Do Moms Ever Retire? A Mother’s Day Exclusive

An Excerpt from an article on

With Mother’s Day upon us, I began wondering what mom’s think about retirement. Do they ever really retire and if so, what does it look and feel like? After numerous responses, I whittled them down to some of my favorite thoughts, ideas, and stories from moms just like you. On your special day, I hope they provide a good laugh, smile or warm thought.

Susie Miller, author of Listen, Learn, Love: How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationship in 30 Days or Less, tells it like it is, “Pull my hair out now! Stretch marks and motherhood are an undeniable presence that impacts you even when you want to pretend differently…Try on a pair of non-mom jeans and check the stretch marks peeking out. Moms don’t retire. We reallocate our time, restructure our involvement, and resist the urge to tell them what to do! Sure, there are drastic changes in the job description as the day in, day out workload changes- sleepless nights with infants shifts into wiping noses, tying shoes, packing lunches, teenage dramas, more sleepless nights waiting up for your young driver to return safely, scanning social media for slips and stalkers, decorating dorm rooms, gently holding broken hearts, and struggling to find ways to ask questions without being invasive now that he or she is all grown up!”

Natalie Mark of Oak Media eludes to the challenges mom’s face with an empty nest as part of their retirement. “No one really prepares you for that stage of life. Suddenly, you are a person without a cause. The house is SOOOO quiet. Motherhood defined me. I am still sad when they leave because you never really get used to the fact that motherhood as you know it changes and you take a backseat to their life… I still look at old photos and cry because I just don’t know where the time went.”

Denise Martin, suggests, “Mom is a description of a relationship – not a career choice. So technically, once you give birth you are a mom until the day you die, no matter what path that child’s life takes. I will always be Mom to my son but I will stop mommying him when he is ready to take over his own care and/or finds a wife willing to mommy him. Then I will retire and start training for my new description – grandma!”

Patty McDonough Kennedy writes about her mom, Maggie McDonough’s retirement philosophy which I’m sure many people can agree with, “I raised six kids, held several jobs and put up with one husband. Now I have nine grandchildren — whom I adore. But that’s a lot. I’m not re-tired. I’m just tired. Anyway, there’s no such thing as a retired mom. It’s an oxymoron. Whether your kids are two or 42, they’ll find you when they need you. Then you die. And they still keep talking to you!”

Cynthia Bowman offers an entrepreneur perspective: “After years of being an entrepreneur and working 7 days a week, I promised my daughters that I would stop and be a full time mom for them. It’s been a great experience so far, although I need to have a glass of wine at 2:30 now, before the kids get home, so I can be ready for the hurricane that walks through the door. I’ve also recently discovered that as much as I love being a full time mom, in the tradition of my mom and her mother, I missed work. When I found myself ironing the sheets and my 8-year-old’s stuffed animals one afternoon, I decided I better get working, even if just part-time, before I lose my mind and become a pajama-clad Stepford housewife. I now write freelance, keep a blog about our family’s life and travels and still have time to iron a stuffed animal should the craving arise, all while having food ready on the table. I feel balanced as a mother and as myself: a woman with an identity beyond my relationship to my kids.”

Janet Lehman of Empowring Parents highlights the caregiver role that mom’s play, “Being a Mother is the toughest job any of us Moms ever had and the most rewarding; it is all about taking care of somebody and learning to let them grow and let go. By this definition, “Moms” should be retired when their offspring hit adult milestones but in reality much of parenthood is about leaving a legacy of sharing and caring to your children and if you are lucky, grandchildren.

Retirement and life can come with many seasons and as Carla McClure, Director of The Dapper Dan Society points out, being a mom can have its ups and downs depending on the age and stages of kids, “I’m a mom of 3 grown children and to me, I should be retired. When the kids were little I spent time refereeing verbal squabbles between the kids, now you’re the one they ask to cosign an event or a car. All three of my children are in their 20’s so they’re at that twenty-something I know I know everything stage and it drives me nuts. I keep telling myself that I was not this stupid at this age and just shake my head. Sometimes it’s frustrating. They don’t realize that we realize, we’re not needed in the same way, however our advice is still valuable. I think most of us dreamy retirees realize that we don’t ever fully retire from mothering, but as our children progress into adulthood we do have to gain a thicker skin because those that used to adore us and hang on our every piece of advice, now act as though we have zero intelligence.”

Thankfully some moms never retire, as Tracie Hovey president of shares, “Retirement for my mom looks like traveling across the country to cook for your 40 year old daughter and her three nearly grown kids and husband. She didn’t pass down her Martha Stewart homemaking/cooking to me so I look forward to eating something other than the same three meals I have cooked week after week for my kids for the past 15 years.”

I hope you enjoyed this Motherly perspective on retirement and that you enjoy your special day. Life, let alone retirement, would be possible without all of you. Thank you for all you have done (especially all the special moms in my own life)… and will continue to do retired or not. Happy Mother’s Day!

Please don’t let the conversation stop here. Use the comments section below to add your thoughts and share it on social media with your own sentiments.

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