Essays, Happiness, Lifestyle Design, Personal Development, Spirituality, Working Mom

Struggling with Finding Your Purpose outside of Parenthood? Read this.

Early motherhood is busy.  There is a hell of a lot of stuff to do on the surface, and in the day-to-day. I said to my husband the other day that just managing the clothing (washing, putting away, picking up) of two toddlers and a baby is fully a part-time job that takes up at least half a day out of each week!

One thing that has been bugging me lately though, and if I’m being honest, giving me a bit of anxiety, is feeling like I haven’t hit my potential in life yet, that I haven’t found a passion, a calling, a purpose.  Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is amazing and raising the next generation is the most sacred, purposeful thing one can do – but as you know, my blog focuses on our lives, our questions outside of motherhood, because as much as we are “mom” we are still US.  I am still Carina, and Carina has her own interests, hopes and dreams that she tries to keep alive in the snatches of time that she has. I think it is so important to continue to do this and not get lost in motherhood.  I see this happen to way too many women, and they emerge but only a shell of themselves in their 50s, when their children leave home.

I absolutely LOVE my career at the University, but outside of work, and motherhood, I still feel like I’m not serving people in the way I can.  Does this make sense?  Do you ever feel like this as well? I’m hoping I am not the only one, the whole point of writing is to feel less alone and connect with others feeling the same way!

My actual full time job is coaching university students in this topic every day.

Most of my work focuses on the early stages of this proccess, because you truly need to be an expert in yourself and to know (and accept) some of your strengths and talents, before you embark on the purposeful life.  The 20s are exciting because you are just embarking on designing your own individual identity.  In your 20s, you are being exposed to new ideas, identities.  You are choosing to reject or accept things you held as truth growing up.  You are crafting your life.

I often use psychometric instruments like Strengths Finder, the MBTI or the Strong Interest Inventory as a ‘base’ from which we can pursue the goal of “know thyself.”  I work with students to shift their language and self-perception, to that of strengths and talents.  I want them to graduate with a minor in strengths & talents.  I love doing this.

Had I had this in University, I would have embraced my multi-passionate, inquiring nature and it would have saved me so much angst, as I blindly changed majors constantly and worried about picking a degree that would be looked upon well by the outside world.

But once you get to motherhood and your late 20s / early 30s, and you experience the profundity of carrying and birthing a child, mortality, etc. your inner landscape shifts a bit.  Whether you like it or not, you do become deeper, more spiritual, introspective and realize there is more out there to a meaningful life than going through the motions of parenthood, workerhood, domestichood, partnerhood, family hood.  Right?  You look up and think “there’s something else I’m supposed to do.”  This is documented in psychology and sociology textbooks.  It’s not just me talking, this is research talking.

I have been researching, studying and experimenting with this path to feeling fulfilled and like I am on track to my right purpose here in this lifetime.  My main goal on this third maternity leave is to heal my body and regain vitality, but I feel the urgency increasing too.  What can I do to serve others in the way I can?  I’ve looked up and asked “help me figure it out!”  In fact, at the full day meditation workshop I attended last week, I put it out there as my intention going forward as well.


I am slowly coming to realize that to figure out your purpose in life is to live your life, and you only really understand your purpose in hindsight, when it has come to fruition, and you can then craft a description around it. In living our best daily lives, and using our talents, we are actually slowly bringing about our purpose.

This is the most unsatisfying answer in the world, because it doesn’t align with our human needs to have answers, schedules, and be in control (the ego wants this.) This is why I (and probably) always feel so annoyed when you read an article and then feel like your question wasn’t answered.  It’s why my students have to keep coming back in for appointments because it is a process.

This approach to figuring out our purpose has no immediate answers,

only in hindsight do the dots connect, to illuminate your larger process.  It’s like looking at individual stars in the sky, but then connecting them all to see that there is a constellation there. 

The key here is that we have to focus on creating some dots (or stars in the sky) that eventually we can look up at, and realize that they all connect into a unique constellation. 

The dots that we focus on creating, can only come about by living according to some very important rules.  I’ve spent about a week crafting these rules based on deep research and hundreds of books as well as meditations, so I’m pretty excited to reveal them!

There is no schedule because things come about on their own schedule (the people, places, things you are meant to experience and learn that all connect to this mystical purpose you have here) and they sure as hell are not in your control.  99.9% of the major events that will set you on the path to your purpose are chance happenings or coincidences.   Things like this:

You meet someone randomly, in a coffee shop, and strike up a conversation.  That launches you down the path to a new career which happens to be your true calling.

You do some googling and by chance click on a link to a website which happens to connect with you on a deep level, you wind up taking an online course that takes you down a path of growth and deepening of your sense of who you are.

You simply embrace motherhood, stop the anxious “what is the meaning here” chatter, and are taken aback when your realize that all of the hobbies you have with your children, all of the things you add to pinterest, tie to your most important values which have a common theme.

You simply cannot predict these things.   But what you can do, is increase the probability and you can shift up the  time line a bit of figuring your shit out, so to speak.

If you start living your life right now, more closely aligned with the right forces, you will be on a faster track to figuring out the meaning of your life and the unique way you are meant to serve others (outside of partner and children of course lol.)

If you are uncomfortable with things just unfolding and are struggling to enjoy what life presents you, feel irritated reading this article, and admit that you find yourself wanting to be in control of what comes down the pipeline, there is another force at play.  That is the ego, which likes to be large and in charge and cares what other people thing.  It’s why we get so attached to particular benchmarks.  It’s why choosing a major is such a big deal for my students, because it is a way to show the outside world what your worth is (when really it isn’t the whole story.) . Ask yourself, why do I think I can control everything on a schedule?  Has my life been like that? Do I actually have proof of that or is it a need my ego has and keeps pushing for?  It’s an interesting exercise to do.

So now that I’ve got your mind ticking, I’ll keep you in suspense!  (Also, I really need to drink some coffee and get out of my house coat.)

This weekend I’ll reveal the rules that will help you fast-track to your purpose and feeling fulfilled.  Remember, these are dots, or stars in the sky to create, and the more you have, the more the constellation will start to form.


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