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StaceyinLA

What things have you done to step back from your adult kids’ lives?

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I’m not a nosy parent, but I’ve had extremely close relationships with my adult daughters, for the most part. The thing is, when I know things aren’t going great in their lives, or they are doing things I may/may not love, I have a hard time not stressing over it. I have been really good, especially lately, about keeping my mouth shut, but it’s still difficult for me to not worry.

Along that same vein, it’s gotten to where I don’t spend quite as much time with them. In some ways I know that’s good, but I’m finding it difficult to find other things to do.

I work part-time (like 4-5 hours, 2 days/wk), and try to meet up with a friend/friends at least once/week for lunch and a visit.

I’ve been minimizing like mad the last couple weeks, but that’ll be done soon.

What types of things do you do to develop your own interests and kind of break away a bit from being so involved with your adult kids?

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I started working full-time, and that has been fantastic! I'm just way too happily busy with my work to keep stressing about my adult kids' choices. I feel more layered, balanced, and emotionally independent. I'm not always available for them at the drop of a hat, which I think is better for them and for me, honestly.

Could you increase your work days/hours?

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My teen daughters mostly run their own lives now. Well, I do the driving, lol (which is good talk time.)

Though I’m busy with carting them around, checking in with older ds, and managing two younger ones, I look forward to eventually having more time for my things.  More gym time, more reading time, more writing time, more studying various interests. I assume I’ll do more for our volunteer fire department. I’d like to help in the homeschool community. I’m considering (when the boys can be left home alone) doing Red Cross response.  If I stay physically active enough, I’d love to get a dog to train for search and rescue. And I think it would be fun to become a Master Gardener.

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I remind myself frequently that they are adults and unless they ask me for my opinion, I will keep it to myself. Ds lives in another state. Physical distance may help even though we text frequently. He was about to make a unwise decision when he was about 18/19 and I had to pray hard to help me through it. I kept hearing an inner voice say, "Take a step back."

 I am channeling this voice now when I want to say something but know I should not. I want to respect their autonomy but let them know I am here if they want to talk.

ETA: I am also working and this probably takes the mind off some things. Dh and I try to do a few things together and then we have each our individual hobbies as well.

Edited by Liz CA
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Move to the other side of the world?

My parents and I lived on opposite sides of the world during my young adult years. Definitely prevented unhealthy enmeshment 😄

More realistically, it sounds like more work hours/volunteering/hobbies for you may help.

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I'm generally pretty good at letting my adult kids run their own lives, while at the same time we are very close and have some unique circumstances that do require us to be more involved with each other's lives than some families.

But sometimes, I do need to take a giant step back.  Now and then, for example, I might have an adult child who has some really major stuff going on that seems devastating, and I feel like I can so easily see what needs to be done to fix everything!  Ha.  And, usually -- because we're a family involved in each other's lives 🙂 -- I do try and step in to help fix it in my own sometimes subtle/sometimes not so subtle ways!   But more often than not, I eventually have to conclude that it's something that they're going to have to live through and suffer the results and learn by experience.  That's when I have to accept that I can't fix it, and need to take the giant step back, because if I don't, either our relationship will suffer or my emotions will suffer!  Taking that step back helps play down that frantic desire to fix it "before it's too late," and also helps me see the world as bigger and more forgiving, with room for mistakes.

Putting myself into some completely different situations -- such as traveling, or getting very involved in a project that I enjoy and takes mind power -- for example, some kind of large home project or creative project or community project, helps a lot.  It mentally distances me from my kids and helps shift my thinking to a different part of my brain.

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1 hour ago, GinaPagnato said:

I started working full-time, and that has been fantastic! I'm just way too happily busy with my work to keep stressing about my adult kids' choices. I feel more layered, balanced, and emotionally independent. I'm not always available for them at the drop of a hat, which I think is better for them and for me, honestly.

Could you increase your work days/hours?

 

I couldn’t do that at the job I currently have, and honestly, I wouldn’t want to, although I have considered a job where I’d work more hours. 

The only thing is, the lady I work for/with is so flexible, and it really makes things nice if I want to travel (which I did for 6 weeks last year when dd had her baby in WA). As much as I think working more would have some positives, it would really hinder me in a lot of ways. In addition, for me to get a job I’d enjoy, I’d be looking at a 45 minute each way (minimum - not including traffic) commute.

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1 hour ago, maize said:

Move to the other side of the world?

My parents and I lived on opposite sides of the world during my young adult years. Definitely prevented unhealthy enmeshment 😄

More realistically, it sounds like more work hours/volunteering/hobbies for you may help.

lol yep

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1 hour ago, Liz CA said:

I remind myself frequently that they are adults and unless they ask me for my opinion, I will keep it to myself. Ds lives in another state. Physical distance may help even though we text frequently. He was about to make a unwise decision when he was about 18/19 and I had to pray hard to help me through it. I kept hearing an inner voice say, "Take a step back."

 I am channeling this voice now when I want to say something but know I should not. I want to respect their autonomy but let them know I am here if they want to talk.

