How Do You Deal With Your Children Growing Up?
“Being a mother is learning about the strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you never knew existed.” – Sherene Simon
It was June 15, 1992 and we were in bed watching the Atlanta Braves beat the LA Dodgers 2-0 after eating my favorite pregnancy food ~cheese steak sandwiches, chicken wings and hand-cut fries.
I was 36 weeks pregnant with our first child and was instructed to stay in bed. Within a few hours of going to sleep, my water broke. If you were pregnant during that time, you probably read the same book I did – “What to Expect When You’re Expecting." It is a step by step account of the stages of pregnancy. I have to say nothing can really prepare you for a breach baby, full dilation, epidural and a c-section. Within a few hours, our beautiful son was born. It was June 16th ~ one day before our 2nd Anniversary.
From that day forward, our lives were changed forever. We had two more children – both girls in 1994 and 2001. I used to joke that children don't come with instruction manuals. Recently, a friend said “Yes they do ~ Just Listen." Well isn’t that the truth! Our children are our greatest joy.
Fast forward, the children you once rocked to sleep, held when they were sick, dropped at kindergarten that first day are now graduating, signing leases, working, and sometimes coming home for the holidays.
How Do We Deal?
In my opinion, we don’t talk enough about how we deal with our own internal feelings as our children grow up. Although we have time to grow and change with our children, I find that it's no quite that easy. Maybe because of our natural protective nature, but I'm not sure.
How do you feel when they pack their bags for college, come home for just a few days or move to another city to be with a partner? Personally, these transitions are never easy. I send with them a little taste of home ~food, pictures or another token. If they are coming home, again I like to make their favorite foods, ensure their rooms are all set-up and try to make the time at home special. We also talk to them about our family plans so they know when to schedule time with friends. The bigger picture is how do we change and adapt to their needs as young adults given we have spent most of our time caring for them as children.
I Asked 60 People...
Last month, I took an on-line business course. The first assignment was to conduct a survey. I choose to ask 9 questions to Empty Nest Parents. In my research, I discovered that there is actually an Empty Nest Syndrome (ENS). According to Psychology Today,"empty nest syndrome refers to feelings of depression, sadness, and, or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood homes. This may occur when children go to college or get married. Women are more likely than men to be affected. Often, when children leave the home, mothers are going through other significant life events as well, such as menopause or caring for elderly parents. Men can also experience similar feelings of loss regarding the departure of their children."
Most of the respondents to my survey were women, ages 54-65, married, with 2 or more children. Some had careers both inside and outside the home if they weren’t volunteering or caring for aging parents. When asked how they felt about being an empty nest, they were split between mixed feelings and happy. I get it! We are happy they are on their way, but mixed because we miss the day, we were all together.
When tossing around the idea for this blog with my husband, I said what advice would you give someone in our situation? Truthfully, I asked him because he has the keen ability to relate to each of our children in a unique way. He is well read, enjoys a lot of the same activities and makes them feel special. He said, “a true connection comes from finding a common interest you both enjoy as they grow.” Mic Drop!
Love your feedback and ideas on how you deal with your children growing up. Would you join a Facebook group for support and information? Drop me an email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.