How do you let go

Michaela - posted on 08/17/2009 ( 22 moms have responded )

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How do you let go of your children after you raise them all these years and not only are they your child but your best friend too?

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Kim - posted on 08/24/2009

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I have 4 children, 22 &20 year-old boys and 15 &12 year-old girls. Four years ago, when my oldest graduated from high school and left for college, which was 5 1/2 hrs away, my husband(his dad) was in Iraq, so I did it alone. It was not an easy time for us. My son had always been a big help to me when his dad was gone and he always wanted to talk to me, but as it often goes, that last year of high school and last summer before college, he was trying to be independent and our relationship was more stressed. However, just before I brought him to college, he must have realized how difficult it was for me to let him go. He often told me, "You did a good job, Mom. I will be fine." I thought about it and realized that he was going to be fine----He always did everything with integrity and honesty, worked hare, truly cared about others, and had a strong faith. We love them and help them to grow. We need to trust them and trust in ourselves. It is never easy, but we can take pride in who they have become, and in what we have contributed to that. By letting them go away, we only allow them to continue to grow and develop the skills of life. If we hang on too tightly, they cannot continue to grow.

I have also learned that lesson with my second one. We felt that he was not ready to go, but by trying to control things and take care of everything for him, we hurt our relationship and stifled his growth. We have given up this control (at least somewhat) and have let him go to experience life and figure out what is best for him. He is out of our house, but have assured him that he will never be out of our family. We are there to assist him, but we will not always "fix" everything. We have allowed him to struggle a little bit as he tries to figure it out. He is starting to grow. It is very fun to see. He may not be following the easy path or the path that we would choose for him, but he is finding his way and is developing his good qualities. We can only hope that we provided him with the appropriate tools. We let them go in different ways, hopefully the best way for that individual.

As we let them find their way, we need to find our way on the new path in our life, too. It is OK to be a little sad and teary. You are making a big change in your life and in a sense, you are losing a little something---that small child that you took care of and protected. But you are gaining something also, a new, wonderful relationship with your adult child, who will always need you to be there, and will WANT you to be there, now. So CELEBRATE!!!

Good luck! Trust in yourself and trust that you have instilled the values and tools that they need to grow! (I have to convince myself of this, also, as I am already dreading the time when I have to let my baby girl go).

Sharon - posted on 08/22/2009

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I have three children - a son (25), and 2 daughters (22 & 20). We moved across the country 2 years ago and my son decided to stay where we had been for 20 years. It was hard, but we have a great relationship and he calls at least once a week, usually more. We have also visited him and he has visited us. I homeschooled all three of my kids, and the hardest part was when the last one graduated. I didn't know what to do with myself. Even though the girls still live at home, they are gone most of the time between college, work, and friends. We moved to a rural community and after living in a big city for 20 years, I have found that it's harder to get connected enough to find friends, which makes letting go even harder. However, I do have good friends that are only a phone call away.

So....what I'm doing is focusing on my relationship with my husband. With most of the focus on the kids all these years (and church work), I'm finding that there is still much that I don't know about him even after 26 years of marriage. I do have to "make" him talk to me sometimes, but it's always worth it. I have also found things to occupy my time. I started gardening and raising chickens and we have 2 horses, 3 dogs, and 1 barn cat that need to be taken care of - not to mention yard work which I do with my husband (bonding time). We are also trying to walk in the evenings together.

If you're like me, your children have been a big part of your life (that's why they are your friends). Take time to get to know yourself. What are your dreams? Volunteer or get a part time job. Spend time developing other relationships (husband, friends, other family). If the relationship you have with your children is a good one, they will seek you out. My children still claim quality time with me individually at least once a week.

It won't be easy, but you'll be a better person for it, and you will find that your relationship with your children will still be just as good. Different, but still good.

Feel free to contact me if you need a sympathetic ear. I may need one, too. :)

Sherry - posted on 08/19/2009

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I have four children- 37, 34, 30 and just turned 18. I think You always will have that feeling that you want to protect them and you hope that they will always come back and need you sometimes. But I have found that they are all different and they all need you , but sometimes not enough. The last one is still my baby, but she thinks she is all grown up. I have a hard time not trying to try and keep her from growing up. Now i have to give alot of it to God , and step back. I just pray she will be ok. Times are so much different now than with my older children.