ETA: I am also working and this probably takes the mind off some things. Dh and I try to do a few things together and then we have each our individual hobbies as well.

 

I think something that makes things more difficult for me is the fact that my dh and I have absolutely nothing in common, other than trips to the beach. We just each kinda do our own thing, which works for me because I’m pretty independent. Of course, at times like this, when I’d like to have someone to do more with, it kinda sucks.

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1 hour ago, maize said:

Move to the other side of the world?

My parents and I lived on opposite sides of the world during my young adult years. Definitely prevented unhealthy enmeshment 😄

More realistically, it sounds like more work hours/volunteering/hobbies for you may help.

 

Lol I’ve had them live in other places - Hawaii, VA, WA state. I guess it did help some, but they also weren’t dealing with the same things they are now.

Honestly, where I used to think I could never leave while my grandkids were young, I sometimes feel like I could move away and be okay with it. I absolutely adore my grandchildren, and am so thankful for the time I get with them - don’t get me wrong - but I also feel like I could live away (not terribly far) and have my own life while I’m still young enough to enjoy it. 

Realistically though, I know I wouldn’t want to leave them. It’s truly too much of a blessing having them all close. I just need to create my distance right here somehow.

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Do you have IRL girlfriends with whom you can plan fun things? This was and still is what I need the most on some days.

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Volunteer work? 

But really, if it is not the time but the letting go of control that is the problem therapy might be a better idea. Or stress management techniques, etc. 

My mom has this issue. She HAS to have someone to worry about, it seems like. When she was working full time as a nurse she had her patients to focus that on, but now she focuses it on my sister and I, and the grandkids. It's more obviously unhealthy now, but looking back, I realize she always had that anxiety it was just directed differently. It would have been for the best if she could have learned to deal with the anxiety back then, instead of getting burnt out because she was constantly worrying about her patients, even after going home at night. 

So - if it is a time thing, try volunteering or getting a hobby

If it is a control thing, or an anxiety issue in general, some professional help might be a  good idea. You are going through a transition and that can be hard on anyone, and there is no shame in getting some help to deal with it. 

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37 minutes ago, StaceyinLA said:

 

I think something that makes things more difficult for me is the fact that my dh and I have absolutely nothing in common, other than trips to the beach. We just each kinda do our own thing, which works for me because I’m pretty independent. Of course, at times like this, when I’d like to have someone to do more with, it kinda sucks.

Maybe you're substituting the relationship needs that aren't being filled by your DH with your relationship with your kids? Idk, this just jumped out at me. Dh and I do a lot together on the weekends, and we've become one of those couples that watches TV together for a little bit each evening. We never used to do that, mainly because there was so much to be done with and for the kids. Now that they're older, I'm kinda enjoying watching TV. Who knew!?

32 minutes ago, StaceyinLA said:

 

Lol I’ve had them live in other places - Hawaii, VA, WA state. I guess it did help some, but they also weren’t dealing with the same things they are now.

Honestly, where I used to think I could never leave while my grandkids were young, I sometimes feel like I could move away and be okay with it. I absolutely adore my grandchildren, and am so thankful for the time I get with them - don’t get me wrong - but I also feel like I could live away (not terribly far) and have my own life while I’m still young enough to enjoy it. 

Realistically though, I know I wouldn’t want to leave them. It’s truly too much of a blessing having them all close. I just need to create my distance right here somehow.

Yeah, and see, I am thinking I will have to force myself to be an involved grandmother, because I am really really REALLY enjoying creating my own life now with my work. My kids have mentioned here and there that they really want Dh and me to be involved with their kids (when they have them), and I'm kinda like...😐 (this is where I need the run away emoji, lol!)

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I would find a hobby and actively pursue it. You will find friends there, and it will occupy your time.

I will need to take my own advice very soon as my youngest has 1 1/2 years left at home before college. Not sure what I will do with myself. I love many things - reading, art, gardening, walking, theater... the world is exciting - go discover it. 

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Well, mine is only 23 and single, but honestly so far, I haven't really avoided giving my opinion or advice.  At the same time, I am also not angry at her if she doesn't take it.  I don't feel like my opinion or advice suddenly becomes invalid just because my kid is an adult.  If I have a close friend who is dating a loser....I tell my friend I think the guy is a loser.  If I have a close friend that I think is making a mistake in a job situation, I tell my friend that I think they are making a mistake.  But I also don't get upset or angry at my friend if they continue to date the guy or the job situation blows up in their face.  I just buy my friend a drink when she breaks up with the guy, we all agree that yes, he really was a loser and then we move on.

 

I will say though, I am not a huge worrier.  I tend to have a somewhat optimistic outlook on the long view and it's probably all going to work out ok in the end.....even if OK looks different than we first thought.  

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2 hours ago, Liz CA said:

I remind myself frequently that they are adults and unless they ask me for my opinion, I will keep it to myself. Ds lives in another state. Physical distance may help even though we text frequently. He was about to make a unwise decision when he was about 18/19 and I had to pray hard to help me through it. I kept hearing an inner voice say, "Take a step back."

