Tuesday, May 26, 2009

THE PATH TO THE EMPTY NEST

Two days ago Abby graduated from high school. My youngest child. The baby. The caboose. It was a bittersweet ceremony and celebration, with the underlying theme that four years ago these young ladies entered school as girls and they were now leaving as women They have been educated and empowered to make their way into the world. And in my mind, "at least they think they are."

Things have been tense in my home lately. Well, not just lately, we are by no means the Brady Bunch. Not even the Kardashian's for that matter. But I won't get into that, we all have dirty laundry but I prefer to keep mine in the basement where it belongs. Graduating from high school with ever changing thoughts and emotions about college, leaving home, the beginning of an new life as it were, has turned my sweet (?) daughter into this "woman" that I can barely recognize, much less tolerate anymore. And in consideration of these major upcoming events in her life, I have been sympathetic and kind to her, ignoring her outbursts, her rudeness and her general attitude that I know nothing, that I am no more than maid, money machine and most times, a monster. My other children say, "Why do you let her treat you that way?" And I reply, "She's stressed out, that's all." To which they say, "You always let her get away with this!" To which I reply, "I always let all of you get away with that!"

So all of this has really got me thinking and pondering this constant weight of guilt and feelings of inadequacy. I think back to when all of my children were younger and their dependency on me was innate. I was the one who felt empowered. Feeling needed and fulfilling the needs of my family did a multitude of good for my self image. And then they got older. Smarter. More capable. Yet I continued to take on their needs. I needed to continue to nurture that self image I had. Well, the self image isn't so hot anymore! I feel used, used up, beat down. Confused. In Abigail's case, one minute she is an "adult," who needs no advice, input or opinions from me, and the next she is whining that I won't make her hair appointments or go to her graduation practice with her. Lately I have just been the "bad mom," and crazy as it sounds, I often wonder if I am. And yet, I still wonder what will I do when they are gone?. Now that is crazy.

Which brings me to this. The other day I was sitting in the waiting room of my doctor's office reading a magazine called WebMD. I came across an article that resonated so much with me that I stuck the magazine in my purse. Okay, it was free. The article was written by Rebecca Adams, PhD, associate professor of family studies in the Department of Family and Consumer Services at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. The following is a portion of that piece.

"Working mothers and stay~at~home mothers have one thing in common: guilt. Traditional mothers may feel like, since they're home, they have to be supermoms," says Adams. "so they try to be perfect, overcompensating and taking on every one's needs while ignoring their own. And some of these moms inadvertently encourage dependence over independence because satisfying their family member's every need makes them feel needed. Conversely, working moms sometimes rush home, feeling guilty for missing out on so much and don't set limits, thus setting themselves up to be used. Neither approach is healthy for anyone."


I have been both a stay~at~home mom and a working mom and as much as I would like to say that I was happy and fulfilled in both roles, I can't. At work I stressed out about what was going on at home, and at home I stressed about work. Neither was an ideal situation. After a long day at the office, I came home to meals and laundry and scrubbing out the tub. Sunday was never a day of rest. When I was in the stay~at~home role, I felt I was living my children's lives, not my own. If I were a teenager, I could have used the ultimate put down towards them, "It's all about you!".

Adams says, "So often once children come, both men and women slip back into traditional roles. Women need to say 'Yes, I'm staying home, but my expectation is that we are both involved' Even if familial roles have come to feel cemented, the first step is acknowledging things are out of balance and specifically setting out to make a change."

Which leads me drag The Husband into the mix. Let me first say that he is an extraordinary father. Let me say that he is a wonderful husband (look at all the dishes he has bought me). But when Dr. Adams uses the term "cemented," The Husband's way of thinking comes to mind. He has very specific ideas of what my role is and I have very specific disagreements with his ideas. However, I have had a long term battle with being defensive. By now I should be sure of myself. I should be a confident, centered "together" person. But I'm not. In spite of how sure I am about my role in this family, I manage to ramble on in my own defense of that knowledge until he has long left the room. Been there? Humbling experience.

"Even if you have been married 10 years," Adams says, "it's never too late to start talking. Explain to your spouse why you need to say 'no' sometimes, why you need more time to yourself or simply can't take on a specific chore or responsibility...and tell your kids that mom can't be on call 24/7."

