Finding Yourself: Life After Your Kids Start School

Hey y’all, I am Erica. I am a new writer here at Desert Moms Blogs. I am excited to be here and share with you all a piece of my heart each month. I am a full-time lifestyle photographer, a mom of three and a wife of 17 years. My kids ages are 19, 15 and 9, big range and they are all at different stages of life. I feel like I have a little something to share since I have been a mom since I was 14, yes you read that right, more on that a little later.

Self- Portrait of my youngest daughter and I (PC: Woodsy Wonders Photography)

Let’s dive into my topic, finding yourself after your kids all start school. Let me tell you my friends, when my youngest started school I was so lost. I have been raising kids since I can remember. I did not know what to do with all my new time. I went through a stage where I went back to bed after sending everyone off to school and work. Then I would binge watch Gilmore Girls until it was time for the afternoon routine. I gained about 30 pounds and didn’t feel good about myself. I forgot what it was like to be me. What was that like? Who am I if I don’t have a kid latched to me 24/7?


It was something I needed to figure out. I have been a stay at home mom for 10 years. I needed to find out who I was as a person. Some may say I went into a dark deep depression because I lost my best friend. I really felt like I did. You may think it’s all rainbows and unicorns but I didn’t think of everything. What I didn’t think about was how quiet the house would be after they all left or how I would have to do all my errands, with no helpers. I really started to rely on my kids to be there with me everyday. It hits you and hits you hard. I decided the only solution was to start taking care of myself again and get into a routine. Here are some things that might help if you are where I was:

  1. Make personal goals to work towards, these can be big or small. Maybe it's a weight goal or just a simple goal to eat healthier.

  2. Find a hobby you enjoy, this can be hiking or take a cooking class. Ask a friend to join you or find something you like to do alone.

  3. Apply for that job you have been wanting to start. Have you always wanted to apply for that dream job but kids were holding you back? This is your time.

  4. Pamper yourself because you deserve it. Make that over due hair appointment or massage you have been dying to make because you just didn't have the time. Get caught up on medical and dental appointments while the kids are away.

  5. It’s okay to feel sad about them leaving, let yourself grieve. I understand this, you are not alone. It may take some time to find your new purpose but it's okay if it takes a week or a few months. It took me 3 years and moving to a new state to get my act together.

Being a mom comes with so many emotions and different stages. I am here to tell you that you are not alone. I was only 30 by the time all my kids were school aged. I was NOT ready for an empty house. I do look forward to every school break they have and we make the most of our time together. It makes you appreciate their company and the time you do have together.

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