 I am channeling this voice now when I want to say something but know I should not. I want to respect their autonomy but let them know I am here if they want to talk.

ETA: I am also working and this probably takes the mind off some things. Dh and I try to do a few things together and then we have each our individual hobbies as well.

But if you don't say anything, how can you say, "I told you so" when they don't follow your advice? ; )

Seriously, thank you for this. I think I really needed a reminder today to use the take-a-step-back and keep-it-to-myself strategy.  

ETA: And I answered a text just now with "Sounds good" instead of what I really wanted to say.

Edited by Skippy
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I’m not a Dh-is-my-best-friend person. We just don’t share hobbies. We get along and haven’t run out of things to talk about, but I need friends to have deeper conversations about several interests. I think it’s rude to go into too much depth on a topic that is boring your audience. I also wouldn’t expect my adult daughter to fulfill my adult friendship needs. She’s older, and our relationship is changing, but I still need friends from my own generation  

It seems you have time to cultivate new interests and friendships. It might be time to pursue something that engages you physically and mentally OR a new job that takes more time. 

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I don’t ask a lot of questions, honestly. If I don’t need to know and am unlikely to enjoy the answer I just don’t ask. 

That said, my kids don’t unload all their stress on me, either. We are close as in we don’t fight and everyone in this family knows everyone else has their back. But, we are not a family that shares every personal detail. I have friends who would feel very sad to not have all the details but it works for us. For example, do I really want the details of my boys’ romantic relationships? Nope. 

My boys also moved out and went to college just after their 18th birthdays. Out of sight isn’t out of mind but it helps. 

I tend to think this will be much different with my dd, though, so I know everyone is different.

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Well, I work full time, and am packing up my house, and am pursuing some further education, and, and, and........and I still miss my kids so much.  I want them to move back in my house.....yup, I am *that* mom.  

And I have a lot of friends and go out a lot with them.  

Two older ones are gone and youngest is very social and out a lot.  We talk but I know he doesn't tell me everything.  

None of the above is enough.  

If I ever figure it out, I will get back to you.

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I have one away from home (college) and one who will leave in August. I may be bereft too!

I don't want to start a full-time job for several reasons, so this is my plan:

1. Possibly start teaching at a co-op one day/week. Maybe.

2. Start volunteering more on specific days/times. The local hospital, a local charity that helps foster parents with clothing, furniture, etc always needs help sorting donations, a food/clothing bank, and the animal shelter all need help. 

3. Be more available to help the elderly in our congregation who may need a ride to a doctor's appointment, whatever. 

4. Read more good books. 

 

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I don't really have any struggle with stepping back from my kids' lives. I enjoy their company when they are around, miss them terribly when they aren't, but I feel no compulsion to be really involved in their day-to-day stuff. I will admit I haven't finished mourning the end of my years as a full-time mom, but that's different from what I think you're describing.

I used to be one of those people who said I was looking forward to "getting my life back" once my kids grew up. I used to state with great assurance that I was interested in so many things that I wouldn't get bored . . .

Imagine my surprise when it turned out that "my life" was what I had already been doing and that nothing I thought I wanted to know or do was actually as interesting or meaningful to me as being a mom. 

In my case, the only thing that takes the edge off is staying busy with things I perceive as "productive," So, I work full time, and I've been taking graduate classes. I've gotten very intentional about paying down debt and getting us in better shape, financially. I've made friends at work and make a point of communicating with/seeing my one pre-existing local friend regularly. I take long-ish walks with my dog, track my reading and have been trying out new crafts and hobbies.

Most days, I manage okay, although the sadness still manages to sneak up and tap me on the shoulder now and then.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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I can only think of one concrete example lately of 'stepping back'.

Dd2 is home for the summer, goes interstate again for uni in a month or so - and she's begun a relationship with someone here. 

I have zipped my lips completely. In my head, I am thinking 'oh that's so silly, you are just making stress and upset for yourself, maybe you should just keep it as friends, remember you have to focus on uni work when you get back, not on maintaining a long distance relationship that prob won't make it, and then you have the break up stress when you don't need extra stress.'

But I said nothing because it's actually not my business. So I guess I work hard on identifying what is and isn't my business and then being real strict with myself when it isn't.

That's kind of different to the empty nest thing though. I haven't got one of those yet. I'll be working f/t, so that will help, and I'll finally have time to write again, and once I see family, close friends, and keep house, that will be it except for sleeping. Benefit of having to work I guess.

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I started volunteering at my local Humane Society which led me from volunteer work to a full time paid position. I have lunch with my oldest dd every Thursday so that's my time with her. She leads a very busy life. I keep in touch with both of my daughters by texting and we exchange greetings and good nights and maybe some conversation if they have something to say. I don't interact with my ds as much even though he lives with me because he keeps to himself. I'd love to have lunch with him once a week but he doesn't eat lunch really. I should talk to DH about making our regular Sunday dinners outings to restaurants which my ds loves to do. We could go out every Sunday evening, my only other day off work.

