Mid-Life Transitions for Today's Woman

by Debbie Hutchinson, Psy.D.

Women of the 21st Century often discover that what seemed to be natural or right for their mothers does not fit with today's society. Many of the values are different and the roles for women have certainly evolved into a newly defined creation. The U.S. Department of Labor (Feb. 2004) cites that since 1975, the labor force participation rate of mothers with children under the age of 18 has increased from 47 to 72 percent.  Many will agree that being part of the workforce brings many benefits and can be a great source of pride and high self-esteem. However, the challenges that women of today encounter are multi-faceted. Some of the many challenges include:

  • Balancing career with having a family
  • Being the head of household and parenting children
  • Dating during this stage of life
  • Empty nest syndrome or preparation for it
  • Changes in the marital relationship
  • Stock market losses negatively impacting retirement income
  • Financial pressures
  • Limited personal time

Because these common challenges may leave women feeling stretched in too many different directions, the result can often be feelings of depression, feeling stressed, or having feelings of emptiness such as not being fulfilled in life. The good news is that several strengths have been developed as a consequence of the changes that have occurred:

  • Greater independence, such as a "take charge attitude" vs. passivity
  • Greater personal and professional confidence (e.g., the "I can do" attitude)
  • Enhanced creativity to manage and solve problems
  • Better understanding of economics
  • More effective relational skills from attending all the meetings at work and from being an attentive mom

We use our strengths to conquer our weaknesses. We are all human beings who need to make sure that we take care of ourselves so that life can be fulfilling and exciting. If a fulfilling and exciting life is your goal, the initial action is to develop the mindset to make it happen. In other words, maintain your focus. After the mindset and focus are established, implementation of specific steps may be helpful in turning your life around to make it more satisfying.

Click here for tips on how to make your life more satisfying