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Monday, January 2, 2012

Reinventing Myself in 2012

In Janurary 2006, I felt the need to "reinvent" myself. I had recently quit my full-time job, given birth to my first child, and declared myself as a stay at home mom (something I never thought I'd do). But, what did that mean for me? What was I supposed to be doing? 

My eyes were opened up to a world of possibilities after reading a book called, "Reinventing Ourselves after Motherhood: How Former Career Women Refocus Their Personal and Professional Lives after the Birth of a Child" by Susan Lewis. The book provided me with a realistic sense of both the challenges and possibilities that were before me as I scaled back from my original career path and tried to find a balance between work, family, and myself. 

I realized then that I needed to reidentify myself and to come up with a vision for what my life as a mother would look like. Of course, I spent alot of time reading books and blogs on parenting, marriage, and homemaking. I cooked. I cleaned. I tried to embrace my inner June Cleaver. I came up with countless, schedules and routines. I talked to friends and looked for mentors. I also stayed active at church and in my career field. I did consulting. I taught social justice classes. I volunteered on the board of directors for a small non-profit. I took up blogging. In the midst of it all, hubby and I added 3 more babies to our family and bought a house. It is now 6 years later, and I am once again feeling the need to  do a little reinventing of myself.

I'll admit that 6 years ago, I was naive to think that the reinventing of myself at that point, would be the last.  I took it as a once and for all process. Life has taught me otherwise. I know this time that there may be many more times that I undergo a "reinvention" of myself. In fact, I think it is a necessary and beneficial response to life's changes and challenges. Lewis explains it this way; 
Though every woman makes changes in her life when kids come along, this is not a book about every mother today. Nor is there any perfect way to balance our needs for work, family, and ourselves...
What these women have in common is that nearly all of them originally planned to make their careers their top priority, not because they didn't want children but because they grossly underestimated the emotional and physical commitment they'd want to give them. When expectations collided with reality, they adjusted, bucking social movements, professional training, and the expectations of their peers. They transformed not in intellect, ambition, or desire--none of these disappeared.
They had, instead, a change of heart. With that change of heart, they refocused their ambitions, reevaluated their priorities, and redefined success.
They reinvented themselves.

Essentially, expectations have collided with reality in unexpected ways for me. As a result, I have again started the process of redefining success in my life. This time, I have more experience to inform my conclusions. For example, I have learned:

1. There are some God-given strengths and passions that a person possesses that are usually present regardless of what season of life the person is in. Trying to suppress them won't work.

2. Although it may be challenging, you will have more peace, joy, and productivity when you embrace and employ your strengths and talents. 

3. People are different. So what works for one may not work for another. (Honestly, people told me this, but I didn't get it. I can be slow that way.)

4. Although God's word is clear about the overall essence of what a good mother and wife looks like (proverbs 31), there is still much flexibility when it comes to the specifics of how each woman approaches these roles. Again, I reiterate point #3.

5. The right "balance" of family, work, and self may change depending on what is going on in your life at a particular time.

In conclusion, I am going to be redefining new goals and habits in 2012. One of my goals is to share my this process on this blog and I hope you join me for the journey! 

I'm wondering about you. Have you ever reinvented yourself? If so, when and what did you do? 


  1. I'm excited about reading your future posts. I definitely want to check out that book, because I've been feeling like reinventing myself too.

    I had just started to look forward to working part time since my children are older and more independent, and now I'm expecting another baby soon. So that has made me step back and think of how I can reinvent myself to pursue my passions but not in a way that would have me leave my baby, not even part time. :)

  2. S. Belle- Cool! Its nice to know I am not alone:)

    I really suggest you do read this book by Susan Lewis. It may really open your eyes to many ways to make things work!

  3. LaSandra,

    I'm reinventing myself right now!

    After homeschooling for three years, my boys are back in public school. Long story--and not what I wanted for them, but nevertheless it is what it is. The house is so empty without them and I'm not sure exactly what is next for me, but I'm exploring possibilities like doing more writing or working outside the home.


Your ideas, questions, and comments are welcome!