As for not interfering, I have just learned to keep my mouth shut. All 3 of my children have heard me repeatedly say that I'm always available for a conversation or any other type of assistance they may need, even in the middle of the night. In other words, I wait for them to come to me. Otherwise I keep my mouth shut. I vent to DH a lot but I don't let my girls know that I do.

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If you are looking for things to do, volunteer.  There are so many options depending on your interests.  I know as a foster/adoptive parent I would have LOVED someone that just volunteered to DRIVE the kids around.  Schools are always looking for mentors through Kids Hope and other organizations, a local homeless shelter or alternative highschool, etc.  If you need a paid job that is still super flexible you could substitute at the schools....as a teacher, an aide, in special education, the playground/lunchroom, etc.  The pay is not very high but the rewards are great and it is super duper flexible.
 

The above are more along the lines of my interests, but animal shelters always need help, food banks, library book stores, etc. and on and on.

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I moved away for graduate school. 🙄Ds still lives with my mom and I go home every couple of weeks during school and I'll be back in the summer. Only 3 more semesters, then I'm home for good. Ds will graduate then too, so not sure what his plans are. 

Ds and I are very close, as he is with my mom. He still comes to me for advice, but I've stepped back from trying to solve his "what is my life going to be" issues. He's 21 and I think that's part of life he needs to work through with some of his mentors. I've given advice previously and now I just try to encourage. 

Ds and I commuted to college together for 3 years, so it's change that he has to get up and be gone on his own. He hates mornings. This is probably the biggest change on his end, he dislikes driving (why I don't know) and he misses me being the bad guy and telling him we have to leave in a few minutes (I'm not a morning person either, so that was never fun). 

Recently he asked me to intervene for him with a situation with his dad. I was going to let him handle it, but he wanted support. It started out as a supporting role, then I had to go into mama bear mode for a bit. Generally, he deals with his dad on his own, I try not to talk to the man unless absolutely necessary. 

 

I remember my parents consciously treating me differently when I became an adult. It was a step that really helped our relationship, especially with my dad. They let our decisions be ours and if they failed, they were there to pick me up. 

Grad school keeps me busy, but when I'm at my apartment, I get lonely. Most of my friends live back home and my of my classmates are just as exhausted as I am, so it's hard to just grab coffee with someone and detach. 

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18 hours ago, Liz CA said:

Do you have IRL girlfriends with whom you can plan fun things? This was and still is what I need the most on some days.

 

 I have started doing this more. That’s definitely been helpful. I’m planning on traveling to visit some of my dear friends who live out of state also, but of course those will be limited periods of time.

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18 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Volunteer work? 

But really, if it is not the time but the letting go of control that is the problem therapy might be a better idea. Or stress management techniques, etc. 

My mom has this issue. She HAS to have someone to worry about, it seems like. When she was working full time as a nurse she had her patients to focus that on, but now she focuses it on my sister and I, and the grandkids. It's more obviously unhealthy now, but looking back, I realize she always had that anxiety it was just directed differently. It would have been for the best if she could have learned to deal with the anxiety back then, instead of getting burnt out because she was constantly worrying about her patients, even after going home at night. 

So - if it is a time thing, try volunteering or getting a hobby

If it is a control thing, or an anxiety issue in general, some professional help might be a  good idea. You are going through a transition and that can be hard on anyone, and there is no shame in getting some help to deal with it. 

 

Could be something in between? IDK. I mean the anxiety is really only for the grandkids getting mixed up in the situations (dd and her husband being separated for instance). I just hate to see what the kids are dealing with, but I get it. I mean she’s tried a long time and her husband has issues he isn’t willing to get help for - it still just sucks. But in that, I don’t think my worries/fears are abnormal or unfounded, or even over the top - just concerns. I would just prefer if I maybe didn’t “know” so much, ya know? I’m working on that.

Some of it is time for sure because if I have lots of time on my hands, it makes it more difficult. I try to keep busy, but there’s only so much I can do in this house.

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16 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

I’m not a Dh-is-my-best-friend person. We just don’t share hobbies. We get along and haven’t run out of things to talk about, but I need friends to have deeper conversations about several interests. I think it’s rude to go into too much depth on a topic that is boring your audience. I also wouldn’t expect my adult daughter to fulfill my adult friendship needs. She’s older, and our relationship is changing, but I still need friends from my own generation  

It seems you have time to cultivate new interests and friendships. It might be time to pursue something that engages you physically and mentally OR a new job that takes more time. 

 

My oldest daughter and I definitely have more of a friendship, mainly because our interests are much more similar than my interests and my other daughters’. However, she has a very involved, wonderful husband, and they do a lot of things as a family (for which I am SUPER thankful), so I try to give them that space. Now, when he was working 7-12s starting 3 days after she had baby #3, I spent a lot of time there, but typically, not so much.

The other two girls - definitely still more like daughters, mainly because of their situations. My son - oh my - right now he’s just lost. I mean I love him, but he’s got lots of growing up to do. I’m not worried about overstepping with him because I don’t talk to him more than once/week.

