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MaBelle

I'm just saying...

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That is beautiful. ♥ I'm hoping that we'll have a similar story, but I have an aching feeling that our kids are going to wind up at the four corners of the country. Each of their needs/preferences are so very different from one another... 😕 Hopefully we'll all find some nice middle-ground to settle on, though! 😄

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I have struggled with a lot of anxiety about this.  Especially as people in my life and family keep divorcing, or we hear horror stories about it on here.  Or women who feel unmoored after education is done.  

 

Thank you for some encouragement that doesn’t just make me feel like if I don’t have sm emergency escape hatch and second career I’m going to be financially abused and bored out of my mind and who knows what else, just because I happen to not have outside employment and have dedicated myself to home education and my family and friends.  It was a rough day and this was balm to read.

 

Keep on with the grand babies and gardening and horses!

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A sweet, wonderful post, telling a sweet, wonderful story - congrats, MaBelle!!

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Yes, and it's a rather rewarding thing (as long as we know where the boundaries lie and we respect them) and there is nothing wrong or lacking with living like this. I am so delighted to hear someone still has large family dinners weekly. These are among my favorite memories from childhood.

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I think you are very blessed and it is wonderful that you have fostered such close ties to your family. 

I will say one thing, though--I don't think the advice you were given is bad. I think we have to allow our kids the choice to leave home, fly far, and live their own lives, and do so without guilt put on them, even subtly. It is very hard for us mama hen types to let our kids go. As long as they know they CAN go far, I think it is GREAT for them to make a choice to stay nearby. 

I also think an option to consider is to let the kids really feel free to live anywhere, even overseas, and maintain ties by either moving ourselves close enough to visit frequently or just stay in touch via vid and text/calls. 

But there is something so precious in presence.❤

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I agree wholeheartedly! My girls are all fairly close by (farthest is 25 min away), and my son is within an hour (not that I see him much because he’s single and living like a hoodlum). It hasn’t always been this way because of the military, but I got to do a lot of fun traveling when different ones were living in Hawaii, VA, and WA state.

I spend a lot of time with my girls and grandchildren.

I have made an effort to strengthen some friendships that have always been there, but from afar since we were all home schooling and busy raising kids. I also work about 8-10 hours/week managing a photography business for a wedding photographer - just to keep me in the “game.” 😜  I’ve been doing that about a year and a half, and I stick with it because she’s so flexible I can pretty much be off when and if I need to, switch days, etc. It’s not gonna set me up for retirement, but it’s a little extra fun money for trips and stuff.

The grandkids are definitely fulfilling, and mine are all home schooled, so I get to have them over pretty much whenever. I do school projects with them, help them with reading/math, etc., and we take trips whenever we can. I love it! I feel like my life is quite full.

Edited by StaceyinLA
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18 hours ago, Chris in VA said:

 

I will say one thing, though--I don't think the advice you were given is bad. I think we have to allow our kids the choice to leave home, fly far, and live their own lives, and do so without guilt put on them, even subtly. It is very hard for us mama hen types to let our kids go. As long as they know they CAN go far, I think it is GREAT for them to make a choice to stay nearby. 

I also think an option to consider is to let the kids really feel free to live anywhere, even overseas, and maintain ties by either moving ourselves close enough to visit frequently or just stay in touch via vid and text/calls. 

They did have that choice.  Oldest ds was gone for 10 years counting college but eventually moved home with my darling dil and three girls.  Youngest dd lived in Alabama a while then Idaho a while and made it home.  Thankfully right now everyone is nearby.  Who knows if it will last, but I'm gonna enjoy it while it does.

 

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5 hours ago, MaBelle said:

They did have that choice.  Oldest ds was gone for 10 years counting college but eventually moved home with my darling dil and three girls.  Youngest dd lived in Alabama a while then Idaho a while and made it home.  Thankfully right now everyone is nearby.  Who knows if it will last, but I'm gonna enjoy it while it does.

 

I hope mine make that choice, too. I just have to get back home 'cause they won't choose to live here! 

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I agree that it wasn't necessarily bad advice and I'm glad it worked out for the OP.  There are differences in people and circumstances, so homeschoolers should consider all their possible futures. Not everyone has 5 children, some by choice, others by circumstances they couldn't control.  Not every adult child will live near their parents and not all will have children. Some personalities thrive in an exclusively home and family centered environment while others wither.  Know thyself, know thy options, and know that futures are impossible to predict.

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Like so many things. It doesn’t have to be either or. 

I am glad for my hobbies and it in no way at all means I’m any less family centered than I was before. If anything it means I’m more so. 

I don’t tend to look at things as so divided. My kids have a wide range of interests and so do I. And we have greatly enjoyed sharing those interests with each other. It requires a lot of being okay outside my comfort zone and it requires a lot of encouraging them to step out of theirs sometimes too. I scuba dive/snorkel, travel, garden, knit, hike, go to college, ice skate, go to church, meet my friends for coffee, go on dates with my husband...

And my kids often do those things too, directly because of my sharing what I enjoy in life with them. 

Likewise, I take an interest in their enjoyments and sometimes find a new enjoyment for myself in the process.  I know more about stage production, costume design, painting, taxidermy, machining, medicine, the army, flying, carpentry, the civil war, WW1&2, explosives, and more than I ever would have sought out without their interests being shared with me. 

