For many, reinventing themselves after years spent caring for children can be daunting. How Meagan Francis embraced the change.
Meagan Francis, a self-dubbed "mother of reinvention," helps moms think outside the juice box, and reimagine the possibilities to reclaim their lives.
Francis cites herself as an example. The 40-year-old mother of five long ago decided to give her happiness equal measure, starting a blog on navigating the ups and downs of motherhood in 2009, when her then youngest was 2 months old. That blog turned into a book, The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets to Enjoying Motherhood.
In the spirit of reinvention, Francis, who lives in St. Joseph, Michigan, now co-hosts a weekday morning radio show on 98.3 The Coast in Benton Harbor, Michigan. In 2015, Francis became founder and CEO of the Life, Listened podcast network, which includes the The Mom Hour, which Francis co-hosts.
What does "loving midlife" mean to you?
To me, loving midlife means letting go of doubts and insecurities, and embracing myself exactly as I am. And yes, that means physical changes, too. I may not be able to effortlessly maintain the same size I was in my 20s and early 30s. I'm now much more an early bird than a night owl, and I've got some lines and wobbly parts I didn't used to. But I've also gained a lot more confidence, and the longer I'm alive, the less I care what other people think.
How do you juggle kids and a career?
It's purely instinctive. My schedule might look insane to someone else, but as long as I feel good and everyone is happy, I'm OK with it. When work is crazy, I take every opportunity I can to squeeze in more time with the kids. When work calms down, I invest more time at home. If things start running off the rails, whether at home or at work, it's time to make an adjustment. Over the long run, it seems to balance out.
What's the best advice you ever received?
A wise person once told me that nothing needs be permanent, that no matter what path you start down, you can always choose another path later. This has definitely made me less fearful about taking risks.
What's your advice for someone who wants to reinvent herself at midlife?
Just do it, there's no better time! After spending many of my young adult years in the trenches parenting babies and little kids, midlife feels like both a reprieve and an opportunity. I love that I have more time — and, frankly, more money — than I used to, and have the freedom to do things just for myself, like acting in local theater productions and giving my career a major overhaul. At midlife we still have plenty of energy, and for most of us there is plenty of time left. It helps me to look at it this way: The more I reinvent myself, the more lives I'll have had a chance to live when I die.
Reinventing yourself is like flexing a muscle. The more comfortable you get with change, the easier it gets to do it again and again.
Do you have a favorite bedtime ritual or something you do to unwind?
Sleep is really important to me, so I protect it as best I can. I love super-soft bed linens, and I always have a bunch of pillows on hand so I can get comfortable in various positions. When I feel like turning the pampering up a notch, I use a lavender-scented linen spray on my sheets, slather my feet with thick cream, put on fuzzy socks, and crawl into bed early with a cup of tea and a journal.
Learn how to get better sleep through lavender and other essential oils.
For more stories like this, read how Monica Bhide changed her career to pursue a passion for food.
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Photo by Jonathan Velasquez