Finding yourself after the kids have started school

In life there are certain times when you can feel lost, an event or changes in circumstances make you question yourself and you begin to wonder where the "real" you disappeared to. It could be that the "real" you never disappeared, just changed, or it could be that you need to rediscover who YOU are. 

Kids starting school

For mums this is a prime time to want to "find yourself" again. You're suddenly given a few hours every week day with no kids and that can be quite a daunting prospect. If you like cleaning (are you an alien?!) then you can fill your days with cleaning and the house will look amazing, but if you don't like cleaning (like me!) then you'll need something to fill those hours (not daytime TV) or you'll get bored.

Just before LP started school I was panicking, I had no idea what I would do with all that time. I hated watching daytime TV and didn't want to become the stereotypical stay-at-home mum who sits on her bottom all day drinking tea and watching the TV. I have always been ambitious but when I had the boys I put that aside and didn't really come back to it. It wasn't until I read a blog, written by author Helen Killough-Walden, that I thought about what I could do with that time. 

If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of. 

Bruce Lee

I turned to writing when LP went to school, I drafted a novel and started this blog. That was nearly 6 years ago now and I'm so glad I came to that decision because it has changed me. Writing every day is something I was meant to do and I love it. I feel fulfilled when I get to write - even if it sounds like a diary entry. 

Despite putting the novel away a while ago I am now looking at it again - it seems my head won't let me quit on that one. 

Okay so I'm practised at this now, I've been doing it for 6 years, but if you're just starting out and have no idea what to do with this time then why not explore? Do different things every day until you find the thing you want to do more than once?


Some women turn to their hobbies at this time, they spend all the hours doing crochet or cross-stitch and relax. Some women write, some do crafts. Do you have a hobby?

If you're stuck for ideas here are a few to get you started:

  • Writing - do you have an idea for a short story or a book? Could you start a blog?
  • Sketching - I admire anyone who has artistic talent and can sketch beautiful landscapes.
  • Reading - Get lost in a good book - who doesn't love that?
  • Photography - you have lots of time to wander around your local area - are there places you could take some lovely photos?
  • Exercise - okay so this isn't really a hobby but maybe you could think about it?

You can find a huge list of hobbies over on Wikipedia.

Quiet time

My biggest piece of advice is to take advantage of the quiet time. When you get back home after the school run make yourself a hot coffee (or tea if you prefer), sit for five minutes and enjoy the quiet of the house. Take those five minutes for YOU.

woman sits with legs up on sofa holding a red cup of coffee and reading a kindle.

Think about what would make you happy. How would you like to spend the day? 

With the kids at school you have the time to work out what YOU enjoy. This time is about YOU and it is your chance to learn. 

Bumps in the road

There are always going to be times when you can't, for whatever reason, take time out for yourself. Your child could be ill and off school, you may have obligations, but know that that's life. These things are thrown at us to test us.

There's always going to be bumps in the road. There's always going to be this and that, adversity. You just overcome it...

Odell Beckham, Jr.

Even now, after 6 years and thinking I've got this thing down, I am constantly being thrown new challenges. This year I was diagnosed with cervical cancer - it was a tough few months and everything was in limbo for a while. But now that that is over I am able to focus again and actually that time has helped me focus on my targets. 

Don't force it

Some women have this time to themselves and discover their passion, they turn their passion into a business and you see them do well. They are able to work at something they love while still taking care of their children. Amazing. 

Some women struggle. It's difficult to watch your children grow up and not need you as much anymore. It's difficult to try to learn things about yourself, to find new hobbies or try out new things when all you've done for the last few years is be a mum. 

My advice is to take it easy. Don't force decisions, don't try to hurry. If you need more time to drink more coffee - go for it. Enjoy the peace and quiet, put the TV on if you like. Give yourself time to adjust to the kids being at school but keep in mind that you'll want something to do eventually. You can think about it without having to do anything. 

You can be happy where you are

If you discover you're happy as you are that's fine too. Right now the world seems to focus on women getting away from the "being a mum" stuff and doing something for themselves and becoming "mumpreneurs" - a word I hate by the way. As far as I'm concerned you're either an entrepreneur or you're not, but anyway I digress. 

Enjoying being mum, taking care of your family and cleaning the house is a wonderful thing to do. If that makes you happy there's no need to find yourself because you already did! 

woman reaching her arms up into the air. She is smiling, wearing sunglasses. She stands on rocks by the ocean.

woman raises her arms into the air and cheers.

How do you spend your time while the kids are at school?