At first glance, I am a 43 year-old stay-at-home mom. In truth, if not in reality, I am an attorney, an author, an actress, a singer. How to make what's true real?
I wake up every morning with grand plans. I need to get started immediately! I may end up on on Good Morning America. I need to do this immediately. Got to fire off some emails, make some phone calls. Schedule meetings. What will I wear?
And then as if a sudden storm has knocked out the electricity, I realize that it's 6:45 AM and my son will miss the train if we don't leave in 5 minutes. And he is still asleep. What will I wear? Looks like my pajama pants. Again.
But, if I'm honest, is it really the demands of motherly responsibility that cause me constantly to put my grand designs on hold? Or is it the complete and utter lack of confidence and direction that a decade of tending to those demands has produced.
My resume? On paper, I am 43 years old. I have not practiced law, gone to work in an office or drawn a steady paycheck in over 10 years. I email, I text and I play around on FaceBook, but beyond that, technology has advanced around me in ways I'm barely aware of. I like movies and the theatre. I like to travel. I keep the busy schedules of three kids aged 10-16. Let's just say I'm not exactly over-qualified. On paper.
Confidence. Did I mention that I'm 43? But seriously, someone asked me not long ago what I did. After a pause, I said, without conviction, that I was a lawyer. Before they had time to cover their surprise, my ten year-old chimed in, "No you’re not." Who was right? I realized that I wasn't even sure myself anymore.
But then it slowly started to dawn on me. Recently, the discussion around the carpool line with the other mothers has been: What can I do? I want to do something! I need to do something! I can do something! I can do anything!! The bravado builds until someone raises the ever-pending question: Where do we start? And the crowd goes silent.
But this time, it's not a conversation-stopper. Quite the opposite, in fact. We find we all share common desires. We want to pursue NEW interests, or old interests never pursued. And we need something less restrictive, with more flexibility. Something else entirely. We don't want to give up going to all of our kids' recitals and sporting events. Being there whenever they need us. But we need something more, either for our mental well being or as an economic necessity! Something the very thought of which will bring a smile to our faces and put a spring in our step every morning when we wake up. That will force us to use our fertile minds, so long laying fallow, allow us to interact with other intelligent adults on all subjects. From a theater group to an Internet startup to a new shop in that space for rent on Main Street, the possibilities seem endless. The prospects so exciting. And, suddenly, so doable. Wow. The air is so fresh, the sky so blue, the greenery so flush with color. Today is the day! Rebirth!
But the question still stands: Where to begin?
I sit down to think. I need guidance! Support! Direction! How would I go about starting a theatre, book or movie discussion with like-minded women? Who can I talk to about travel ideas – or even an escape plan for a day – who’ll bring my perspective, my aspirations and an appreciation for the limitations of my situation to bear? Where would I even begin to find the sort of job that might make sense for someone like ME? How might I go about continuing my education in some way that actually fits with MY LIFE? What kind of volunteer opportunities are out there for people like me? Who can I talk to? I need other mothers who have walked in my shoes and successfully shaken off the inertia to tell me what they’ve done and how they did it. Inspiration comes from stimulation. Where do I go to find it?
I’d have troll a thousand websites to explore all of the different paths that might lead me to my epiphany. And even then, they’d be generic, antiseptic one-size-fits-all. If only there was a single website designed for women like me, in my situation, that brought all these things under one roof and presented them from OUR perspective, in a way expressly designed to help us achieve our goals.
And then, of course, it hit me over the head. I WILL START THAT WEBSITE. THAT will be MY thing!
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