But there is a flip side to all of this. I won't be on call 24/7 forever. In a few short months I will be living in the proverbial "empty nest". And it won't be particularly the loss of my children, I think, than it is who I was with them. The flight my children are now taking is supposed to liberate me and yet I feel I am being demoted from a professional job. Will I feel lost, lonely, old, irrelevant? Or will I be capable, rested, focused and occasionally even well groomed? And how will my relationship with The Husband be? Will I start making all the vegetables that my children refused to eat at dinner? Will I skulk out of my comfy bed at 8:00 at night where I usually am, curled up with a good book and a stack on my nightstand, to spend the evening in the same room with him even if it is to watch National Geographic on television?

So these are my days. I want to sit out under a tree, magazine and iced tea in hand, watching my flowers in the garden wave in the warm breeze. But I can only imagine these flowers fading and the leaves changing colors, first vivid reds and yellows, then turning brown and brittle, only to fall away. Could this be my rebirth perhaps? The first bold snap of cold reddening my cheeks. The first white snowflake caught on my warm tongue. Will I be wrapping Abigail up in my arms as tight as I can while she drops her laundry bag at the door and squirms? I think I know this as well as i know that soon these rooms will be empty, full of ghosts of my very best self. Because Mom is my real name.

xoxo
Jane

53 comments:

Domestic Designer said...

WOW! What a post. I know exactly how you feel. My youngest left the nest one year ago. I was scared about my new "role". I have adjusted and actually feel liberated in a way. Of course I love for my children to come home and I love to pamper them when they do, but I also love the opportunities that I can pursue without quilt. My husband and I have the ability to do some fun things together that have long been put on the back burner. I have actually taken up golf, we both bought bicycles, new gardens are planted and rooms are completed that had long been a dream. Look forward to your new found freedom. You are beginning a "new journey" along with your daughter. I know you will choose the right road! :-) God Bless! DD

"Blossom" said...

It was rough when my last daughter left home for college. She always had such a special bond with my husband her father. I had a close bond with her older sister so it was harder on me when the oldest left. You do grow apart when they are gone. My husband would move them all back home their husbands and grandkids to boot. I love them all dearly but I too get abuse from my oldest. She can say anything to me and feel that it's ok and I finally realize why; she can say it to me because I would never deny her anything she is so much like me but I never disrespected my mother. She tells me only you would let me do this. Over the years now that she has her children she has changed; she will not and does not let her children disrespect her at all. I think she learned her lesson at my expense. I am very close to my husband and he is a wonderful man but it does take adjustment. We have always done everthing together
and I always put him first. I have periods in my life that I take time to think about be and I don't feel guilty anymore. I still work a full time job at our two businesses and my wedding business on the week-ends. I know things change and I am going thru another change now. I lotst my mother whom I loved dearly and things seem different with me now.
Just another adjustment in my life.
The one thing I did thru married life is let most of my goods friends kind of vanish. I will need them someday and have needed them at times. I think about the ones that I still cherish today. One piece of advise don't let your friends get to distant from you I do regret that. Take some time for yourself and do some things that you've always wanted to do.

Dana and Daisy said...

First of all, I really appreciate this very honest and revealing post. Wow! What courage to put it out there for us all to see. You have made yourself vulnerable which I think is another thing moms do so often with their children.

And secondly, of course your experience is so different from my own as a step mother to teenagers. Yes, it's true, I am counting the days until they are all gone and already planning what to do with their rooms. But I hear your heart, and I can relate to it with compassion.

And thirdly, just to brighten your day I recall Garrison Keillor once said that God made children to grow into teenagers with all their rebellion and selfishness and other unpleasant attributes as a matter of natural course. Otherwise, they would be loveable and endearing and us parents would never want them to leave home.

So, yes, you will slowly begin to realize ah! you could serve beats for dinner or whatever. And you and hubby can run naked through the house if you want (assuming you don't now) and it will be so nice to have her come home and visit, but go away again. And then eventually, (and hopefully not as soon as for us) you will get the ultimate reward for your wonderful if not imperfect parenting, and that will be grandbabies!

Sharing with Sherri said...

I have to agree with the Domestic Designer. It's time to enjoy your new freedom!! I'm still waiting for mine! My son is going to be 24next month and still hasn't moved out. Now that was never in my plan!
Well, nothing else he did to mess up his life was in my plan either!

So be thankful, that yours are doing well and WANT to spread their wings and fly! It could be worse!

Hang in there!!
Sherri:)

Lou Cinda said...

This has so been my struggle too! I still have a 16 year old at home and there are days when it is not pretty! I told him this morning that it was time for some SERIOUS growing up and maturing!! When my oldest left, I felt so LOST!! And then when he didn't come home on weekends for awhile, I told my husband that when the college life got a little boring, he would be back...and he was. He comes home on weekends and for the summer...but I have always known that I would struggle...always.

