§ We came to this world to LIVE OUT LOUD!
As the Kids Grow Up
This summer of family travel has been really different.
My 17-year old has been coming and going as she pursues her own interests while joining in on some of the family fun. My nearly 14-year old is in full-on young teen mode as she manages to complain about just about everything and at 9, my youngest is already showing signs of leaving childhood behind.
I am more and more painfully aware of the fleeting nature of motherhood, at least of that hands-on motherhood that has been a huge part of my life for the past 17 years. It hurts to think that they no longer need me as they once did and that they will need me less and less.
But if I’m honest, I will also admit that I’m kind of excited.
Excited for the next chapter as a mother of older, more independent kids. With more freedom to sleep in, pursue my own interests and devote my energy to growing my romance with my husband once again. To feel the satisfaction of a job well done as I watch my girls transition, one by one, into independent, responsible and caring citizens of the world.
It makes me think that if I could speak to the younger me, the one in her 30’s who was so in love with her babies yet stretched to the limit by the kids’ demands and the lack of energy, time and sleep, I would tell her:
1. Just relax, it’s all going to be fine.
2. Set boundaries. It’s ok to take some time for yourself and not feel guilty about it.
3. Don’t do for your kids what they can do for themselves. This will not only teach them to be independent but will give them a strong sense of self and confidence.
4. Make time for your own interests, be it painting, rock climbing or reading a good novel. You are not just a mom. You are your own person.
5. Make time for your partner or for finding a partner, if you want one. The kids really will grow up and leave sooner than you think. Make sure you still like your partner (and have one if you want one) when that happens.
6. Parenting is often about letting go. Be there to support them and cheer them on but remember to let go as they take their first steps, go off to school for the first time, go to sleep-away camp, take the car for the first time and drive with their friends, head off to college. This will be much easier if you do the first five steps.
So, what about you? What are you mourning as your kids grow up and leave the nest? And what are you excited about?
As always, I love hearing from you so feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.