What’s the hardest stage of parenting? Ask any mom of a new born, toddler or teen and they’ll likely say, respectively – new born, toddler and teen. In my mind, it’s the letting go.
Letting go at any stage. You have to do it so many times. So. Many. Times.
It starts with the first time you leave your little one with a sitter. Then the first day of school. First sleepover, camp, university.
University, now that’s a tough one. Saying goodbye to your college-bound kid is hard. No two ways about it. I think it’s especially tough because, if you think about it, this is their first step towards adulthood. I know that might be a bit of a leap, to think of him as an adult, but it is coming. And adulthood is a whole new beginning.
It’s the beginning of the rest of his life – starting a career, moving away, marriage, house buying, children. A whole life separate from yours. It hasn’t happened… yet, but it’s coming. And you know what? It’s exciting and scary, for him and for you. Sure it’s an adventure. One great big, wild, rollercoaster of an adventure.
And you know what else? It’s okay to miss him. It really is. Letting go is part of being a parent, absolutely. It doesn’t mean you have to like it. Nope. Not one bit. You just have to do it. Maybe we could adapt the Nike slogan? Just let go.
Just let go. Easier said than done, I know. Here are some thoughts that may help.
About to be freshmen are like middle schoolers. They’ve spent years working their way up the totem pole and they are about to cross the line into a world where they are at the bottom of the heap, again. My guess is that they have some mixed feelings goin’ on, too. Remember it’s a growing experience for both of you.
You’ve done what you can. You’ve been a great mom. You’ve grown him up as best as you possibly could. How about turning a little attention on yourself? It’s your turn now. Focus on you. What have you shoved to the back burner for the last 18 or 20 years? Start a new hobby or dust off an old one. It’s time to look after you.
Hm, this could be fun. Maybe not so tough after all, huh? Nope. Still tough, but there’s an upside in there somewhere.
Where are you at in the letting go cycle? Who are you going to be after the kids leaves home? Share your story in the comments below. We’re listening.