Toni - posted on 08/18/2009

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I am a mother of a 19 yr old and I can tell you I don't think we ever let go. I think as time goes by we learn to live without them in our constant lives, but they are always on our minds. I believe this is a burden of motherhood. Yes, we will worry if we taught them everything they need to know to survive in this crazy world, but remember you are just a phone call away. As my mother has always told me when they are young they step on your feet when they are older they step on your heart. So, trust in yourself as a good mother and tell them you love them and will always be there for them. When all else fails get a puppy. Good luck and god bless.

Shelly - posted on 08/18/2009

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Michaela,

You have to trust that the roots you gave her is enough you have to have faith that you did all you could do while she was under your roof you now need to let her fly on those wings that you have prepared her to fly on and trust that she will make the right desitions and if not just be there to help her pick herself up. I have had to let two of mine go and it took quite awhile for me to let go as "THE MOTHER" and just be mom...One of my all time favorite saying is "The two best things that you can give your child is roots and wings not loot and things" Just trust yourself enough to know that you did a good job!!!

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Janice - posted on 09/02/2009

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Shelly,



very well said... I just wish someone had told my mom that when I was growing up and gettign ready to move on to my own life. what do you do about a controlling mom when you are in your 30's married with 2 children that are teens and she is trying to control their lives? we are not on speaking terms right now and it is hard!

Rosetta - posted on 09/02/2009

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It is hard my daughter just went to college and I realize now that she has to make her way and decisions. All these years we spend watching over them and knowing were they are and who they are with all goes out the door because we no longer have that at our finger tips when they do not live with you anymore. You hope and pray that all you have taught them stays with them and they become a honest person in the real world. Good luck it is not easy but stay strong

Yvette - posted on 09/02/2009

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I too am having a hard time letting go. I believe that I smothered my children so much that now when they want to be free I keep clipping their wings. I have 4 children ages 23, 21, 19, 17 and The oldest I feel I can let go. She has always showed me that she is ready to fly. The 21 year old I just cant seem to let go of. My husband tells me that if I dont stop doing his banking for him to try and save his money then he will never learn. I am mom and I always will be, but I know my husband is right. How do you let go of the fear that they will be lost out in the world? I know in my mind that God has all this in his control, but, there is that infamous but, what do I do? I know that I need to let go and let God. The 19 year old just started college and I am confident that he will make it. I am sure that there will be some times he will struggle, but he will make it. The youngest, well I guess I see alot of my husband in him(not his natural father). He has learned alot sticking next to him. he has survival skills. I never taught these to my kids, but they got it. i think I just need to sit back and watch what they have learned from watching my husband and I.

TAMMY - posted on 08/25/2009

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aS A PARENT YOU NEVER LET GO OR STOP WORRYING. BUT I AM MY KIDS PARENT NOT THEIR "BEST FRIEND" !!!! OF COURSE I AM CLOSE TO ALL OF MY KIDS BUT THEY KNOW THAT I AM THEIR PARENT FIRST. LETTING GO IS NOT EASY...........I HAVE A 26YR. OLD, A 17 YR. OLD AND AN ALMOST 13 YEAR OLD AND I KNOW IT IS HARD TO LET THEM SPREAD THEIR WINGS !!

Michelle - posted on 08/25/2009

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It's not easy!! I just had to let my son (20) and my daughter (19) go. Just pray that you gave them the best foundation to get started on their own...trust me they do come back!! They just don't stay as log as you would like! :)

Margaret - posted on 08/24/2009

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you will never stop being a mom, love them and give them freedom to live and make their own mistakes. hope and pray for the best but never let go

Jeanelle - posted on 08/24/2009

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You never LET GO !!!!!! My son joined the Marines right out of high school two years ago and watching him get into the car with his recruiter the day he left for bootcamp was the hardest day of my life he left on his 18th birthday and we havent had him home on his birthday since. I call him every chance i get cause i know once he gets deployed our phone calls will be far and in between. Sometimes he will leave a message on my cell and i just keep it so i can hear his voice that helps when im missing not hearing his voice. I consider myself pretty lucky cause his sister is still at home she's 17 and at first i didnt want to let her out of my sight and it really started building a wedge between us but now I realize i have to let her grow up just like i did with her brother but I WILL NEVER LET GO.