The working mom was me, guilt!! I have let them "slide" waaaay too much! I don't know if I have done them any favors by doing that, but you have raised self sufficient educated children and that in and of itself is QUITE an accomplishment! Your last one I feel is in the in between mode ~ grown up ~ just not all the way ~ She will get there.

Give yourself time, and take it one step at a time....you will find your way! And I am right behind you searching for mine!

Lou Cinda :)

Cindy said...

Hi Janie,
My heart really feels for you right now. What an incredible post and so very honest and heartfelt. My daughter Katie graduated last year and just recently moved home after being out for a year. She was such an snot and so disrespectful at times and yet I love her so much. You and I sound so much alike, I have always done too much for this child. She is better now, one year later but still can drive me crazy!! Empty nesting is hard and adjusting takes time, but it actually gets kind of nice. Hubby and I can actually have peaceful nights and you do learn a new way of doing. I kind of look forward to her moving out again. Yikes! A year can make a difference, you'll see. Last year at this time I cried and cried all the time. Hugs to you, Cindy

Lori E said...

Why do we beat ourselves up no matter which path we take while raising our kids?

My 26 year old has left and come back a few times. I had finally told him it was enough and he had to make the choices to take care of himself and stay out. A few months later his dad let him come back and he stayed almost a year while saving money to buy a townhome. He has now finally been gone a year.

My 22 year old is still home and he is starting a new job as we speak but is not anywhere near where he needs to be to take care of himself.

And me? I was a stay at home mom but I didn't dote on my kids completely. They both were doing their own laundry in elementary school, they had to make their own breakfasts and lunches. They had a few chores.

I love it when the house is empty. I want things left the way I left them, I don't want to argue with anyone about how and why I want things a certain way. I don't even want to take care of a pet any more. Our dog is 12 and that will be it when she is gone.
I like myself and my friends and I don't feel lonely when my kids are not around. I do miss my husband when he isn't here, which has been a lot lately because of work.

What I don't like is how your children look at you as if you are a total idiot when you say something. I am very smart and have a lot of common sense but they for whatever reason have no respect for my opinions or thoughts. It is so all about them I can't stand it.

I have always be the Hard Ass in our family and their dad has been the one who takes us on fun vacations and dinners. He had the fun boy toys etc and I was the one nagging about the homework, mess and other crap. That kinda came to a head one day as I was forcing the dog to take some medication and my dear hubby started saying "oh she is so mean, I'll give you a treat when she's done" That was sort of the catalyst for me snapping back about how he got the easy job of being the fun parent and I was the nasty one. Truth was I took it all on myself so that when he came home tired and frustrated from work he didn't have more crap loaded on his plate. Trouble is no one takes it off our plates for us. We just have to eat it and eat it until we explode.

Boy you really know how to get a rant going out of us don't you.

All in all I think some of the concern is that you will be the only one on this new journey. Will your husband see it as a new beginning for both of you too? The kids are no longer going to be a buffer between you and the relationship will have to be reevaluated by you both.

One more point in my wordy comment.
Just remember that just because you don't agree on something doesn't mean either one of you is wrong...you just don't agree.
Wow. Keep us posted.

April said...

That was so beautifully written, Janie! You really got to my heart today! With Brittany now a senior, I often think what this next year will be like. I have already shed many tears at the very thought of her leaving home. Being a stay-at-home mom is all I've really known for the past 17 years and I realize major changes are headed my way. This letting go process is one of the hardest things I've ever had to face.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

This was so very well said! I'm sure it will resonate with many women, incuding me (and I'm long past the empty nest stage). You could have written this post about me and my feelings. I vividly recall how quickly my empty nest feeling went away. It was the first time our daughter called home to request more money!! It was as if nothing had changed, except that her bed was made up! Now, I am babysitting grandchildren. I now realize that, as long as we are their parents, we REALLY don't have a completely empty nest (though our nest is often quieter than it used to be). My father died when I was a Sr. in High School, and my mother as in the middle of caring for her aging mother almost full time. I'll never forget my mother saying that she never expected that my daddy would die before my grandmother and if she had known that, she would have made more time for the 2of them to do things together. Sorry to have written you a book, but your post struck a chord with me, and I just wanted to let you know that, an empty nest can be a little liberating, but it is truly never completly empty! laurie

Lisa said...

I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, my sweet friend!

The Princess is almost 15 and although she has her moments she's pretty good (at least for the most part).

