So I wrote it – bragginess and all, hope you’re not offended.  I believe it’s important for your self-worth to realize and be proud of your abilities.

To summarise, my 2018 Goals are to keep  working on being the best possible Kim Kohan there is, and along the way – be shown how to make the money I need to have everything I desire going forward!  I am on the Cutting Edge of Evolving!  (Someone just said that to me).  Stay tuned!

 

The party is just beginning………

I’ve been on a bit of hiatus from my Blog for quite a while, but I recently received some words of encouragement to write again.  I was offering some of my “words of wisdom” to a friend of mine and actually, she loved what I had to say! “You should write about that on your Blog” she suggested.

So here I am.  Blogging about it.

While being on a wonderful holiday in Perth, Australia,  my Sister-In-Law left an appropriately placed informational book on the bedside table of my room in her apartment.  This publication was about moving into and through your mid-life and finding ways to deal with all that comes with that phase.

Being an “Evolving Empty Nester” I was completely open to reading this book feeling that it may assist me with my present transition in life.  My current way of thinking was teetering between “Now what?”,  “I have no idea”, “I miss my kids being at home so much”,  “I don’t want to move on”, ” I just want that time again” and finally – “I’m on the downhill slope to the end of my life”.  None of which are in anyway productive to a happy, enjoyable mid and older life.

My thought on mid-life in the past seemed to be on how my body would begin to fail in many ways – strength, appearance, and susceptibility to injury and illness, and that it was a slow downhill slope once you hit your 50’s.

But then I read the aforementioned book and developed a whole new outlook on the next “Empty Nesting” phase of my life.  This judiciously placed book was a positive guide to recovering individuality and mapping out a second life.  It made reference to time spans in our life and looking at what the reader had been able to do and achieve in that period of time.

Let’s make a positive prediction that I’m going to continue to live a pretty healthy and active lifestyle, just like I am now, and that I will be able to do anything that comes my way physically and mentally  from 54 (now) to say 85.  Then that’s still another 31 years of living ahead of me.

I then compared that upcoming 31 year time-span to another 31 year time period in my earlier life – when I was 19 to 50.  Then I contemplated all the things I had fulfilled in that time, what I had achieved, experienced, and how I’ve grown as an individual.  Let’s just put that in a super brief form – I’ve had many great jobs leading to a fun-filled career, found my wonderful husband, raised 2 amazing daughters, lived in 3 countries, rescued a dog, grown hugely as a person, and the list continues……

Slowly – a whole new realization came to me……….. I have a whole lifetime ahead of me and it’s not downhill at all!!  (Unless of course, I allow that to happen).

Doesn’t this thought seem so much more positive in comparison to my former way of thinking that the next 31 years will be a downhill decline?

Now all I have to do is sit back, stop worrying that “time is marching on”,  but just be-in-the-moment. Enjoy-life.  Stop-worrying.   I have a large expanse of time ahead of me.  Who knows what delights and experiences I have to come and how I will develop and grow as a human??

My outlook on this next phase, my “Empty Nesting” phase,  has changed towards a positive future, and that’s a great thing!

Stay tuned for my “whats coming”…….

                    

Nineteen – or thereabouts……………………………………………………and 31 years later

3 years to Evolve into Motherhood, maybe 3 years to Evolve into an Empty Nester?

1993 – here I am, a successful Front Office Manager of a 5 star hotel in Darwin, Australia, now pregnant and picturing this exciting “my heart is full” change in my life that is called “motherhood”.   This was what I pictured –  move to Canada, BC – the land of Christmas trees, gorgeous scenery and a new life.  Baby snuggled in my arms as I glide back and forth in my rocking chair – my baby looking adoringly up at me and smiling.  Husband by my side bringing me cups of tea and loving our life.

I packed up our life in Darwin, and moved, 4 months pregnant to the top of Vancouver Island, B.C. ready for this dream to become a reality.

Zooming ahead a year and my reality was quite different.  My hubby was away with his work more often than not; we had a beautiful, healthy baby girl that I couldn’t “manage”;  I was so stressed, not coping and definitely not a natural born mother.   It seemed that I could manage a 5 Star Hotel along with approximately 30 or more staff in my department, however I was at a loss as to what to do and how to make this gorgeous baby girl happy.  Demanding/drunk/rude guests were way easier for me to handle and appease than our baby was.  I could never figure out what it was she wanted or needed – this was not the way I pictured Motherhood unfolding.

Parenthood was not getting any easier for me as the weeks of Motherhood turned into months.   I was constantly stressed with scheduling every little thing (bad idea in hindsight), I had insomnia and was constantly collapsing into tears.  By the time Morgan was 9 months old, I could picture myself walking past that Christmas-Tree-lined beach whilst my baby slept,  and sliding into the ocean on a one-way ticket out of my self-believing incapabilities.  This was not how I thought my life as a Mother would be. By the time our baby was 10 months old I was diagnosed with Depression.

As Morgan grew older my support network grew larger, (click here to read about some of those ladies) my medication seemed to be kicking in and my confidence grew as a Mother.  By the time Laura was born I had more of a handle on my “Motherhood” situation, and had started to settle into it, relax and embrace this new role in my life.

Looking back over my years as a parent, I would say that although Motherhood is an ever-evolving job through the years of our kids differing phases, it took me at least 3 years from the birth of my first child, to start to feel like I’d survive and do OK as a mother. I wouldn’t kill myself, my kids or Mike and would actually love this role, and love it – I certainly did!

Fast forward to the teenage years, and I’d like to say I “came into my own” as a Mum.  I loved this age where they were exploring their boundaries/world/life and figuring out their future-selves and paths that they would take.  Being part of this process was a wonderful thing and I’m so blessed that we came through those years with only a few small bumps in the road.  Now I have the most wonderfully solid Mother/Daughter bonds with both my girls.  Compared to the baby years, this stage of my kids’ life was easy, joyous and so much fun as I saw my years of nurturing unravel in these amazing young women who evolved to be confident, caring and loving.

I had a “lightbulb” moment last week when I realized that it took me a good 3 years to be comfortable in my role as a Mother, so maybe it would take me 3 more years to find my comfortable space as an Empty Nester?  Maybe I should not beat myself up about it and stop worrying about not having the next part of my life all planned out.  As my Grandmother used to say “all good things come to those who wait”.  Let’s hope so anyway.  I’m waiting and searching for sure.

IMG_0337

 1996

IMG_0336

2002

IMG_0420

2014