This is a question that I asked myself and a question that I’ve heard other women ask too. When you are a full time mom (kids living in your home) you feel soooooo busy! There’s always someone that needs you, a chore to be done or an event to attend. When the youngest (that lived with us) moved out, I felt at a loss. I remember crying on the phone to my best friend (who is in the thick of full time mommyhood so probably wasn’t super sympathetic LOL). I asked who I was if I wasn’t a MOM. I get it you are always a mom but I missed the day to day nurturing that comes with having children in your home. Even busy teenagers give you a few minutes of their time and need you just a little bit.
I can’t really remember a time in my life that I felt so lost. I really searched for a purpose. What was my passion? I love my family, travel, animals and helping people. I’d always thought I would be a foster parent at some point in my life but my husband didn’t feel that pull. I contemplated going back to school to become a veterinarian but I realized that I didn’t want to be someone who profited from that. I wanted to help rescue groups. So I really couldn’t justify asking my husband to make a ten year sacrifice and spend close to 200k to make that happen. Especially, since it wasn’t in my heart. I love to travel but there’s things like jobs and budgets that held me back.
Everything changed when one Christmas I became a dog foster sitter. I had signed up to become a dog foster with Austin Pets Alive. They are a non profit animal rescue group in Austin, TX. That Christmas I fostered an adorable blue pit bull named Moby while his foster mom was out of town. He fit right in with our pups and enjoyed Christmas with us. He was adopted by his foster mom and is living the life as a spoiled pup. The day he left I accepted two bottle baby puppies. They were a week old and had been found without a mom. I found my niche. This Christmas is my two year mark of fostering and I currently have foster number 17 and 18. Phoebe and Penny. Phoebe has really struggled and there were some sleepless nights when I thought I might lose her. She’s the tiny brown puppy. Penny is the adorably chunky white puppy and is pretty easy and very fun. I have learned to tube feed and give injections. I have been pooped on, peed on and thrown up on more times than I can count. It makes me happy! LOL. I have found that nurturing these animals fills a void inside me and makes me feel useful. I keep them until they are adopted I get to meet their families and give approval. Through the beauty of social media I can watch them grown up.
I’m not sure if this would work for everyone but I have found for me that making a difference in the world (no matter how small) gives me the fulfillment that my empty nest heart was missing. I would love to hear how other mamas that have made this transition feel and what you did to get through that tough time.