Quarter-life crisis is a real phenomenon among millennial mothers these days. According to psychologist Dr. Nathan Gehlert, “quarter-life crisis is a period of intense soul searching and stress occurring in your mid 20s to early 30s. The typical sufferer is highly driven and smart, but struggling because they feel they’re not achieving their potential or feeling they’re falling behind.”
Simply put, for us Filipino moms, this translate to statements like:
“When will I feel like my old self again?”
“Is there more to life than just diapers and milk?”
“How long do I have to put my career on hold?”
“Why can’t I be successful like her?”
“I don’t know what to do with my life.”
…and so on.
As a career and life coach, around 80-90% of moms I have coached struggle with the feeling of being stuck, lonely, or lost. This is very common especially for moms who have just transitioned into motherhood, for those who have by choice or by chance left their career for their family, or who feel like they have some unfinished business or unrealized personal goals. The accessibility of social media and technology has even amplified these feelings because it is so easy to compare ourselves or our lives with other people’s seemingly-perfect lives. It has also become a common meme or joke (but with deeply-rooted hurt) about well-meaning titas during family reunions who ask us about our plans of having kids (or more kids), our job level at work, and so on.
So what can we do then to handle these feelings of anxiety or frustration about our state of life? Here are some simple tips you can try.
Reconnect with good old friends.
It’s always refreshing to meet up with your friends from high school or even your childhood neighbor. Spend time openly sharing your stories without fear of judgment or comparison. It helps to know and feel that you are not alone.
Make a good stuff inventory.
Make a list of all the good stuff that happened to you through the years. Then make another list of your dreams for yourself. Savor the moment and play it over and over in your head until it becomes vivid and real.
Do a social media detox.
Social media, though entertaining can also be toxic. If you find yourself getting more stressed by reading through it, or spending more time stalking that girl you’re jealous of, then it’s a clear sign that you should stop or take a break. It’s hard to break a habit you’ve been doing for years, so put your phone physically away from you or even temporarily delete your access to these applications.
Start a journal.
Get a journal that looks pretty so you’ll feel inspired writing on it. Write your thoughts there, and even try to ask yourself some tough questions that probably never crossed your mind. What is your ultimate dream? What would you do if money or time is not a concern? What are your constraints? What are you willing to give up to make it happen? What will truly make you happy?
Partner with a coach.
No, not a therapist or a counselor. Unlike therapy or counseling, the goal of coaching is not about digging deeper on problems of the past. Coaching is about moving forward. If there’s anything that’s keeping you stuck or slowing you down, your coach can help you figure that out and help you feel empowered so you can make your way out of the rut.
Whatever it is that you choose to do, just remember that you are not alone in this. No matter how ugly or seemingly selfish or vain you might think it is, get your partner or your BFF onboard. Remember that a problem shared is a problem halved. We can do this, moms!