I can somewhat relate to your frustration though - hubby doesn't want me to call and schedule his doctor's appointment, but somehow it's my responsibility to call and make his hair cut appt!

We can't win, no matter what :)

mbkatc230 said...

Janie, what an incredible post. I read it several hours ago and have been really thinking about how to respond. It is very scary when they leave the nest. We were blessed with only 1 child, and when she left I really felt like my "life" was ending. My life as I knew it was ending, but a different life was just beginning. It just took me awhile to see it! I was a working Mom, but had the best of both worlds as I was able to schedule myself to be home in the afternoon when Cait got out of school. (And I didn't have to deal with waking her up in the AM - lucky dad lol) I was always extremely involved in her school and band activities, and for that I will always be grateful. It also opened some new areas of interest for me on the school board level, etc. which helped keep me occupied - the first year was really, really rough. I'm lucky that we never really had an adversarial relationship, so she called and came home ALOT. Now she "pops" in when she can (but she still calls every day, usually when she's bored or needs money lol) This will be the first summer that she will be staying at school rather than coming home. So that's going to be another adjustment - no big family vacation for the first time in 16 years! As far as our marital relationship, we really have grown closer. We have both always had hobbies in common, as well as outside interests that we pursue individually. It's easier for us to schedule time together now that we don't have as many commitments for Cait. And no matter how wonderfully "leave it to beaver" a family is, there always seems to be an underlying tension when it comes to daddys/daughters/boyfriends/curfews, etc. Now that's she's away at school, he is much more relaxed when she's home, I don't know how to explain it, but it works for me! As far as the disrespect/attitude, perhaps she is just as worried/insecure about leaving as you are - this may be her way of "distancing" herself to make leaving easier. Hope this helps some. Thanks for the honest and open post, hope that you will let us to continue to share your journey. Big cyber hugs, Kathy

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Janie, you are a wonderful mother and wife, and your name will always be MOM. Always. And you have your children's hearts to carry with you down the paths of your life. They might not be under the same roof, but they are close at heart. I read once that children go through that horrible phase so that you can let go of them willingly. But your baby is still your baby. Being the baby of the family, I truly understand that thought.

I will never forget my mother saying to me when I moved to Florida for grad school how strange it felt to her because it was going to be forever. I told her I was only going to school, and she said, "This time, it's different." And it was, but it never diminished how much I loved her.

This was a beautiful soul-searing, thought-provoking post, and I want you to know that you are loved by many... not just your family. I'm in your fan club, now and before and always!

XO,

Sheila :-)

Lynn said...

You have such a way with words and an exquisite honesty, and for that you get an award. I have been visiting you every day.
I can relate.
See my blog for the award.

Mary said...

As I tell everyone, being a parent IS the most difficult job in the world! Later, you will get to share in the joy of being a grandparent perhaps, then you will understand why you are going through these really hard years with your offspring!

Jane, don't beat on yourself dear, you and your husband sound like exceptionl parents. Now you must enjoy this new freedom, which you so deserve, while your 'baby' finds her wings. I'm sure you've taught her well.

Enjoy the day.
Warm hugs - Mary.

xinex said...

I love your post, Janie. it belongs in Good Housekeeping magazine. It's reality. Don't feel bad about yourself because everybody goes through that. You will realize soon that Abigail will be so close to you after she leaves to be on her own. She will miss all your caring and nurturing. Meantime, just enjoy your independence and make the most of it. You might feel lost and empty for a while but you will soon realize that it is really fun and relaxing. And you can take more vacations now. John and I are still waiting for you to visit us. Take care, my friend.....Christine

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

((hugs)) Great post and I think it's something many of us feel. While I have college kids and grade school kids, I'm stuck in between.

Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

Wow!! Jane,
what an incredible post!!What I am about to say might sound cliche, but trust me it is true"" This too shall pass." I am an empty nester and I understand all that you are saying, you will adjust and your new beginnings you will enjoy so much, after a while you might become a little selfish of your me time. LOL. The voice of experience speaking here.LOL You might find there is more money to buy that real nice pair of shoes that you could not have before. LOL
Thinking of you.
Sue

linda said...

I could not agree with Domestic Designer more...she said it all perfectly.

My youngest left home for college 2years ago and I cried and cried and cried...but time helps. Now, while I love my children to come visit, our lives have changed here at home and we're liking the empty nest. Oh sure, I do miss the activity of having the kids and their friends around, but this new journey isn't all bad either. To combat the loniness, I've become more involved in other things...I've got the time now.

