Parenting From the Empty Nest

Yesterday, my friend Lynne asked me, “When do we get to stop feeling nervous or anxious about stuff that is happening to our children or in our children's lives?” She has college-age kids, also. I was wondering if this question is a cousin to the ever-popular “How come life isn't fair?” It strikes me kind of the same way… Somehow, in some way so many of us grow up with an assumption that life should be fair. And, the first time a sibling or friend gets something or does something and we don't, we wail, “It's not fair! She…or He…”. Why do we have that thought or idea? Did we get sprinkled with “Fair-y dust” as babies? And so onto this question, which could also be called, “Why is it so hard to be a parent when our kids are having a hard time?” I seem to recall moms talking about how great it is to be an empty nester and how freeing it is. So, maybe that is where some of us moms may have gotten the idea that once we are empty nesters and our children go off to college or move out of the family home to fend for themselves, we moms will magically or naturally stop taking on any good or bad – happy or sad things the children are experiencing. When Lynne asked me (and she wasn't really asking. She was basically saying, “I'm tired of my kids having hard life lessons right now.), I said, “I know! I was just feeling frustrated and bummed out because my daughter was feeling disappointed and down.” But, obviously I know the answer is never. Being a mom is a lifelong adventure. I remember times when my parents and grandparents were obviously being emotional supports to their children. Our best case scenario is that we learn how to put the ups and downs in their lives in better perspective so as to be helpful/emotional supports without having it ruin our day too.

 

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