Tough for Mom

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Momslittleangels, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. Momslittleangels

    Momslittleangels New Member

    This is for the parents of a easy child - - the ones that make life easy. My youngest, who has been a easy child for most of her life (some exceptions), moved out just after her 18th birthday, to go live with boyfriend about 45 minutes away. Up until about 2 months ago, she was going to be living with us until she reached 25 years old - - - - all of a sudden, she has moved out (no fights or anything, just life), and seems to have changed. She seems to be in her own world, wanting to become her "own" being, and resents any input from the parental units. I find this quick change very hurtful, and I am trying to adjust.

    How can they change their tune so quickly? How can they be totally into family, and then not give a rats pattuty about anyone but themselves? My mommy heart is hurting right now, and I feel forgotten. I know she has to experience the world in her own way, but it happened so fast. I feel left behind.

    Has anyone experienced this type of "abandonment"? How do you move from being the center of their life to not mattering anymore? It's like she just now became the teenanger that is brutal in her words, and hurting those around her. I know she is safe and is registered for school, etc, so I know she is doing the right things, but it still hurts so much. I feel like I lost my easy child overnight.

    Boo hoo! I guess it's God's way of preparing me for the separation, but I didn't see it coming like this. Any advice to get through it???
  2. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Sounds like a lot of 18 year olds who I know (and was) when they went off to college. Didn't need Mom and Dad anymore. In most cases it didn't last long but it will never be like it use to be. They do grow up. That's the way it's suppose to be.

    Thinking more, I think some of the kids who are really close to the parents might have to cut the parents out more severely than others. That may be the only way they can stand on their own.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It happens this way to all of us.

    I can give you some advice on what NOT to do, from past experience:

    1) It's OK to let her know you miss her, but don't let her feel life is passing you by while you wait for her to call.

    2) Don't pile on the guilt when she DOES call - be glad to hear her voice and enjoy her talking to you, but don't lean on her too hard.

    3) Keep the welcome mat there, always, but when she comes home make sure she does her own washing. You want to know she's visiting because she wants to see you, not because she's got a load of washing. on the other hand, if she's got some tricky stains, show her how it's done...

    4) You now have to stop treating her as your child, and more like your adult friend. Yes, she's still a child until she's 25 (brain maturity thing) but she won't see it that way.

    5) Even if you don't like him, make her boyfriend welcome. If you know they are sleeping together, then do not separate them under your roof. What does it achieve, apart from alienation? I now have adult kids and we had to make the same decisions. Last week a lady from church asked after my kids. I told her that BF2 had moved in with us; she was a bit surprised that the little girl she used to babysit is now an adult. She asked where we'd put BF2 - I told her we'd added an extension some years ago and he was out there. Somehow I also mentioned that easy child 2/difficult child 2 is out there with him. She said, "How do you feel about that?"
    I explained to her that you can only stand guard at the daughter's bedroom door for so long, then you have to go get some sleep. If the kids are determined to sleep together, they'll do it anywhere. Far better to know where they are and to hope that we've had enough input into their common sense for them to at least take precautions.

    Something you CAN do - set up a regular contact arrangement. mother in law has an arrangement with her adult daughter on the other side of the country - at 7 pm every Friday, they take turns telephoning each other for a chat. It's a weekly appointment. One week mother in law rings, the next it's her daughter. And daughter (sister in law) is almost 50, she's been doing this for years.

    When I left home (I was 17, living alone in the city) I had to ring my father midweek every week, and come home every weekend. Then I got caught up in university drama revue and they rehearsed on weekends close to performance dates. So I stopped coming home so regularly. However, I WAS home for holidays. Something I noticed - once you move out, you're never really home, ever again, where your parents live. I could be back for the holidays and go to a drawer to get out a shirt or jeans, and find my mother was also using the emptier drawers for her craft work, or her spare clothes. My sister's little ones often slept in my (now empty) bed, so I'd often find a soft toy in my (former) underwear drawer. Meanwhile, although I enjoyed being home and visiting familiar places, a part of me now belonged in the city. I could talk with my mother about my new friends, about the things we did and the jokes we told, but it was too different a world. I was now different and had moved on.
    Family is still important to me, but my parents are long gone. My siblings have organised a family reunion, mostly for the next generation (or two) which should be interesting. But many of us have gone in such different directions it's difficult to know what to talk about sometimes. We're politically and morally polarised.

    And this is what happens. It is how it should be. It should be the aim of every parent to raise their children to be happy, independent and productive.

    A parent's influence begins to wane when they reach their teens. By the time they're in their late teens, they're making almost all their moral decisions by themselves. All we can do is the best we can, while we can. Then you sit back and watch them fly, and hope they remember you sometimes and drop in for a visit.

    Mind you, it's perfectly OK to call them yourself sometimes just for a chat. Always ask, "Is this a good time for a natter? If not, when should I call you back?" And keep the conversation light, talk about friends, ask how she's going, how she's enjoying life there, be glad for her if she is, commiserate and support if she is not. Ask her to choose a date to come home one weekend for a visit, when it's convenient, and to give you enough warning so you can organise her favourite meal. And bring boyfriend too. He is a big part of her life now, so if you've done your job right, she should have made a choice with some wisdom in it. To welcome him is to value her judgement and choices. Treat him also, as a reasoning adult. here's hoping he doesn't rub you the wrong way too much!

    And keep it light, keep things humorous and warm. Show by example.