Good luck to you. A few of us have been there already, so if you ever need to talk, feel free to e-mail me anytime. Yes, your life is changing, but give it time.

Lynn said...

I wanted to return to your great post when I had a little time. I'll let you in on a little secret. You still have your Mom Job for apparently the rest of your life!
BUT you get a little time off for yourself. It's an odd feeling to not have those niggling little daily responsibility.
But let me tell you, you are not done.
We had both of ours tucked into their lovely marriages. Our daughter had two grands for us. Then BAM she got a divorce, and BAM our son's wife died at 34 of a heart attack. (Do I sound like that cooker guy, Emeril?) And Oh! how they needed us!
They are both remarried. And life goes on. See?
So grab your Me Moments when you can and enjoy them. You've earned it, Girl.

Now what did I do with that goldfish I was going to decoupage...

Smilingsal said...

I imagine that you'll have some lonely days and some wonderfully relaxing days. Life is ever changing and it's an adjustment. Determine to make it a fun time of your life.

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

WOW! You did a great job writing this post. I think most women feel confused about their roles. I started out as a stay at home mom. I went to work for a few years. I was never happy working full-time. I love being at home. Part-time is the solution for me. My daughter has been grown for a long-time. I think she suffers for the same reasons. Right now she works full-time. Her kids are in school. I really think she'll end up going back to part-time.
I love spending time with my hubby. But, not while he's watching tv. We do not have the same taste in programs.
Oh, don't ever try to do every thing right by your kids. Do what your think is best. Try to come to a common agreement if possible. Remember, they do know how to push our buttons. If we let them.
I bet you're a wonderful mom.
Hugs, Terrie

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

What a powerful post. And you KNOW that I do relate to some of what you are going through, though my nest isnt empty, as I still have two left at home. I do think it is a positive way of look ing it at, a rebirth, because everything in life is. Everything is a circle, and a learning lesson a new discovery, a new time and day. Make the most of it. Soon enough one day, you will be hosting another rebirth, grandchildren. I smile, because I celebrate those moments for you. Cheers. To life and wherever it may take you my friend. Thanks for this post, I needed it too. Hugs.

mythoughtsmyvoice said...

I don't have a family nor a child of my own just yet. But I can just imagine the days when I was young and thought that I'm already old . . . old enough and just brushing off what Mama may have just said that time. Shame on me. But children to come to such a phase, right?

I cannot imagine what you must be feeling right now. But I guess, when it comes to change (and seeing this as a change), I can say that I am not so much the easily-embracing one.

Oh I know, when you have adjusted, you'll realize that this is just, yet again, another chapter of the book. And as any other book, when you do want to get through and continue reading the story, well, you just have to turn that page.
One day, that time will come.

You may see things so empty and realize the flowers don't have it's bright colors anymore.. . but these flowers share seeds. Seeds that will one day, grow into another bright, and beautiful flowers. :-)

Li

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Ok, how did you get into my head and write a post? :)
My daughter is 20 and still living at home. She keeps making the same mistakes over and over while I bang my head in frustration as I "fix things". She'll be moving out soon and I think it will be a good thing for both of us.
While I still will have sweet boy at home he is not as high maintenance as his sister. I am signed up to take an extra college class, etc. to fill up the space.
We'll see how it goes. :)

Barb~Bella Vista said...

Hi Janie, your post is so heartfelt. I don't have children so I cannot relate to you on this matter but.....on the matter of taking on other's needs and putting yourself on the back burner...I can!

I did this for years and years of my life and finally reached a burnout period which lasted almost five years! I will never do that again. I love to help others but I also now consider my own needs. Balance....life is about balance.

Sending you good thoughts and big hugs today, Barb

Florida Sue said...

Jane this is a wonderfully insightful post. I went through a terrible time when my youngest left home and my career had abruptly ended all around the same time. I really had to go through a period of grieving. Yes all the signs of an emotional reaction to a profound loss were there. It passed, I just had to go throw the stages. Even though they are now all adults with children of their own, I still feel like I need to take care of them and the sibling rivalry never really ends. I don't care if it is the Brady Bunch, some things just don't ever change.

That said, in time you will find yourself again. In fact you will probably be surprised at the new woman that you find. If you want to curl up with a book while your husband watches TV in another room, so what? My husband and I worked this out. He likes sports, I don't. We love each other dearly but we don't have to be side by side every minute of every evening.
We are two different people, and we are quite comfortable with it. I don't cook dinner every night. Heck sometimes we even eat in different rooms if we are each doing different things. After almost 38 years together, we put these issues on the table and have come to the agreement that we are perfectly normal, and if anything it makes us stronger to not be joined at the hip.

