What Comes Next?
Excerpt from interview with Paula Sacco for Collegiate Parent magazine.
Part of the sadness that can accompany watching one’s children grow up, become more independent and leave home comes from the acute awareness that a familiar way of life is changing.
For many parents, the realization that the job they have embraced with complete dedication for two decades is being cut to a part-time gig can be both painful and unsettling. Along with missing the daily interaction with their children and the accompanying tasks and tumult, parents on the cusp of becoming empty nesters may feel a loss of identity, leading many to ask the question, “What comes next?” (Although I address mothers in this piece, I fully understand there are dads in this position, too.)
Paula Sacco, a certified professional life coach in Lexington, Massachusetts works with women going through this transitional period in their lives. She helps them “reinvent themselves and design their life post-mothering.” She refers to this stage of life as the third act; the first act is the original career you might have had and the second act is motherhood. Paula feels it is important for women to recognize that they are not the same person they were before they had children. For moms who gave up careers to stay home with their children, she suggests a four step program (finding clarity, gaining confidence, taking action and having accountability) to help them rediscover their passions and find a purposeful life.