4 Lessons When My Life Changed 10 Years Ago

In 2008, my life changed. 2018 makes me realize how much has happened in ten years, and how each decision impacts our lives.

In 2008, I left my teaching job because something needed to change in my life. Our family of four included kids in grades 10, 7, 4, and 1st. I had 180 students in my classroom that year. Between grading papers, running to my kid’s ballgames, and making sure I had everything in order both at home and at school, I was emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted.

There’s a saying, “If mama ain’t happy, then no one’s happy.” Is it ever that way in your house? It was in mine at that time. You’re angry or irritable. You yell at the oldest kid, they boss the younger kids, and fighting falls down the family food chain and the youngest one kicks the dog. The stress of deadlines, demands, and meeting everyone’s needs spread me thin. I was only 40 and felt trapped in my life, thinking there was no way out.

Yet, I realized there were only two more years with all four of my kids at home. If something didn’t change, they would remember me as an angry, stressed out mom. Not the picture we moms dream of when we bring those babies home from the hospital. But real life isn’t idyllic and it doesn’t live in our Instagram feed.

I made a hard decision and left the profession I love. I went back to graduate school for another degree with more job opportunities. The life changing experience has taught me many life lessons:

  1. We have control and choice over our behaviors. We can’t blame anyone else for how we act or think. If we are stuck in unhealthy behavior, we have control and choice over it. If your life isn’t working for you, you can change it.
  2. Change requires risk, but it’s worth it. It was a financial and personal risk to leave a secure job to do something different. Taking the risk into the unknown brought positive change in our family and new opportunities I would have never known about.
  3. You’re never too old to learn or try. Over the last ten years, I’ve had to learn new technology, fields of study, and new ways of doing things. In learning new things, you never stop growing.
  4. The people most important to you should guide your decisions. I felt like a failure when I left the classroom. I felt like I disappointed people and I wondered what people would think. But I had to do what was best for my family. They’ve enjoyed a less-stressed mom in recent years.

Whatever is making you feel stuck in 2018, I encourage you to look at the areas you have control over and what may need to change for a healthier life and relationships. Only you can make the changes. But if I can do it, you can, too.

Find out more about intentionally raising your kids until they all leave the nest in my upcoming book, Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind, releasing March 13. You can preorder it here

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