Guilt and inadequacy? Never mind. This too shall pass.

Ms. Tee said...

Wow, Janie, what an incredible, beautiful post. I don't have much advice, either, at this point, but I just read another blog with this same sort of situation. She has already had several leave the nest, and she said that the anticipation was always the worst, and that after that, everything was ok. I know that probably doesn't help much, but maybe gives a teeny bit of hope. :) What a good mom it sounds like you've been over the years. Thank you for sharing this - it'll be me in about 4 years. :) {{hugs}}}

Stacey said...

Jane, I think you just described so perfectly the way many of us feel. I have also worked outside and at home. I prefer not working outside of the home because I just can't be everything to everyone. I have a 17 year old son and a 19 year old son. The 17 year old officially became a senior today! He's hateful sometimes and other times he calls me Mommy.

I do think this next stage is an adventure. Time to reconnect with the husband that I still adore after 21 years. What is next for me I'm not sure of. It is daunting sometimes to consider. I'm pretty sure it will be grand whatever it is!!

Melissa Miller said...

Congrats to Abby!

Have a blessed week Jane.
~Warmly, Melissa :)

Melissa Miller said...

Too funny Jane! :)

I was leaving you a comment at the exact same time you were leaving me one.

I saw you were visiting a few FYRED psots and I wondered how you were doing. I do hope your daughter does very well.

Thanks for your kind words on our home. I always appreciate it.

Miss Nancy at "Southern Lady" has an ETSY tassel shop.
Also "The Tassel Shop" and "Nesting Place".
Right now I believe Miss Nancy is on vacation and "The Tassel Shop" is as well until June 1st. I think the "Nester" ("Nesting Place") may be open for sales on her blog with her ESTY tassels.
Also "Jo" at "Bees and Fleur-di-lis" has an ETSY tassel shop.
Most of them are on my blogroll if you haven't met them yet. They seem to be popular in the blog world and on ETSY don't they? LOL!
I do love tassels as well!

We ate the jello tonight.
Yummy. ~Happy FYRED Day!
~Melissa :)

Lynn said...

Oh Yeah, I'm familiar with Ilene's work!
Didn't she also write
Down From the Eiffel Tower?

santamaker said...

Janie,
You are a brilliant writer, first of all!
Secondly, I hear ya sistah! I am in my 2nd year of empty nesting.
I'll tell ya a little secret, I love my girls, but after they visit and go back to their lives, I feel so relaxed and content to have my little world to my self. It hasn't always been like that, however. My first 4 or 5 months were pretty sloppy ,with tear stains every where. You'll come to enjoy the serenity of it and since you are such a marvelous writer, I'm sure that you'll be able to work on some stories or articles for publishing.
It's funny, when my oldest was a senior, she was horrible. Exactly as you mentioned your Abigail ... what I learned was that this behavior is often seen in kids about to leave the nest in order w to make the separation less painful.... and it worked! I couldn't wait to see her go and she couldn't wait to leave and we were both quite happy! LOL....

Dawn said...

You realy struck a chord with that post. I just dropped by to tell you I've never staked my hollyhocks and now my head is spinning. My children both have special needs and at least one, maybe both will be at home far into adulthood. I am trying to help them find their independence but I have to let them be who they are as well. I suppose its really that way with all children. For now I am content knowing that each season of our lives has something beautifull to offer.

Enough waxing poetically, hubby jsut called from Best Buy and wanted to know which credit card he could put a flat screen on! What is it with men and big TVs?
Dawn

Terry said...

Hi
Look forward ,move forward let life in .
Live your life for the moment!
Throw open the dark heavy drapes of Mothering and take a breath of fresh air ,than be ready because they always return to Mom .
Mom always has the answers to lifes many questions and grown up problems.
Mom always lets her children come back into her life .
Enjoy the thought of an empty nest but be prepared for always being a devoted ,loving ,involved Mom :)
May God bless you and fill your life with ceaseless joy .
All my best to you .
If you need an ear to vent I'm here 24 /7 /365 Okay :)
Hugs !!!!!

Chandy said...