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It is funny.  As dh and I are rather standoffish with interfering with our childrens' lives, the kids have become much more controlling about each others' lives.  Like the two dds try to help ds clean his place and clean his resume.  Ds and one dd were advocating other dd to break up with boyfriend.  Etc, etc,. etc.

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15 hours ago, Jenny in Florida said:

I don't really have any struggle with stepping back from my kids' lives. I enjoy their company when they are around, miss them terribly when they aren't, but I feel no compulsion to be really involved in their day-to-day stuff. I will admit I haven't finished mourning the end of my years as a full-time mom, but that's different from what I think you're describing.

I used to be one of those people who said I was looking forward to "getting my life back" once my kids grew up. I used to state with great assurance that I was interested in so many things that I wouldn't get bored . . .

Imagine my surprise when it turned out that "my life" was what I had already been doing and that nothing I thought I wanted to know or do was actually as interesting or meaningful to me as being a mom. 

In my case, the only thing that takes the edge off is staying busy with things I perceive as "productive," So, I work full time, and I've been taking graduate classes. I've gotten very intentional about paying down debt and getting us in better shape, financially. I've made friends at work and make a point of communicating with/seeing my one pre-existing local friend regularly. I take long-ish walks with my dog, track my reading and have been trying out new crafts and hobbies.

Most days, I manage okay, although the sadness still manages to sneak up and tap me on the shoulder now and then.

 

Wow - great post! I do think my situation is a bit different, although I also miss the days of kids at home and home schooling very much. I think it’s a lot of the reason I HAVE been so involved with the grandkids; my kids have really wanted to have my input (the two oldest are home schooling) and advice. It’s just such a balance between doing what they ask, and ONLY what they ask, and interjecting much more than they ask.

You offered some great suggestions though. There are some leisure classes I’ve sworn I would take one day. I’ve been wanting to go take some intermediate and advanced classes at the Apple store too (so I can be more productive with my various devices), I’m also working on our budget/debts since our remodel gave us some cc debt we hadn’t had in years. I’m doing the same thing with friends, and a couple of us have been talking about meeting up for exercise/walking. I don’t really have hobbies, and nothing just jumps out at me for that - maybe I could garden again, but dh always balks at that because our neighbors have a HUGE garden. I’m not crafty, so nothing springs to mind in that area. 😜

Honestly, I HAVE considered getting a dog, and maybe doing training for therapy. Maybe I should look into that.

Anyway, thanks for the food for thought.

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As I've posted before our grown kids are close but I mind my own business.  You're never going to stop worrying.  So pray instead.  A dog isn't a bad idea, I have a "Baby" cat that I'm obsessed with, lol!

 

Edited by MaBelle
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20 hours ago, StaceyinLA said:

 

I think something that makes things more difficult for me is the fact that my dh and I have absolutely nothing in common, other than trips to the beach. We just each kinda do our own thing, which works for me because I’m pretty independent. Of course, at times like this, when I’d like to have someone to do more with, it kinda sucks.

Have you discussed doing more with him?   You don't have to be all in for everything each of you like, but hanging together is nice.

I tell everyone to knit or crochet or garden or travel or volunteer.  Actually I say to do all of that.  lol  If you share the beach interest, travel to more beaches together.  Planning what to do and where to go could be fun.  Some all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean are crazy cheap compared to US destinations and have all kinds of things to try on site.  Maybe decide to try something new once a month together?  Try an intro dance.  It doesn't matter what, some stuff you'll learn you never want to do again, but some stuff might spark a new interest or just be a fun memory.

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We don't get to stop worrying about our kids, but we can decide that our role is as a trusted friend.  We can give advice and sometimes tangible help, but mostly we just need to love them and enjoy being a part of their lives when we can.

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6 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

We don't get to stop worrying about our kids, but we can decide that our role is as a trusted friend.  We can give advice and sometimes tangible help, but mostly we just need to love them and enjoy being a part of their lives when we can.

This.  I hope that I am able to step back more than my parents did -- they both had extreme anxiety and my father always tried to fix all my problems.  It was well -intentioned but it never allowed me to make mistakes and see that I can get through even the worst situation and still be ok.  I want my kids to have enough resilience to go through tough times and emerge on the other side, stronger.

This kind of happened to an extent when my daughter had a very rough year at college.  She called A LOT, and then there was a lot of talk about transferring to a different school.  When I struggled in college my dad offered to run up 12 hours away to pick me up and bring me home immediately.  Well intentioned but it made me feel, 1. weak and needing to be rescued, and 2. always thinking that escaping my problems was a solution.  So with my daughter we talked about worst case scenerios (another year without any friends, bad roommates) and how she could survive that, what she could do differently from last year, what are the positives going into a second year, and how to decide when enough is enough and it is time to transfer.  It empowered her much more.  

I'm hoping that as time goes by she will call less and less to ask for advice.  I try never to offer it unasked!

Young Adults are so tricky.:) 

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My boys are 15 -- so I don't entirely know about grown kids, but I've been prepping for the inevitable.

