Mothers Day is tomorrow and it has me thinking about all the changes we, as Moms, grow through. Not only go through, but really GROW through. Think of all the changes and growth that occurs from the moment you find out you are pregnant or adopting, to holding your precious child for the first time, to potty training, to sending them to kindergarten, then middle school, and then high school. A huge time of growth and change comes when we have to send our precious child off to college. Oh my! That’s a hard one!
I love photographing Seniors! What an exciting time in their lives; getting ready to spread their wings, go out into the world, find out who they are aside from their parents. Overwhelming, yet electrifying! When I shoot Seniors, I love to get some shots of them with their Mom. The Moms are not ready for that and often say they look terrible. I don’t mind that because 1) Moms are always hard on themselves and 2( I know how much the Seniors will love having a picture of their Mom as a reminder of the big step they are ready to take.
One minute you are so excited, proud, happy, the next minute you are sad, depressed, questioning whether you have taught your child everything they will need to know to navigate this big, crazy world. All normal feelings and questions.
You have poured your heart and soul into this human being from the moment you knew about them. For 18 years you have done this! Give yourself a pat on the back! It feels as if your heart is going to jump out of your body at the thought of them living away from you; not being a part of your everyday. I get it. I have done this four times and have to go through this once more.
Take a deep breath….Feel all those feelings…..
Now, look at your almost adult child. Really look at him. Watch her in settings outside your home. Watch how she handles herself in this world around other adults and her friends. Watch how he reacts when things go good or bad. Do you see any growth from a year ago?
Watch. Listen. Enjoy
I think you will be impressed with how grown up and capable your almost adult child is.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Whenever they want…. in other words, Set them FREE.
I like the word “autonomy”. The definition of autonomy is independence. Synonyms for autonomy are self determination, self reliant, self rule, self restraint, self government. What is the key word here?
It’s what we have been teaching them since day one.
This summer give your almost adult child more freedom. Sit down with them and renegotiate their curfew. Ask them what they think their curfew should be. Figure it out together. Ask them what freedoms they think they can handle like, not having to let you know where they are and who they are with every second of every day. Give them the freedom to solve their own problems before you jump in. Give them the freedom to be responsible for their own choices. Explain to them that with freedom comes responsibility and these freedoms can easily be taken away.
Your graduate will be on his own very soon. Give her this freedom while she is still at home and you are there to catch her if needed. Most of the time, not all of the time, when we gave our children more freedom, they became more responsible. Go figure! When you give your almost adult child these freedoms, you’re telling him that he has what it takes and he can do this!
You probably have this one down. You’ve been cheering your kiddo on his whole life.
This time your cheering may be a little different.
Cheer her on to take care of herself.
For 18 years you have been the command center. Now is the time to give your almost adult child the keys to his own command center. Let him (sometimes you have to make him) make his own Dr., dental, hair, any kind of appointments he needs. Let her make a menu, shop for the groceries, and prepare a meal all by herself for the whole family. Here’s a great one, let him do his own laundry. Better to let him learn now or you will have to buy him new clothes! Another biggie, make her get herself up in the morning. Don’t be her alarm clock anymore. Basically, anything he/she can do for themselves, let them. You won’t be with them in their dorm room to do all these things for them. Now is the time for them to learn these activities of daily living.
Believe you me, your Mom job is not over, it is just changing, as it should. You’ve raised strong, smart, independent almost adults. Let them show you what a great job you’ve done!
One thing though, they are never, ever too old for hugs and kisses!