Flying the Nest – Goodbye Children…

Nobody told me that the hard part about parenting is when they are 18 and move out.

It’s so hard.

You no longer make any of their decisions for them.  Even though the last 18 years you were making all of them.

Worse than the fact that they don’t need you, you feel forgotten about.  Did I matter?  I gave my life to raising these children and making sure they had everything the last 18 years.  Do they remember?

They seem to not have any attachment to you and aren’t sad at all that they don’t see you every day.  In fact, it’s hard to convince them to carve any time out to visit with you and even if they do, it’s seems like it only happens when you’re buying them something or shelling out money for an expensive meal or entertainment.  And I was close with my kids.  We always had a good relationship.  I can’t imagine if there was a rocky relationship to start with.

It hurts.  It’s lonely.

There is a huge adjustment period for the parents, yet we weren’t given time or warning that things were going to change so drastically and so quickly.

We used to talk every day.  In fact the kids always would fight to come into bed with me and have one-on-one time at the end of the day.  Taking turns and booting each other out.

Now weeks go by and if I didn’t text or call, I don’t know when I would hear from my girls next.

I’m told this is how I know I did my job.  They are confident and independent and ready to fly.  But why did it have to go so fast?

Anyone else out there experience this?

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My baby is turning 18

I wonder if most parents start to feel anxiety when their child is about to turn 18. I’m not talking empty nest, because I still have three more daughters that will be home. She is moving out this summer after she graduates and turns 18 in just 20 days!

I certainly have been feeling the pressure and scariness. It’s not magical, my kid won’t be “grown-up” just because she turns 18 but it is a milestone. I can’t help but think of all of the things I still haven’t taught her yet and the areas that I have failed. Isn’t that always the way? You think of the failures and not of everything you might have taught your child, all the positives.

I worry that she really doesn’t know how to cook. Maybe a couple things at the most. She doesn’t know anything about finances or managing money and budgeting. I worry she will be shocked in the real world and feel lost. Or will be excited by it and get involved with bad things or people. She just learned how to do her laundry last year. I didn’t mind doing it, but then I realized I was hurting her more than helping her. She will need to know how to clean and organize a home and keep it running. Make a grocery list, make a doctor’s appointment, order prescriptions online, learn to drive a car…want to drive a car. How to read a map, how to take public transportation, how much to tip and when. Aghhh, the list is endless.

But, she does know about stranger danger, bad touches, you can always speak up – even if it is to challenge an adult in a respectful way, do the right thing, having a good work ethic, compassion and caring towards other, loving everyone and trying not to judge others, all of the sneaky things boys say to try to get in girls’ pants, she knows everything I know about sex and probably more, she knows about preventing pregnancy and guarding her heart from heartbreak and not jumping into any serious relationships. She knows what she should look for in a partner and hopefully I have been a good enough example of how to treat her significant other with love and respect.

Instead of being anxious about all of the things I need to do with her and teach her I have decided to start doing them with her and talk to her about them and take it day by day. After all she’s not falling off the face of the earth just because she turns 18 and I’m not going anywhere either.

Still so much to teach her. 18 years just truly is not enough time. Like all of us parents, I have to trust that I am continuing to do my best to teach and guide my children.  It is helps to just give my self a break sometimes and take it one step at a time.

Yes, I Ticketed my Teen for Not Listening!

I would like to think that this is part of the crafty side of this blog. Of course, maybe that’s up for debate. However, disciplining or reminding teens to do things does require a bit of creativity if I’m not going to continually yell at them or give up and do something myself instead of making them follow through.

I was pretty creative when they were little and I had a family store where the kids could buy little trinkets or privileges with family money (fake $) that they earned for good behavior or chores. As they’ve gotten older they haven’t really responded to the family money because they want the real stuff.

I find myself getting stressed out from the 2 older kids not listening. Every morning they need to eat breakfast and make their lunch for school. Now I used to make it for them but due to health issues the past couple years I have barely been able to take care of myself. Besides at 16 and 17 they should really learn skills to live. These sound like pretty easy tasks for teenagers, but every morning there I am telling them a count down of we leave in 15 minutes,  10 minutes,  etc and do you have a lunch? Most of the time the answer is no and we HAVE to leave on time to get 2 other children to their schools and myself to work. So they either rush grabbing some bogus thing they call a lunch or lately they resort to lying to me.

I decided that it’s not my problem to remind them and nag them. They are old enough to remember simple instructions and if they don’t take a lunch then they don’t eat. This was hard for me but hey, I survived and I hardly ever ate lunch at school and they’re not little kids anymore.

Along with that unnecessary stress that I was causing myself with the lunch ordeal I am constantly telling them to put their clean clothes away. They usually don’t and it ends up on the floor which makes me irate to see that they don’t care enough to take the little step of putting it away. So, you know how that ends. ..I see folded laundry in the dirty clothes hamper or clothes that I know they didn’t wear in there, but now it smells from being with dirty clothes. It’s such a waste of time and resources and it is so disrespectful.

My new tactic is this ticket. We’ll see this evening if it’s successful. The only reason I put 8pm as a deadline is because she’s at cheer until 5:30 or 6 and will need to eat dinner (after starving all day) and the point is for her to be successful and not set her up to fail the task. Yes I blacked out her name to protect the guilty but if you know us at all, you know who it is.

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I hope I’ve found another parenting winner here. Updates to follow.