Sunrise, Sunset: Managing Life Transitions as a Mom

Ok, so none of my kids are getting married. . . yet.

I’m hitting that transition stage of motherhood. My not so wee ones are 20, 17, 14, 12, 6 and 6 this year. The almost endless years of diapers and breastfeeding and babysitters and general “neediness” are done.

Some would say that would be cause for rejoicing.

And it is, sort of.

BUT, when the past 20+ years have been tied to meeting the many needs of several children, an abrupt end is unsettling.

I found myself completely unequipped for our oldest to graduation from high school, or to go away to college, or to join the military. . . because, all of a sudden, he is doing and facing things that I can be of absolutely no help with. (and don’t get me started on parents who call college professors to discuss grades!)

And that transition from dependence to independence? It totally happened in a flash.

And I know that my older kids need me–but it is a different kind of need. I am transforming from the life-manager role to the role of an encourager and trusted advisor.

I try to remind myself of how overwhelming those early years were–when I had four little boys tagging along with me everywhere, leaving a trail of mud and sticks and legos. And I am reminded of the fact that I am afforded the luxury of sleeping all night most nights.

People often refer to their lives flashing before their eyes. But as a mom, during these times of transition, I see my kids’ lives flashing before my eyes. Visions of big brothers greeting little siblings at the hospital, memories of times snuggled up reading together, worried visits to the E.R., first plays and concerts, last plays and concerts, and funny phrases they said growing up.

And then, inevitably, I tear up. I don’t cry out of sadness so much as I am filled with the intense emotions that surround my love for these children. And yes, even as adults, they will always be my children.

And so, as a mother, I navigate a new-to-me path. One that my mother and her mother before her had to navigate as well.

We’re not in this alone, Moms.

And, I am so thankful for my little “pair of sixes” who give me a chance to still coddle and nurture while the other ones slowly and purposefully pull away to test their wings. God certainly knew what he was doing when he sent us a matched set. (However, I do still fear that I may fail kindergarten!)

Chime in! How do you navigate these transitions in your motherhood career? Leave a comment and let me know, or join the conversation on my facebook page!

5 Replies to “Sunrise, Sunset: Managing Life Transitions as a Mom”

  1. I remember the shock of my boys leaving home, one for college and one for a job in another city. The college one came home quite regularly at first, then started attending summer school and never really came home except for brief visits until a divorce happened last fall. So my 37 in 2 days son is back home. It’s been nice, but I think we’re both looking forward to our privacy again! The original transition wasn’t too hard. Though I gradually realized I needed to stop giving advice unless asked for. My younger son went through some really hard times and there was nothing I could do. In fact I didn’t really know most of it till after the fact. He is now married for the 3rd time (first time was at 19 – I bit my tongue a lot then) with a baby on the way. He commented not long after he got engaged that it took him a while to find his path. This wife has been so good for him, and he for her. Now I get to be Grandma, a whole new thing! One little boy is 5 already and heading to kindergarten in the fall, just after grandson #2 will be born.

    Another thing about the empty nest – I was divorced (not my choice) when my boys were 4 and 7. So I’d been on my own raising them for years by the time they left home. So I was truly alone when they left. Those of you who are married are blessed to still have a partner, and to be able to enjoy each other in a way that’s hard when the kids are home. Remember that and be happy for your circumstances. I’ve been on my own now for 29 years, last kid left home (not counting the current temporary one) for 15 years.

  2. I was pondering this last night. One of my boys got sick yesterday and I was amazed that I really didn’t have to do anything. He ran to to the trash can and oldest ran to assist him if he needed help. Then he went to the bathroom and cleaned himself up. He didn’t get sick again, but he took his temperature and reported to me a couple of times. He fell asleep downstairs so hubby carried him up to his bed. He went to bed early and woke up feeling better. The only thing I had to do was wash one more set of clothes-which he put in the laundry room.
    Oh how different this was than even just a few years ago, when one of them was sick! My role as mother is changing with boys ages 12, almost 8, and almost 10.

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