first name: Sharon
age: 40 (really?!)
current city: Memphis
living situation: I live with Scott, my husband of almost 16 years, and our daughters Madeleine (12) and Sophie (9). Our furry children, Millie and Henry, are portuguese water dogs.
occupation: stay at home mom and part time student
how do you structure your time and space? On weekdays, I get up around 6:45 to help get the kids out the door for school. Tuesdays and Fridays are typically days to go to the grocery and make my all-time-favorite Target run. To some, my days may sound rather mundane, but I am never bored. There is never enough time in the days and weeks! I have recently come to understand myself as the CEO of my home. This realization gives me great pleasure, and in a strange way, I feel rather powerful. My kids adore their father, and he is hands-on and helpful, but they usually come to me with their needs and concerns. Maybe Madeleine and Sophie rely on me for everything because I am their fellow female. But Scott relies on me too! I find myself saying things such as, “No, I do not know where you put your wallet!!!”
I try extremely hard each week to make sure I am taking care of me in some way while my children are at school and Scott is at work. Once they get home, it’s all about them. I allow myself an hour each morning to have my coffee and watch the Today show. I am enrolled part time at University of Memphis, where I am working on my Bachelor’s degree in Child Development. Going to school has given me the opportunity to use my brain for something other than managing my household, and it has also helped shine a light on my path which has often seemed blurry. I go to a dream-interpretation group once a week with some very wise and interesting ladies. I also attend a study group at my church every Thursday that I can. I also try every week to connect with a friend by having coffee or lunch. I have learned that my friends feed my soul, and in order to stay connected with them, I have to reach out. It’s just that simple.
Sometimes there are just days I do not have it in me to be a mom. I do not beat myself up about it. My kids are old enough now that they understand when I tell them I just cannot be present at this particular time. I lean on Scott and he comes through for me during these times. I just tell them the truth; I don’t dance around it. I think my kids appreciate that about me. I think I am teaching them how to speak up and say out loud what they are feeling. I hope I am teaching them the value of verbally expressing their needs.
using the metaphor of seasons to describe the phases of women’s lives,
-what are the particular challenges and highlights of your current season? I have felt for quite some time now that I am in between the seasons of winter and spring. I can see the buds of new growth. I can smell the new air. I can hear the birds making their way back, but I am just not quite there. It’s a wonderful place to be but it’s also frustrating. I feel this overwhelming sense of something I just cannot give a word to. I know that there is a new path for me that goes beyond motherhood. I can feel it. But, I still don’t know what it is, and that is very frustrating. I am so envious of women who know exactly what their gifts are and how to share them with the world. I know being in school is the right path, but sometimes I wonder what in the world I am doing! I am trying to discern what my spiritual gifts are and allow my spirit to guide me.
My daughters are growing up both physically and emotionally. Madeleine is twelve and her hormones are surging. She is having a tough year at school and that just breaks my heart. I am finding that watching my girls grow up so very quickly is taking quite a toll on me emotionally.
-What season(s) preceded this one? Before this season, I was in a dark and gloomy winter. I struggled with depression in my twenties and thirties, but the past few years have brought a different struggle that has been just as painful as depression. My health took a strange and frightening turn. My kids were going through all sorts of new phases that were no fun at all. My marriage was going through growing pains. Part of my family moved back to Memphis which brought about all sorts of new and unexpected challenges. But, I’ve come to realize that it is during these hard times when I learn something new about myself. I make it to the other side and feel a sense of accomplishment, and I also feel just a bit wiser.
favorite family activity/activities: We love our girls. We love taking them on trips. We love taking them to Broadway shows at the Orpheum. We love listening to all their stories. They are our inspiration. We look at them sometimes and cannot believe our love made these two fabulous beings.
favorite solo activities: I love to read, see movies, and travel, but my favorite pass time is enjoying time with friends and family. Scott and I both love to cook and eat, so any time we are with friends and family, it involves yummy food. We also really enjoy wine and love coming across a fantastic $12 bottle! Scott and I live a quiet life. We spend most of our time with each other. We love to go on dates. We try to have date night every week.
sources of inspiration: Besides my daughters, I am inspired by women who know who they are and what they want. I am inspired by my mother-in-law who is the wisest person I have ever known. I am inspired by my mother who never ever complains. I am inspired by my very eclectic group of girl friends. I am inspired by nature in particular trees and birds. I am inspired by people who always see the glass half full.
best MakeShift moment: I am sure this is not all that creative but it is a memory I have that always makes me smile.
When Madeleine was a toddler I could not provide enough entertainment for her. She was always ready to play! This was exhausting! There was a day that I just needed her to be occupied with something other than me. I gave her all my makeup, and for one whole hour she sat in the middle of our porch in the backyard and covered her little body from head to toe with lipstick, eyeliner, shadow, blush, and powder. It took forever to wash it all off, and I feel certain there are still make up stains on that porch to this day.
We do not need to personally entertain our children all of the time! Just give them a box of makeup and let their imagination take over!
[if you know someone who would make a good “mothers of invention” feature, check out the nomination process detailed on the sidebar pages to the right.]