Stacie - posted on 08/24/2009

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I'm struggling with the same problem. My daughter just left for her last year at college on Sat. and my son leaves this coming Saturday for his first year. Letting go means crying, whenever you need to, reaching out, like you did by writing your note, and trying to make plans, big and small ones, to get you through each day, a day at a time. a counselor I'm seeing suggested saying "See you Later" instead of "Goodbye". And you find a way to maintain the contact, probably less than what you want, maybe more than what they want. Eventually you'll find a comfort level. It may not be perfect, you may still miss them, but you'll find it's ok. And you'll be ok. At least these are how things settled when my daughter first left. I'm hurting more with my only other child now leaving too, but I keep reminding myself that I'll be ok, and that they'll be ok. It's not stopping the tears right now, but everything will be ok.

EVA - posted on 08/22/2009

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There is a book called "The Power of A Praying Parent" by Stormie Omaratan. It helped me through my difficult times.

Caroline - posted on 08/21/2009

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It is hard. I had to let go of my younger son permanently because he passed away from leukemia so I kind of redoubled my stranglehold on my older son because he is all I have left. Sometimes he tells me that I am too overprotective and paranoid and I have to remind myself that I need to trust in the fact that I have raised him the best that I could and hopefully that will see him through the ups and downs of life. Develop other interests and meet new people to be friends with. Join a book club or volunteer. I volunteer at children's hospital and find that very rewarding.

Susan - posted on 08/21/2009

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I'm struggling with this too. I have been homeschooling my sons, 14 and 16 for 5 years now, so we're even closer than some others might be because we're always together. But this year my 16 year old got his GED and is going to community college and the 14 year old has just in the last couple weeks decided he really wants to go to high school, so I'm arranging that. But it has hit me that in less than 5 years I'll have no one in the house but my husband. Don't get me wrong--I love him like crazy, but the boys and I have kind of been this circle, this trio, and now, they're going their own way. I know this is what I've reared them for--to be independent, to get along in the world, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I try to think of it as The Next Chapter, but I'm feeling pretty wistful for the old chapter.

Lysa - posted on 08/20/2009

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I hear you.. My boys are 17 and 18.. Often find myself sayin "what do I do with myself now".. Its one of the scariest things, all I know is being a mother..However as hard as it is, its a good chance to get to know yourself all over again...Take this time to learn about yourself, get your nails done, or try a new hair cut to get your mind off of this situation..If you have a relationship as a friend as well as a parent, then you'll see them coming back for support because you have that friendship. You havent lost your child for good, they'll be back, and your not actually lettin go, just backing up so they can grow...

Cecy - posted on 08/20/2009

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I don't think you can ever let go...I have a 23 year old and a 13 year old, both very independents and outgoing. My 23 year old has been away since she was 18 and I still can't let go...I miss her all the time, I miss our silly talks, and I just miss been there all the time for her. Somewhere along the line I forgat that our children are lent to us just for a little while and then we have to let them go...still very hard :(

Judy - posted on 08/19/2009

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I dont think you can ever LET GO! You can give up the control part.. but to let go nah... Im 35 and I love knowing I always have my mom on my side. Trust me; i do not look forward to letting my son go... when we goes away to college in 3 years.. UHHHHHH.. this i do not look forward to. But this is why I am preparing him everyday with wisdom, knowledge and the ability to know diff from right and wrong... ..... God help us!

Cindy - posted on 08/19/2009

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Good advice, I have two my baby just turned 18. It's never easy to let them go but we have to remember that our mothers went through the same thing. In order for our kids to grow into wonderful adults they need the freedom to learn and grow on their own. You have done all that you can do as far as instilling the right from the wrong. Have faith in what you have taught them and let them know that you are always there for them. God Bless

Mona - posted on 08/18/2009

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We have two boys (14 & 17). Our 17yo will be 18 next month and thinks that's it for mom & dad he's on his own. He will be starting college in the fall and for the most part has his stuff together but WE will always be his parents.
We're in a bump in our relationship right now but we'll figure things out.
Thank goodness the yougest one is no problem. It seems they have always switched off on who is testing us. I am so grateful that they both haven't gone apeshit at the same time.
Mona - http://moremilestones.blogspot.com

Becki - posted on 08/18/2009

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i am not sure yet since my kids have not reached that age. but when the time comes i am looking at it as a new chapter in life. I may not see my children everyday in my home but i still feel we can be a part of each others daily lives. i hope to be there for all the wonderful things that happen as adults as i have for their childhood. that also means you can go out in life and do what you have been putting off. best of luck ;-}

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