Mid-Career Creation: What are you doing for you?

“I spend my days chugging along at work.  It is not awful.  But it is not good. I come home and take care of my children and then make sure that my parents are doing ok. On the weekends, I run around to my kids’ activities, visit my parents, and try to spend a some time with my husband.” Natalie told me her tale and then added: “I do nothing for myself.” Natalie is in her early 40s. Her children are 12 and 8 years old.  Her parents are in their early 70s, in poor health but nothing terminal. 
Natalie works for a small business in Woodbridge, Connecticut. She had moved from a larger company in Fairfield about five years ago. Same type of job but she thought the smaller company would provide greater happiness. Her commute from Milford was better but the contours of her job still didn’t fit her.
Natalie was getting anxious and depressed and felt like she was not as good of a mother, wife or daughter consequently.  She was right. When we are not happy, we are not as giving. Her kids were noticing that she was “grumpier”.  Her parents commented that she shouldn’t come over if she viewed visiting as another chore and her husband said that going on walks with her was not fun because all she did was complain.
We started working together to craft her career plan.  Her energy shifted.  Natalie said she was excited for the first time she could remember. She was finally doing something for herself.