'I feel amazing and the best ever. I didn't even realize how anxious I had been until I stopped working,' said Wootton.
Moms rarely get to take a break once they have kids. They are constantly busy taking care of their children and doing household chores all the while managing their careers. Realizing this, mother-of-two Kym Wootton, who goes by @kymmersfullofsunshine on TikTok, decided to take a year break—or as she calls it, "midlife gap year"—to take rest, spend some time with her family and do the things she loves or never got the time to do before.
In a TikTok video, she says, "Today is the first day of my midlife gap year." Wootton then explains what she means by a gap year. "You know when kids are done with high school and they're not yet ready to go to college and they take that gap year? Just a year to work or travel or have fun or rest or relax or whatever before they get into their college years," she states in the clip.
Talking about her career, Wootton says, "It's crazy to me that once we start working we start our careers that's it we just work, we grind until we are in our late 60s and we can retire hopefully."
"And I found myself at a job that I was increasingly feeling like wasn't a good fit and I quit," adds Wootton. So instead of finding another job, she has planned to take a break for maybe a year.
Wootton also acknowledged how fortunate she is that she could even consider this option. "It's really special and I don't want to squander it and so I'm gonna use this year to first slow down take some of the rush out of my life and allow ambiguity in my life which is very tough for me. Try to do a mix of things every day where I rest and I do some exercise and I write which I love to do and I never ever take time and spend time with my husband and my kiddos," she says in the video.
The video captioned, "Day 1 of my #midlifegapyear," struck a chord with many women on social media who supported Woottoon in her decision. @susanboltansimons commented, "THIS ME! I just quit my job last month. I'm 'rewiring' not 'retiring'!" @snowsqualls_and_sunshine expressed, "I’m so happy for you! Can't wait to see where this journey takes you." @judirockhill wrote, "Brilliant. I have always wanted to do that." @cupof_jo wrote, "Ooooh! This is fantastic." @hol6614 said, "Yes to a slow life! I am so excited for you!"
Wooten told Tyla that since handing in her notice for her job as a chief administrative officer in January 2023, she has already gotten around to traveling with her girlfriends and leaving her husband and two sons—Finn and Will, who are 16 and 13 years old—at home guiltfree.
"I feel amazing and the best ever. I didn't even realize how anxious I had been until I stopped working. I have this incredible lightness," she said.
"I would have felt selfish before being away from my family. Now I can spend time reading, being lazy and restful. I'm much more able to roll with the stresses of everyday life," said Wootton.
She also said that her "Sunday Scaries" have officially disappeared. "I used to think on a Sunday—'I didn't do everything I wanted.' Instead, now I get to be in the moment with my husband and kids. I don't want this to just be a pause and then just go back. I want to find out exactly what I want to be and do." She and her husband had saved and budgeted for seven months before she quit her job.
She knows that a year is not something every parent can afford, but she recommends that all moms take a month off. "A traditional gap year after school helps you find out what you want to do—adults should be able to do the same. Even if you can have a gap month it will give you some perspective you didn't even realize," she said.