(Case in point, I had no idea there was a college of mining and demolition.  Who knew?)

So that’s my long winded way of saying it’s possible to consider my family the center of my world and have hobbies. For that matter, my outside the house interests have given me the honorary aunts and uncles my kids have who are no blood relation have expanded the “center of world” family in the most wonderful of ways. 

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I took something different from the OP. I don't know that she was saying, "Choose to center your life around your family because that will totally work out. They can be your hobby forever." 

I thought the takeaway was meant to be something more like, "For those of you in the trenches, your world revolving around your family because that's what you find your family to NEED, don't worry right now that you'll be left with empty hands and an empty life. You don't know the future but it may be really good."

There are a lot of families that can't afford childcare, so the mom can't work. (It's usually the woman who ends up not working, when this happens.) And there are people whose children have special medical or educational needs, so they feel that homeschooling has become a necessity. While it's true that homeschooling moms can work, it's pretty difficult for moms who are also full-time caretakers of children with special needs to be competitive workers...so again, same choice - trade my "normal life" for their best chance.

Ten million people line up to tell them (us) that "You will have no life and no future." Which helps not at ALL when you don't see how to shuffle off these duties and responsibilities to get yourself a socially acceptable life and a future...

Our board member here is choosing to be one person to say, "It's not necessarily true that you will have no life and nobody, after focusing on your family. Here are the blessings I'm currently counting. The same might work out for you."

One vs. ten million saying that your life, which is challenging and not likely to change because you can't figure out how to change it, anyway, might have a happy ending. 

MaBelle, you encouraged me with your post! Thank you.

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So I'm a bit jealous of MaBelle.  Our family seems to have a bit of a gene that does some chaos and drama as we "find ourselves" as young adults and young parents.  I was pretty critical of my parents when I was a very young parent--fortunately my kids were too young to remember that. Now I know that part of what I was critical of was not their fault, it was the hand of cards they were dealt, with some dysfunction in an adopted child--one who is a marvelous adult but was a very challenging child to raise. 

Two of my kids, the ones who have successfully separated, are in the throes of "sorting", and it's a bit painful for me to be a superfluous human. Oh, they make an effort to Facetime occasionally and take some vacations together, but I'm not really essential, and it's more of a checkbox.  I'm hoping that they will feel the need to have actively involved, loving grandparents once the kids are a larger part of the picture. (One young infant, so far.) 

So, I have a point...  LOL!  I don't have the "life is grand, I'm still heavily involved" that MaBelle described.  But what I absolutely do not regret is having given those years my all. Having given the best of me while I could.  There are things I regret, but my involvement with my kids, making them feel genuinely loved and being a steadying, constant during some years of really difficult circumstances, I wouldn't trade that gift back for anything.  Giving sacrificially may not have done a lot for my future, but it has done a world of good for my self-worth.  It's right up there with walking through cancer and hospice with my mom, caring for her around the clock.  I gave everything I had.

 

 

 

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And I think MaBelle's post is beautiful.  Although I have no expectation I'll be so lucky, I'd be beyond delighted to be so!

I just don't want some poor downtrodden exhausted mom out there to feel guilty because she takes a few hours a week to have coffee with a friend while the husband has the kids or because she decides she really needs to do whatever hobby for her own growth and peace of mind.

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16 hours ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

I took something different from the OP. I don't know that she was saying, "Choose to center your life around your family because that will totally work out. They can be your hobby forever." 

I thought the takeaway was meant to be something more like, "For those of you in the trenches, your world revolving around your family because that's what you find your family to NEED, don't worry right now that you'll be left with empty hands and an empty life. You don't know the future but it may be really good."

There are a lot of families that can't afford childcare, so the mom can't work. (It's usually the woman who ends up not working, when this happens.) And there are people whose children have special medical or educational needs, so they feel that homeschooling has become a necessity. While it's true that homeschooling moms can work, it's pretty difficult for moms who are also full-time caretakers of children with special needs to be competitive workers...so again, same choice - trade my "normal life" for their best chance.

Ten million people line up to tell them (us) that "You will have no life and no future." Which helps not at ALL when you don't see how to shuffle off these duties and responsibilities to get yourself a socially acceptable life and a future...

Our board member here is choosing to be one person to say, "It's not necessarily true that you will have no life and nobody, after focusing on your family. Here are the blessings I'm currently counting. The same might work out for you."

One vs. ten million saying that your life, which is challenging and not likely to change because you can't figure out how to change it, anyway, might have a happy ending. 

MaBelle, you encouraged me with your post! Thank you.

This was a seriously wonderful post.  I totally agree.

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6 hours ago, Murphy101 said:

And I think MaBelle's post is beautiful.  Although I have no expectation I'll be so lucky, I'd be beyond delighted to be so!

I just don't want some poor downtrodden exhausted mom out there to feel guilty because she takes a few hours a week to have coffee with a friend while the husband has the kids or because she decides she really needs to do whatever hobby for her own growth and peace of mind.

Agreed. 

Some people are really good at knowing what brings them joy.  For me, surprisingly, because I was never a kid-loving teen or young adult (I only babysat for one family, and the kids there were extremely self-managing) it was my kids that brought me massive joy.  I tried on a gazillion other things, but nothing brought the joy and delight that they did.  They still do, but it's tempered by my knowing they need more space to become themselves fully as people. 

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