I like this post, but I have to admit, I don't quite agree with the PhD's view on stay at home moms. Though it does happen, most stay at home moms chose to stay and therefore created their own steep learning curves which can be construed as trying to be perfect or overcompensating, not that it is so. I was also a working mom so her comment on that is moot. I hope she realized that guilt is a fixed part of rearing a child whether a mother is always present or through her phone. I hated leaving my daughter for 12 hours half a week for 4 years, but I've learned that my time with her is precious and I made the best of each minute. Now that I stay home, I still make time. Working or staying home, it's where the mother's heart is, while rearing, that ultimately makes the difference.

Congrats on being a mom to another college bound! Enjoy your newly earned free time and independence again. It is their time to find their path and find the right combination of pain and happiness to create their own nests someday. Mine is taking off next year, my oldest and I can see the fear and sadness building up. Great post!

Have a great weekend...

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Janie, this is an amazing, soul-baring essay.

I do not have children so I can't pretend to know what you're going through. But I am a daughter and when I look back at myself in my younger years...hoo boy, howdy. :-) We certainly have a way of putting our parents through a lot, huh? :-) It's funny...I've recently considered walking away from my job (in this crazy economy I'm willing to walk away! Crazy, I know...) and struggle with how I'll feel about being a homemaker while I gear up for a new career. I don't want to have to "depend" on anyone (yet I'm happiest when others depend on me...). I think a lot of our guilt comes from being women...most of us (older and younger) are not yet of an age where we were raised to be truly empowered so it's hard to speak our minds, follow our dreams, stand up for ourselves, express our emotions, etc., etc. And I think that is probably part of what you struggle with.

I can hear in your "voice" how tough things are for you right now, but take it from someone who's been on the other side (by being a royal pain in the arse to my parents :-) that everything will work out. Just be strong and be you and the pieces will come together.

Much love from the shore house,
Laura

Helen said...

YOU have written the definitive essay on being a mother ... with all of its highs and lows!

In one way or another each of us has experienced some of what you describe. Hang in there BUT I must share that it doesn't end with your offspring ... grandchildren and their attendant issues will factor into your life as well! Hang on, it will be a wild and wonderful ride.

AND, you are always welcome to visit me in Central Oregon!!!

Laura said...

Thank you for keeping it honest and real in this world that makes us feel like we can't.

I have 3 adult daughters who are out of the nest and- at first- I didn't think I could stand it.

lean closer...I have a secret... ssshh...

YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT!

Laura

xinex said...

Hi Janie, AJ would be so excited if she knew the girl who sang in Little Mermaid. She really has a wonderful sweet voice. You know in one of our cruises, AJ sang one of the Little Mermaid songs in the Talent Show. We were so surprised she did it cause she is usually very shy and she did a good job too! I got her parents convinced to send her to spend some time here in the summer, so far they agreed to 2 weeks but I am still begging for more. LOL! We can't wait....Christine

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

First let me say your post is something a few might want to print out and keep..to remind them that they are NOT alone.
Second..I had seven. They were all 13 to 14 months apart. I went through it all..and emerged out the other side in tact. My name is still Mom..AND Grandma and most importantly it is still Mona.
Your day of watching the grass grow and the flowers bloom is closer than you think..and if you are anything at all like me...the quiet will be something that will be nice. Then the dreams will come.. and you will awake crying ..sometimes...
Enjoy, Jane, while you can...this is a time you won't recapture..and might not want to as MORE is to come your way!
~smiles, love and hugs~
Mona

Amongst The Oaks said...

Oh Jane, you have expressed so well what we all ponder at this time in our lives. I have always tried to raise my kids to be independant, but LORDY! they still jump on me the minute I come home often before I've even come in the door! I love them dearly, but I'm really looking forward to some quiet introspection after they leave.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Janie, I'm thinking of you and hoping all is well. Missing you on Pink Saturday. Hope you're out somewhere having fun and finding lots and lots of shiny objects!

XO,

Sheila :-)

Fifi Flowers said...

I LOVE that photo... we never know where that road will take us!

Katherinellen said...

Jane,
First of all...thanks for stopping by, sweet comment,support and prayers. Got my computer up nad going....I know what you mean....What a great post....My baby left us "empty nest" going on 4 years. When she got married..It was quiet. I had to get use to it...Yes you will do a lots of changes especially good changes. You will be able to do things for YOU! It will be better....My prayers will be with you...Have a wonderful week....Smiles and Hugs..Katherinellen

Katherinellen said...

Jane,
I forgot to tell ya that what I mean better is....She will be back and give you respects. My daughter realize who was doing everything for her. She give me so much more respect. I know I gave her so much that maybe I did too much. But that what we are here for...Love them and spoil them. When they go on their own...they will realize that they have responsabilty that the Mom and Dad had for them. You and your husband will have so much time with each other. It's great! :) Katherinellen

Happy To Be said...

