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Relief that family is getting smaller... tell me I'm not a bad mom!


Janie Grace
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I've been grieving the departure of our oldest child for months (going to college this fall). But suddenly this afternoon, it hit me... life will be SIMPLER with "only" four birds in my nest. A tiny bit of relief descended on me when I realized that this heart-wrenching sadness is also accompanied by a wee bit quieter, simpler life. Most people wouldn't look at life with four (or three or two) kids as quiet/simple, but by comparison, it seems like we are moving in that direction, in terms of the day-to-day coordination of family life. 

 

Has anyone else felt this way? A little bit "phew" as you realize that over the next few years, your world will settle down a bit?

 

Don't get me wrong. I am going to miss this kid terribly. Usually I can barely breathe when I think of saying goodbye. But also, now... this little silver lining.

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Yes, yes, and yes. Life got so much quieter when my twins went off to college and I went from 6 to 4. Then two years later another went to college, and I went from 4 to 3. Next year my next child goes off to college, and I will be down to 2. Life is quiter, simpler, and less hectic --- which is good because I'm getting older and slowing down naturally. I love these kids to death, but I'm not terribly crushed as they move onto their next phase of life, because I'm moving onto my next phase of life too.

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I have only one left; he will be a senior in the fall and will go to college in autumn 2018. I am going to miss him. But on the other hand, I am also looking forward to that stage. When the boys are not home on college breaks, the cooking, shopping, laundry situation will be so simple to handle, and will going back to work which makes me feel a lot better since I will be earning college money and beefing up our retirement savings. That part is very exciting to me. I have a friend with two left at home, and her mom took over homeschooling 2.5 days per week so she could go back to work 2.5 days. It is such a help with their other kids' college expensee, she has employer contribution 401K as a perk for taking a flexible schedule, and the intellectual stimulation of being with other grown ups a lot more has really perked her up. She was in a bit of a worn out spot. Knowing this hasite been very successful for her, makes me look forward to it moree.

 

But ds and I are close and enjoy each other's company so there will be some grief along with the positive changes.

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But I want to add... I love it when they're all home for a few weeks at a time, too! It feels like slipping on an old, comfortable sneaker when they are all home again.

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It feels like slipping on an old, comfortable sneaker when they are all home again.

I had to read that twice, because in my house (with younger kids) it is not uncommon to SLIP on a comfortable old sneaker by the shoe bench. But I know you actually mean slip ON a comfortable old sneaker, and that does sound nice.

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Pretty much what Kinsa said -- I was sad to have a chapter in our lives ending when DS21 went off to college, but there definitely were perks. Our life did indeed become quieter, simpler and less hectic. And I was SO ready for that! DS18 is by nature quieter and calmer than his older brother and so very easy to live with. Even though our nest will be empty in August when he heads off to college the change probably won't be quite so marked as it would be if he'd been our exuberant, outgoing kid. I'm sure adjusting to a completely empty nest will have its challenges. But DH and I are looking forward to it. We've already got two trips planned, which will be our first vacations alone since DS21 was born. So we're sad at one chapter of our lives ending, but at the same time are looking forward to the remaining chapters. :)

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I understand. It is easier for one of my children not to be here--easier for all of us. I remember how many tears I cried over his leaving. 

One is home again, after being gone, but getting ready to truly leave this August and he will never be back. That is weird.

 

But the last one--the last one is going to be the gut-wrencher, and as I see it now, no amount of privacy with hubby, time free from running her around, or the absence of any other current inconvenience is going to put a dam in the tears I'm going to cry. 

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I have been missing my older children A LOT lately, but that is because they live so far away. I do think that it should be natural to enjoy a new season of your life. As your children take over their own lives and you get to do more things that are important to you, you should enjoy that. It would be wrong not to. 

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I had to read that twice, because in my house (with younger kids) it is not uncommon to SLIP on a comfortable old sneaker by the shoe bench. But I know you actually mean slip ON a comfortable old sneaker, and that does sound nice.

 

:lol:

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I'm agreeing here.  Our first two have been gone for several years, but #3 launched (for the summer) last week . . . and #4 is on a camping trip.

This Only Child Stage is just fine for me--the dishwasher & washer are now only run every-other-day!

At this point, it's all new, so I'm enjoying their texts with fun updates of their adventures (like phone dropped in toilet, etc.) that I'm no longer called in to assist with. :-)

(OK, son emailed that his phone was wet, just to clarify.)  :)

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1dd could be . . . intense.  brilliant, delightful, entertaining, dramatic - but draining.

the summer before she left for college, I wavered between "she'll never be ready" and "when . . . is . . . she . . leaving!?!?"

oh - that things could be that simple . . . life was easier with her gone - but phone calls and care packages and trying to give her support from a distance.  when she graduated . .  she moved home. . . . . . I was very happy when she bought her own house and finally moved out.  but, she still comes over to 'vent'.  (though hearing about her new job has been entertaining, and she's generally in a good mood.)

1ds moved in with her . . . there are days he wonders if it was worth it.

(when she was a college senior, I had dudeling - asd, capd, add, ocd . . . he took all my energy.)

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Thanks for telling me I'm not a bad person or mom for feeling this way. It helps to know there are others with these emotions! Almost all of my friends' kids are younger than mine and sometimes I feel really alone in this "launching" stage. It's so emotional, and when I try to talk about it with IRL friends, they sort of smile and nod but I can tell it seems really removed from their lives.

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Nope. I get it.

 

I was quietly, secretly disappointed when my oldest ended up commuting from her first year of college. It was what was best for her, but still...

 

And she's getting a rental unit this fall and I know that will help a lot of things.

 

Family dynamics, reduced chaos that one more person brings, less people's "stuff" laying around.

 

 

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If you are a bad mom, then so am I!!!

 

I love, love, love my children, and I have given up a lot over the last two decades to serve them in mothering and educating them. I don't regret it one bit.

 

But, I am really looking forward to the things I want (and need!) to do that haven't been possible over the years, as I put the needs and demands of family life over my personal interests. I'm talking about both creative pursuits and even my own physical care and keeping. My husband and I need a recovery period! And I'm really enjoying the relationships forming with my young adults; I will still always be their mother, but I'm now in more of a counselor role and less of a hands-on manager, if that makes sense. I feel the need to pray more and harder, but that's ongoing, anyway.

 

I don't think you're a bad mom at all. I think it's natural to need that break after a long, physically and emotionally demanding season of actively parenting. I think it's even necessary to have that down time, time I plan to use to prepare myself to be an energetic, helpful and fun grandparent.

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