I am a flex mom. I had a career prior to having kids, but when my first was young, I decided to stay at home to raise them. I expected some exhaustion, but I definitely didn’t expect to feel so lonely and lost.
Unlike effortless stay-at-home parents who always seemed happy and fulfilled, I struggled. I needed something more, but the only option seemed to be going back to work, and that wasn’t really a viable option for us.
Enter the middle ground.
Some women were still doing very much the same things I was – cooking, cleaning, picking the kids up from school – but seemed happier.
It became clear they had stepped out of the stay-at-home vs. working mom debate, and were blazing a new path somewhere between those two zones. One mom conducted research studies on public high schools while shuttling her kids to sports practice; another mom opened an Etsy shop while playing with her toddler.
That’s where the term “flex mom” came in. It’s a name for this third model of motherhood, and helps moms create space in their lives to raise their kids while still pursuing their own passions.
The biggest question flex moms need to answer is: What is your passion? What can you spend hours doing without realizing hours have passed? What makes you feel jazzed once you do it?
The next question is: How can you incorporate that passion into your real life while still raising your kids?I knew I had arrived as a flex mom when my daughter sassed me so well my jaw dropped.
It was about a week into winter break from school, the kids had been home and sick, and we’d been laying low. Suddenly, the emails from my publisher started coming fast and furious: I had to decide on a cover, the deadline was looming. By conscious design, it was the only time over winter break that I had to do any work for my book.
My husband was cooking a delicious dinner, giving me space to take care of business, and I retreated to my office with relief. But then, my seven-year old daughter had the audacity to walk in with her shoulders squared and say, with flair: “Really, mom, do you think YOU should be the one writing this book on flex moms? Isn’t it all about prioritizing your kids, even while you do your own thing – and here you are, almost not sitting down to dinner with us?”
Nevermind that I had done not one ounce of work during the preceding seven days…
Yes, I gave my girl a dirty look after that, but I was proud of her too. She will grow up knowing that there’s another option to motherhood — a third model somewhere between working mom and stay-at-home mom. A flex mom has the skills and structures in place to clear enough space in her life to pursue her passions, even while prioritizing her children.Flex Mom will be available for purchase on February 9, 2017. To learn more and to be notified of the launch, check out www.flexmombook.com.