    A last thought - husband & I are a good couple together. At least, WE think so. I know a few people at church find it offensive how we hold hands a lot, hug a lot and are affectionate with each other (no, we're not all over each other!). But this is not always the experience of the partners our kids bring home. difficult child 1's girlfriend comes from a very unhappy home. Her parents rarely speak to each other. girlfriend has been of the belief that long-term relationships are fiction, that all relationships will eventually fizzle and fail, and determined that before that happens to her, she will leave rather than inflict pain on her partner. She also was determined that she would never inflict conflict like that on kids, so she would never have kids.
    Then we welcomed her into our home. She has seen us together, seen how we 'handle' our kids and how we communicate with each other, and is slowly changing her mind. She can see the parallels between husband and difficult child 1, and I think is slowly realising that she at last has a chance at something very special, with a bloke who has his faults but is always going to be loving and loyal.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 says BF2 has said the same thing. His parents are happier than girlfriend's, but it's still a highly volatile relationship with a lot of shouting. Sometimes his parents communicate with each other through him, even though he's living with us now. very sad - but he is seeing how husband & I work as a team and is taking notes, according to our daughter.

    So never doubt the impact you can have, just with your example.

    husband & I are not perfect. But we try. I think that counts for a lot with the kids.

  4. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    I know your mommy heart is broken and you miss her. However, she is starting to spread her wings and make those steps toward adulthood. Thankfully you have a child capable of doing that.

    Although I don't have any experience when my own child left, I can tell you about when I moved out of my parents home.

    I moved out when I was 19 years old. Once I got my own place, I was working and hanging out with my friends. I didn't see my parents that much. I loved my parents with all my heart, it was just my turn to be independent and learn about life on my own.

    Four years later, I got married. I bonded with my new hubby. I talked to my parents a couple of times a week, but didn't really hang out with them on a regular basis.

    Then our firstborn Alex came. After that, we were at my moms and dads every Sunday for brunch till both our kids were older and started sleeping in on Sundays.

    Now I talk to my parents a couple of times a week. We see them a couple of times a month.

    My hubby does talk to his mom everyday.

    So try not to take it personally, she loves you, she is doing what we all hope our kids can be someday, independent.

    Also, I agree with Marguerite, don't give her any guilt when she does call, that will make her not want to call.
  5. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    You are wise, Marg. It makes me sad just reading this thread. I remember going off to college. I think I came home the 2nd weekend of the semester because I was homesick - and I went to school very near home - it was just the "being home" part of things. I settled in to school - but still came home frequently, although once I became involved in a sorority, the visits lessened in frequency. Marg is right - once you move out, you never really "come home" again. Things change and shift - and that is the way it's supposed to go, but it makes me sad to look ahead and think of that happening with either of our munchkins.

    I often remind myself that they are only little for such a short time - and overlook some of their behaviors/quirks because one day, I will be the one fluffing my empty nest and wonder where all the time went.

    Hopefully, once college gets started, your easy child will come home and you will have an enjoyable visit. And remember, "the older they get, the smarter we become". She will probably begin to turn to you for advice and input on bigger issues because you've always been so close. It's because you made her so strong and confident that she can now stand on her own.

    Hugs to you.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My easy child did the same thing a few days after her high school graduation. Even though I knew about it before hand, it still came as quite a blow. Looking back, I think it was the shock of her decision more than anything. (my easy child was also doing all the right things)

    Ummm, if I recall, it took easy child only a few weeks before she started spending a huge amount of time back at the home front. lol Suddenly I started seeing her MUCH more than I ever had while she was still in school. (she was busy in school) I swear she had to stop in every day. :wink: After awhile it even got a bit annoying. lmao

    And I still see or talk to her almost every day. easy child bought a house a half a block away from us. :rofl:

    During that period of Mommy hurt though, I had to keep telling myself over and over that it was what I'd raised easy child to do. She was/is making me proud. With time the ache from them leaving the nest goes away.

  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, that's so sad. I know you miss her.
    You've gotten some good advice.
    And she WILL be back.
  8. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I remember when my easy child son went off to college--he was nearly impossible to live with that summer and I couldn't wait for him to go. Then, after dropping him off I got so depressed from missing him. He didn't call, didn't seem to care about us anymore. I remember reading a book called, "Letting Go" (I think) and it really helped. I learned that what I was feeling was normal and what he was doing was normal! I adjusted to him being gone and although we didn't talk much when we did it was fine. We mostly talked about sports since that was his big interest and just kept things light.

    I was really surprised at myself for feeling so bad when he left. Now he is 23 and living at home while he gets a new business he is starting off the ground--I thought he was gone forever when he was 18!

  9. Momslittleangels

    Momslittleangels New Member

    You are all very wise and I appreciate your heartfelt comments. I think it would feel different if I knew that she was "going off to college" and I was prepared for that transition, but to have her just disappear one day and slow down the communications to a screaching halt will really take some adjustment on my side.

    She is an independent young woman, but also a bit on the spoiled side, so she doesn't always have empathy for anyone else's feelings (I guess I didn't for my own mother either, but she was a work of art and very self centered her entire life). I thought easy child and I had a different type of relationship, so it caught me completely off guard and without warning.

    I will heed your warnings and NOT make a fuss when she calls. I will NOT make her feel guilty for not calling me and I will NOT try to pry, but keep things light. You do things a certain way for 18 years and it's hard to just shut that off in a heartbeat. THAT is what I wish she could understand, but perhaps that won't come until she's older.

    Thank you all so much!!!