One thing I wanted to add: my dog keeps me super busy. He's a German shepherd so I run him almost daily at the dog park. Initially I resisted friendships, but recently I fell in like with a fabulous new friend. We have loving animals in common.

Plus I read a lot and listen to podcasts.

I'm also a writer so that keeps me busy.

I highly recommend finding your next stage in life by listening to this lady's podcasts. Totally free and they've helped me so much: Brooke Castillo.(I suggest starting with her very first podcast.)

Alley

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I find my place is to just BE there for the kids. My plan was to head to CA this week for dd's foot surgery, but her dh is not deployed and the roof is leaking so no place to stay right now. When that work is done, I'll head out to relieve dd's boredom of forced recuperation for months. However, other dd had a fire two days ago, so guess what? She's moved back home! I end up driving kids to the airport a lot (10 hours), and heading to concerts, etc. I do a lot of volunteer work, but that's flexible. The kids know I listen, and I go places when needed. 

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This is a very timely topic for me. I am still struggling with this.  Only one of my kids is truly "launched" ... he is in grad school across the country and is financially independent from us (at last.)  When he left for college, I struggled with not being involved with most of his decisions.  He is a rather passive person and did still needed a few parental pushes to do things that were in his best interest.  As he got older and proved that he was actually handling things that he needed to do, I was able to step back.  I had other kids at home who needed my attention.  Over the last couple of years, he has proven that he is managing his life well.  I do wish for more communication, just because I miss him.  He is a neat person that I love very much.  

My next child is very independent (emotionally and socially), but still very dependent on us for basic needs (mental illness.)  She is very standoffish with us and we have had to accept that.  Her open hostility toward any parental interference has been a deterrence to helping her run her life (for good or for bad.)  I have had to choose my battles and words very carefully.  

With my youngest, it has been really hard.  She is the person I am closest to.  Even before I lost most of my close friends, she was someone who liked my company and chose to spend time with me.  We had a couple of interests in common and spent a lot of time together.  Her being at home when her siblings were off at college when she was going through adolescence helped cement that close relationship.  I was very appreciative of this relationship and worked very hard to try to keep conflict at a minimum.  When other people lamented how their daughters were just so difficult, I only felt joy at my relationship with her.  I had to work hard at letting her grow up and become independent.  It was a huge struggle for me.  I spent a lot of time in anticipatory grief of her leaving for college, but had to work at not making that "her problem."  I was in therapy trying to keep myself together while dealing with her mentally ill sibling and losing my friends, and part of the work we did was dealing with this life change and helping me let go where I needed to.  She was also in therapy ... she had sort of shut down emotionally due to the difficulty of having a sibling with such major issues, as well as a couple of friends who were having crises.  She needed to learn emotional boundaries so that she could not be so overwhelmed by all the pain and grief around her (some of which was mine.)  We were discussing this situation in one of our long commutes and I told her that, sometimes, when I was giving advice or asking lots of questions about something, it was not a statement of my lack of confidence in her, but my own insecurity about something.  And I told her that, when she felt like I was stepping on her toes, she should tell me that she had it covered.  And she has.  Now, when it comes to stuff like safety or things that affect us financially (like most of her finances, because if she is not handling things well, then it has financial impact on us) we will need to be more involved.  We have kept lines of communication open ... she lets me know what is going on so I worry less.  She seems to welcome my interest in her life, but tells me to back off when she needs to.  I'm just happy that she likes me and looks forward to Skyping with me.  I still need to consciously bite my tongue and not go into Mom mode.  

One thing that has helped me with not being an overbearing parent is getting my own life.  I am back in school, am volunteering, and will be seeking part-time employment.  

Sorry for writing a book.  

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20 hours ago, dirty ethel rackham said:

This is a very timely topic for me. I am still struggling with this.  Only one of my kids is truly "launched" ... he is in grad school across the country and is financially independent from us (at last.)  When he left for college, I struggled with not being involved with most of his decisions.  He is a rather passive person and did still needed a few parental pushes to do things that were in his best interest.  As he got older and proved that he was actually handling things that he needed to do, I was able to step back.  I had other kids at home who needed my attention.  Over the last couple of years, he has proven that he is managing his life well.  I do wish for more communication, just because I miss him.  He is a neat person that I love very much.  

My next child is very independent (emotionally and socially), but still very dependent on us for basic needs (mental illness.)  She is very standoffish with us and we have had to accept that.  Her open hostility toward any parental interference has been a deterrence to helping her run her life (for good or for bad.)  I have had to choose my battles and words very carefully.  

