Midlife crises can leave a trail of devastation and heartbreak for those left in the wake, but it doesn’t need to be this way. There are ways to have your midlife crisis leading to a strong sense of self and better relationships especially for transitioning mothers.
In the transitioning period from full-time to part-time mothering (there is no such thing as a retired mother), you may feel at loss for something to nurture. You may try to continue to nurture your children who will let you know in no uncertain terms that they are big kids now. You may try it out on your husband who will appreciate the extra attention, but could take it or leave it because he found his own hobbies while you were busy nurturing your young children. Besides, he may have other ideas on how he would like to be nurtured which does not fall into the platonic nature of your plans.
The over-achieving may opt to have a late-life baby which is lovely and precious. If you are like myself though when you hit middle age, you’re ready to be self-centered. A baby does not allow you that privilege. You can live vicariously through your fellow late-life baby producers and get your fill of baby love temporarily. This has the benefit of not having to turn that part of your brain back on. Mothers know it. It’s the part of your brain that knows exactly where your children are and what they are doing at every point in 24 hours. This is only a temporary fix though. We need to find another means to feed that need within us to (s)mother something.
May I make another suggestion.
Why not get a dog.
A Furry Nuturee
A number of friends and acquaintances lately have accumulated these bundles of high-energy love. They say it’s for their teenage children. Anytime you purchase a pet for your children, teenager or young adult, you really need to stop lying to yourself. You just purchased yourself a pet. If you have any doubts on that matter, look behind you…if the pet is in your vicinity, you’re their person.
Almost two years ago, I acquired my own midlife fur baby. Being a volunteer at a rescue, it was inevitable that I brought one home sooner or later. I ended up falling hard for a Rottie with hip issues and an Elvis curl to her lip. As in all life changes, the addition of a dog comes with its initial challenges and a settling in period. Then after your bundle of joy understands that chewing your computer cord is off limits and the bathroom is outside, life enters a period of (s)mothering bliss.
Let me extol their virtues.
You can totally love on your dog, and they will never say that is enough. In fact, they will lean in for more. Your micromanaging tendencies can take full flight with you maintaining a close eye on the quality of their feeds as evidenced by their bowel movements. With the additional bonus of not having to monitor screen time and the fact that they get you outside for a walk, you have the perfect nurturing scenario (midlife crisis).
Things to Consider
I will not delude you though. There are a few down sides that you may want to consider before you choose a dog over the corvette. They have an uncanny knowledge of when they get fed and do not understand what sleep in means. They do get a sense of entitlement and will begin to utilize their cuteness to bark for their evening treat, walk or when it is time for you to go to bed. In bed, they may occupy a large portion of territory. For some reason, they understand that they are yours so need to stay on your side of the bed. This allows your spouse the ability to stretch out while you are scrunched in positions that you are grateful you are still able to assume. This in turn encourages regular attendance at your yoga classes.
The Perfect Nurturing Scenario
Cons aside When you go nose to nose with your dog and look into those big beautiful, trusting eyes, all the negatives drop away, and you have the perfect nurturing scenario (midlife crisis) which causes no relationship damage with your spouse, easier (for the most part) on your pocketbook than a new car and better for your self-acceptance than those new breasts you were considering.
Dogs and children keep you young and make you remember that the best moments in life are inconvenient and messy. Dogs can help you through that period of grownup children to grandchildren keeping your sense of humor and relaxed life attitude intact. If you’re starting to dislike loud noises and lint on your clothes, are developing an obsessional need to control your environment and your schedule or even worse monitoring your own food intake versus your bowel movements, you may need to consider two dogs, one of which should be a puppy.
So do it. Have a furry midlife crisis.
Note: I am a huge advocate for adopting a rescue especially if you enjoy blaming other people for your child’s/dog’s behavior.