Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mid-Life Mothering and the Heroine's Quest

In some parts of the world, it's back to school week. In others, it's after Labour Day weekend, in a few more days. This year, I have only one child headed off to university out of town, for her last year. My son has flown back to the coop (almost, not living at home),  living in the same city. It always makes me wonder about my mothering role - when they are not at home anymore, and don't need me as much, but are still tethered to me by phone messages and texts.

What does it mean to have children later in life? I was talking to my hairdresser today, who has done a lot of weddings this summer, about the age women are getting married. She says most of them are in their 30's, but some as young as 24 (my daughter's age). Fifty years ago, this was probably the norm - my mother got married at age 21, and was done having kids by age 31 (eight in ten years, wow!)

My story was different, and I determined to be a different kind of mother. As I told my hairdresser, I got married at age 29, and wanted to have kids right away. But two miscarriages and seven years later, we had our first when I was 36, and my second child at age 38. I felt young, I looked young, but when you flash forward 12-13 years later, I was 46 and hitting menopause or pre-menopause as my kids were hitting puberty.  Not a pretty sight, lots of hormones flying in the air, lots of attitude, pouting, and mood swings hitting the fan!

It's not something we plan for - so many women getting married and having children in their 30's do not even think about menopause yet, they are focused on finishing school and getting in some working years before having children. But I wish I could tell them, from the vantage point of my wise old 61 years, remember that Mid-Life is only a decade away - and your priorities shift again. Mid-life has actually been the richest period of my life, and my 50's have been the most satisfying and creative years. But as I was leaving my forties, it didn't feel that way. There was a period of descent into overwhelm, confusion and lost wondering, where I was not sure of the way anymore, or of who I was, after so many years of intense mothering full-time (and writing part-time). The only way I got through it was with journaling, blogging and writing a book, The Tao of Turning Fifty about my rollercoaster ride through menopause.

The Heroine's Quest at MidLife 
Now in my early 60's, I have a much stronger handle on what the mid-life transition is about. It's about transition! It's about change. It's about redefining our sense of self (yet again). It's about finding mean and purpose and understanding our own story.

New Yorker Cartoon

'm preparing an on-line course in October for the first time, and am very excited to offer mid-life women (whether in their 40's, 50's or 60's) a chance to look at the story arc of their lives, and be their own Heroines. By that I mean, be the main protagonist in your own story - not necessarily Superwoman or Wonder Woman, but an ordinary woman going through the ups, downs, sideways moves, two steps forward, four steps backwards that constitutes a woman's cyclical life. The story we tell ourselves adds to our sense of the meaning and purpose of our life.

We may not be facing dragons and slaying monsters, on the outside at least, but we are facing challenges every day. Choices we make, juggling a home life and work life and children's lives, and still trying to find a sense of Self somewhere in there. The older we get, the more obstacles we've faced, the more achievements we have accumulated, the richer the stories that we will look back on and say, Wow! I did that, I went there, I can see the story unfolding (but often, only in hindsight).

"Our personal myth-or story- provides a way for us to understand our origins, who we are, where we belong, and whether our life has meaning. If we can be aware of our own story as it unfolds, we have a better chance of understanding and making friends with our lives. Mythic patterns provide guidelines or maps." The Heroine's Journey Workbook, Maureen Murdock.

If you are in the middle of a mid-life transition, or are curious about how to reclaim your story, or name what are living right now, I hope you'll check out this on-line offering -

Her Journey: the Heroine's Quest at Mid-Life, an 8 week class to help you reframe your midlife journey as a sacred task.

More details and Registration on my website:


The Tao of Turning Fifty,
and Creative Soulful Woman