With my youngest, it has been really hard.  She is the person I am closest to.  Even before I lost most of my close friends, she was someone who liked my company and chose to spend time with me.  We had a couple of interests in common and spent a lot of time together.  Her being at home when her siblings were off at college when she was going through adolescence helped cement that close relationship.  I was very appreciative of this relationship and worked very hard to try to keep conflict at a minimum.  When other people lamented how their daughters were just so difficult, I only felt joy at my relationship with her.  I had to work hard at letting her grow up and become independent.  It was a huge struggle for me.  I spent a lot of time in anticipatory grief of her leaving for college, but had to work at not making that "her problem."  I was in therapy trying to keep myself together while dealing with her mentally ill sibling and losing my friends, and part of the work we did was dealing with this life change and helping me let go where I needed to.  She was also in therapy ... she had sort of shut down emotionally due to the difficulty of having a sibling with such major issues, as well as a couple of friends who were having crises.  She needed to learn emotional boundaries so that she could not be so overwhelmed by all the pain and grief around her (some of which was mine.)  We were discussing this situation in one of our long commutes and I told her that, sometimes, when I was giving advice or asking lots of questions about something, it was not a statement of my lack of confidence in her, but my own insecurity about something.  And I told her that, when she felt like I was stepping on her toes, she should tell me that she had it covered.  And she has.  Now, when it comes to stuff like safety or things that affect us financially (like most of her finances, because if she is not handling things well, then it has financial impact on us) we will need to be more involved.  We have kept lines of communication open ... she lets me know what is going on so I worry less.  She seems to welcome my interest in her life, but tells me to back off when she needs to.  I'm just happy that she likes me and looks forward to Skyping with me.  I still need to consciously bite my tongue and not go into Mom mode.  

One thing that has helped me with not being an overbearing parent is getting my own life.  I am back in school, am volunteering, and will be seeking part-time employment.  

Sorry for writing a book.  

 

I appreciate this. It helps to know what I’m going through is real, and I’m not the only one dealing with it. I guess I have always just felt that raising them would be the hardest, but in all honesty, watching them struggle as adults is worse. 😞

My oldest is in a good place for sure, and we are close. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, we have a lot in common. Her personality is very different from mine, but we enjoy one another’s company for the most part, and value one another’s advice.

Dd 2 is struggling with a separation, and she’s dealing with it a lot differently than I would. Even though I know her dh has issues and really needs counseling (refuses to get it), I think she probably has her own “daddy” issues and needs counseling herself. She’s a great mom though, and I know she’s handling it the best way she knows how, but it’s SO hard to bite my tongue.

Dd 3 is in a weird place too, and right now she is staying in our guest house because her boyfriend is on a submarine for several months. They have been talking marriage since before she found out she was pregnant, but apparently he has some serious lying issues that have come out, so she doesn’t know what this means for her future. He’s said he will go to counseling, but he’s only gone once so far. It’s wearing on me because I’m really worried about their baby still being young and (if they don’t stay together) visitation potentially separating him from dd when he’s absolutely not ready for it. The thought of that just sucks. He didn’t ask for it, and it’s not fair the way that system works.

Ds is just floundering. At 23 he has basically zero responsibility. He has always been great about working, paying his bills (car, insurance, etc.), and now he’s just doing the bare minimum to get by. Right now he’s living in an apartment, their electricity and water was cut off because they couldn’t pay the bill, he’s behind on his car payment, etc. It’s SO hard to do this tough love thing, but I know he has to hit bottom so he’ll pick himself up. He’s just really a good guy with a good heart, and I can’t stand to see him screwing up his life.

I pray for them all daily, and I pray that I’ll do/say the right things, or keep my mouth shut if I can’t. It’s just so darn difficult.

Certainly I worry more with the girls because of the grandchildren. I mean they are grown-ups, and if it there were no kids to be affected, letting them fall on their faces would be so much easier. 

Yeah. Reading my post back makes it more clear how much I need a life! 😜

Edited by StaceyinLA

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11 minutes ago, StaceyinLA said:

 

 

Yeah. Reading my post back makes it more clear how much I need a life! 😜

Oh, dear.  Sounds like a lot of stress.  It's the worst when we want to help and there's nothing you can really do.

My youngest dd was married for six weeks before an annulment.  The guy is local and I want to vomit every time I see him.  Dd moved an hour away, got a job and an apartment, spends tons of time with big sister and her family and comes home on Sundays.  I'm worried that she isn't meeting/making friends, is lonely etc. etc.  We don't have a close relationship, we're too much alike, I feel like I try and she doesn't...oh well.  

All that to say it sucks when you can't fix things.

Maybe we could introduce our youngest.......LOL  Does your son like cattle???

 

Edited by MaBelle

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17 minutes ago, MaBelle said:

Oh, dear.  Sounds like a lot of stress.  It's the worst when we want to help and there's nothing you can really do.

My youngest dd was married for six weeks before an annulment.  The guy is local and I want to vomit every time I see him.  Dd moved an hour away, got a job and an apartment, spends tons of time with big sister and her family and comes home on Sundays.  I'm worried that she isn't meeting/making friends, is lonely etc. etc.  We don't have a close relationship, we're too much alike, I feel like I try and she doesn't...oh well.  

All that to say it sucks when you can't fix things.

Maybe we could introduce our youngest.......LOL  Does your son like cattle???

 

 

I wouldn’t introduce my son to anyone right now. He’s definitely NOT boyfriend material. I wouldn’t wish someone this irresponsible on my own daughters, so I sure wouldn’t want to push it on someone else’s. His head is just not in the right place. I do sometimes think when the right girl comes along, he’ll straighten up. At least I hope...

