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The Middle Aged Tween Crisis

Being a working mother for nearly a decade and working with other working mothers I have come to understand the trials and tribulations we all seem to have in common.

It struck me during a recent coaching session that one of the repeating Aha moments many professional mothers I have worked with have, is the realisation that we need to re-design or adjust that picture we have of ourselves.  You know the picture we have of ourselves when we are 20 years of age.  We have often identified what we want to look like, feel like or have achieved by the time we are 40 (which is ancient when you are 20).  In most cases this involves a thriving career, having achieved certain status or management level within an organisation, a level of financial gain, assets (a house, an investment etc), travel, kids, marriage etc. and of course maintaining the body of a 20 year old!

By the time we are late 30s and into our 40s we have often achieved what we set our mind on, but we seem to have a level of expectation on ourselves that we ‘should’ continue to achieve at a pace we have done for the past 20 years while also having and raising a family.  The Aha realisation is that the picture we have had in our subconscious for so many years is potentially what is hindering us moving into a new phase of our life, now that we have children and understand what it means for us to manage both a family and a career.

On reflecting I decided this stage of our life as professional mothers’ is the ‘middle aged tween’ crisis.  Not quite a ‘mid life crisis’, it’s the crisis before the crisis. It’s the time when we aren’t ‘old’ yet, but we certainly aren’t in our 20s anymore. It’s a time to reset the picture we have of ourselves to both live in the now ‘realistically’ and also close the planning gap of where we are now and where we expect to see ourselves in our retiring years.

Rather than fret and continue to look at our past of how we planned to be or to look forward at where we want to be, it’s a time to look at now and ‘re-adjust’ the picture of where we are right now.

Five steps to work through to reset or readjust your thinking on who you are or who you realistically need to be right now;

  1. What are you top 5 priority areas in life? (Be honest, there is no right answer). Whether it is being healthy, your kids, your partner, your career or your freedom, choose what it is for you.
  2. Take your most recent week and map out where you spend the biggest chunks of time and energy (for example your job, your kids, family time, exercise, etc.) Look at the periods from 7am-7pm and then 7pm-7am.
  3. Compare where you spend your time against your priorities. How aligned or how mis matched are they?
  4. Identify what picture you have of yourself.  Is it reflective of your priorities, or does it reflect how you saw yourself 20 years younger?
  5. Readjust and create a new picture of yourself. How you look physically, mentally, holistically, what are your expectations, how do you feel and where do you see yourself heading?

A wise woman recently wrote, this is one of the most exciting and challenging times in your life.  The only perfect way to do it is your way.


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