GM My friend...what a post you did...Now girl I have been an empty nester since I was 39 and I will tell you I have loved every year of it...I had 3 daughters so know what you are going through but they will grow up and move on...and i will tell you the day will come when they all will say thanks Mom...then you will look at them and feel so proud in your heart that you had alot to do with making the great adult that stands before you at that time...Girl I am in to Graet grand kids now so I have been around a few times with daughters and grand daughters...just hang in there it's does get better my friend...May you have a blessed day my friend...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Thank you for finding my blogs, and commenting, and thus allowing me to find you! Yes, I already commented on your last post. But wondered if you get notice of new comments, in your e-mail...? So wondered if you'd find that I had come by and commented...? So I came and read this entry. And am commenting here, as well.

You have written way too much for me to do justice to, in one comment, now. But I did _have_ to say again, Thank you! for finding me. And thus, for me finding you. I feel we have much to talk of, in the future.

Mmmm, and why not start right out, with what I usually wait to say? Do you write old fashioned letters? Snail-mail as they say. You sound like a marvelous correspondent, in the old fashioned way of writing letters... As well as a lovely blogger. So, I didn't wait. I asked, right up front. :-)

And if this sounds interesting to you, you can write me an e-mail, when you have time. {My e-mail addy is on my 'Aunt Amelia's blog Sidebar}

Oh and... You have made the first step, to your new life... By allowing yourself, to ponder these questions. In my humble opinion, and experience, the very first and maybe the most important step, to change, is to allow ourselves the right, to ponder it. :-)

You will work it out. You will work it all out, for the best for you. This is my wish, for you.

Courage!

Gentle hugs,
'Aunt Amelia'

Charlene said...

A very sweet well written, well thought out post! Let me assure you that you are NOT ALONE! I have been there & come through. I LOKE IT BETTER NOW! I love my kids but, I love my life now more! I see them & the Grands often. Now, I have new hobbies, new friends & DH & I have so much fun. It is almost like we are dating again. A glass of wine to sit & visit before dinner. A trip here & there. I dressing up to go to dinner Just Because I want to... I have a new & much better relationship with DH (no that did not come automaticly... you must as you say, communicate & express your wants,needs & feelings) & stand firm on the kids... you are not in charge of her laundry! She wants to be treated as an adult... she gets to act like an adult & take care of her own things. Her visits home should be about wanting to see you & her Dad & her friends at home. To take a break from studies at school. Teaching her to value you as the adult, wonderful mother (not maid) you are is really about teaching her what she needs to know for herself later. She might not like this new healthier, stronger, not participating in "old' pattern Mom but, it is best for BOTH of you. And you can create new ways to spoil, pamper, & have fun with her when she comes home. So stand up for your new self that you will create! YOU EARNED IT! YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!! They will grow up & create their own lives & that is normal & healthy. Create your own! That is normal & healthy. HUGS for this challenging & exciting time. Know you have friends here in blogland rooting for you. Sorry to be so long winded. I just wanted to say hooray for my friend.





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DeAnna said...

Ahhh, the pain of it all. I know that pain well. Mine have not officially flown the coop, but ther was a brief intermission with one gone and the other nearly gone all the time. It is not just the empty nest - becuase once they are their own people, theyreally don't NEED us anymore. I posted my pain in March; http://coffeeonthetable.blogspot.com/2009/03/i-should-have-bought-extended-warranty.html and I think it helped. What I figured out is that my hubby still NEEDS me and afterall that is how this family began, right? warm thought, and I love your blog.

Kathy said...

Thanks for dropping by Blondie...and saying such nice things... I had to laugh as I read your "Empty Nest" joutnal, excellent ny the way! I've been in that boat for a FEW years and can honestly say...The empty part is very sporatic!!! I also Have raised two girls and two boys, all married and now blessed with 10 Grands! They always come home! We watch the Grands quite a bit and our lives seem to have kicked up a notch since the kids left home. We are always going somewhere, a game or birthday party, whatever! There are days we look at each other and realize nothing is going on and we smile!!!! I've never been one to understand the meaning of BORED... Too many things I want to accomplish and way to little time to do it in,Ha! We have children in Glen Arbor and all over the greater Grand Rapids area, which keeps us on the road. Being in Cadillac is right about in the middle which is nice. Well, now that I've jawed your leg off, lol have a great day and you'll love the empty nest time,,,IT ROCKS!!!
xoxo~Kathy@ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

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