But yeah, it does suck. It’s probably one of my lessons in life though that I really need to learn; how to accept the things I can’t change?

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I still have a young teen at home, but I'm definitely transitioning into life with young adults.  They're both married, one an hour away and the other a 10 hour drive away. 

1. Remembering what a pain my overstepping mother is.
2. Starting a permaculture food forest from ground zero.
3. Developing friendships-more work now because we moved across the country last summer.
4. Getting more quilting and reading done.
5. I'll volunteer more when youngest is in cc at 16.
6. Mostly 1.

I would say that if you're working and spending time with friends regularly and still struggling, then it's time to see a therapist to help hone in on the root cause of that and get a professional opinion on how to fix it.

On watching kids struggle (my oldest struggles in a few things) I think reconciling your own past struggles is key.  I think people who can't honestly say things like, "I'm so glad I had that struggle in my life because if forced me to learn an important lesson and developed me as a person in this way...." are people who have a harder time allowing their children to struggle. American culture in general idolizes fast, easy, no hassle things and forgets that there are times when The Hard Way is useful and productive-most often after the person experiencing it  had been offered and shown easier ways but rejected them.

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54 minutes ago, StaceyinLA said:

 

I wouldn’t introduce my son to anyone right now. He’s definitely NOT boyfriend material. I wouldn’t wish someone this irresponsible on my own daughters, so I sure wouldn’t want to push it on someone else’s. His head is just not in the right place. I do sometimes think when the right girl comes along, he’ll straighten up. At least I hope...

But yeah, it does suck. It’s probably one of my lessons in life though that I really need to learn; how to accept the things I can’t change?

Add to that any suggestion from me to this dd is automatically the Kiss of Death.  There actually is a friend of the family that I think would be great, but I know what would happen if I said anything.  

Edited by MaBelle
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My mom still worries about all her kids though we range from age 39 to 56.  She once said it was good as it kept her from dwelling on her own issues, LOL.

Personally, if I ever stop working full time when my kids are adults, I think I could see myself attending events / activities at our local library and rec center.

I would also hopefully do some volunteer work in the community.  I know they have a program where retirees do literacy work with school kids and adults.  I think I would really like that.

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A dog, yes, fun and distracting and very, very time consuming!

I miss knowing what is going on in their lives in the little details.  I realize that this is simply curiosity about the ones I love, but I know it is/can be intrusive.  So, I accept the little I can know  and am full of gratitude that they still ask for my advice often ... so I must not be being over-the-top nosey or they wouldn't confide enough to ask.

ETA - I think my response is more answering the 'sadness' that @Jenny in Florida was referring to.  You are further along in having adult children than I am; I thought that the having married adult children/grandchildren would eradicate the need to step-back.  I see from what you have shared that that is not necessarily the case & I hope the advice of others with more experience helps.

Edited by Familia
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Anyone else's tongue hurt today? From biting it? Let's just say, having dd move back home after the fire has been hard. The boots! The laundry! The dogs! The STUFF! I keep having to say to myself--the fire could have been SO much worse...

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Yeah I’ve thought more about the dog, and I’m not going there. We have one older dog, and when she’s gone, I highly doubt I’ll have another. As much as it seems like what I want, I think in reality, I’d regret it.

My tongue hurts every day from biting it, especially lately. I’ve definitely done better at that, although it still doesn’t stop me from worrying - just keeps my kids from having the satisfaction of getting pissy with me if I say stuff. 😜

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My 20yo daughter is married and has significant health needs. One of the biggest changes I have had to train myself on, is purposefully asking her opinion on topics regarding her health care, even if I know she has no interest in contributing on. Her husband is Air Force (in training in another state) and she is living at home right now. 

For instance, before I place her monthly order for medical supplies, I ask her if she would like to place the order herself, or if she has any changes she needs to make. Since we are always talking about her supplies, I already know what changes she needs, but I give her the chance to have a voice whenever possible. 

I also make sure to ask her husband if he has any input if I am the one talking to him about her healthcare. ie, when she had unexpected surgery last week, I called him and asked if he wanted to talk to the doctor himself or just have me relay the necessary information to him. 

I think that it has not only helped them to feel more connected to the decisions that need to be made, but also more opportunity for me to step back and see them as adults. They are gaining confidence in making decisions, but also seeing how you need to be assertive to make sure your voice is heard. She has severe allergies to very common items used in healthcare so you sometimes have to tell medical staff multiple times to make sure that they remember to not use those items on her.  

Sometimes when I see them making a different decision than I would make, I kindly ask them why they are making that decision. Sometimes their reasoning surprises me in a positive way. If I have something vital to offer, I do, but with sweetness, kindness and grace......especially if they still go with the first decision. LOL  And honestly, in the few times this has happened, their decision worked out great....so, what do I know anyways HAHA. 

 

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FYI, the way I often try to suggest counseling after separation/divorce is to say that by them going they can learn how to help their children deal with the stress of two houses, etc. 

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