We’re not just making this stuff up!
We’re a group of ten moms who have been friends since our kids were just tinies. We’ve been through a lot together and have Been There for each other. Right now we’re all in the stage of parenting young adults and it’s hit us all like a freight train. About once a week in our conversations, someone will say, “Nobody TOLD us it would be this hard!” And nobody did.
So we’re here to say: this season of parenting is HARD and we need each other now more than ever before.
Most of us are flying somewhat incognito because life with our teens and twenty-somethings is already challenging. We don’t need lots of highly identifiable information out on the interwebs creating more crises.
Mountain Gal: I had 4 boys in 5 years, including a set of twins. Nuff said. I love Jesus and, in the big picture, if my boys all grow up to love Jesus, I’ll die happy. In the smaller picture, I want it all: a clean house, a balanced checkbook, a congenial relationship with my bathroom scale, a good night of sleep, enjoyable relationships with my kids, a hot relationship with my husband, a perfect church, and a meaningful plan for my future. So far, some of those aren’t working out as well as I’d like. Most of the time I can laugh about it.
ScrappyMom: I am mom to 4 young 20-something adults. I thought when I had 4 children in less than 6 years, it was the most difficult time to raise them. But I’ve learned that parenting them from a distance is even harder. My influence on them is different, even diminished. It can be heartbreaking, but it is also full of pride and joy. Three of my kids live in different states than I do, one remains at home as she tries to figure out her life, where she wants to go and how to get there. Jesus is Lord of my life, and it is my prayer that my children have “caught” that same love. I am married to my high school sweetheart, a godly and loving husband/father. My life is far from perfect…..but it is a good life
Momsheart: We waited and prayed so long for our kids, it’s hard to believe their time with us is winding down. As we watch them leave home one at a time to begin their own journey as an adult, our hope and prayer is that of all the things we taught and “exampled” for them, our love for Christ goes with them. My biggest struggle is learning when to offer counsel to these young adults and when to bite my lip! Our journey is changing direction as both my husband and I juggle jobs, homeschooling one teenager, caring for aging parents, and looking at “retirement” options. I can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner on our path …
Hope: Meet my family – husband Jed, son Rocky, and daughters Petunia and Daisy. I started out as a single mom at age 20 with my beautiful little boy. By age 26, I was married with the two little girls added to the mix. Today they are in grad school, college, and a senior in high school, respectively. When my crew was little, a wise woman once told me, “Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems.” Though, in all my late-20s wisdom, I knew nothing could be harder than having toddlers. I was wrong. With God’s help, I got through 12 years of homeschooling, and by God’s grace, they got through public high school after I threw them all out. Today, Jed and I are savoring this last year with our youngest, while happily anticipating the empty nest!
I accomplished the goal. Right? I got the boy and girl through high school (homeschooling the boy through 9th, the girl through 12th). We built a good life as we moved about a bit for my husband’s work, spending time in a variety of small towns (and a year in Chicago), making friends along the way and enjoying close family bonds. Now that my little flock are in their early 20’s, making their way through college, life ought to be a breeze, the nest empty and my heart well moved on to new and exciting endeavors. Yes? Well, hold those thoughts. We’ve moved yet again to a town where we have no close friends, no ties that bind, no basketball or soccer games, no concession duty to glue one to a community. “Here” is not “home” for us and, due to my husband’s chronic fatigue due to medical issues, getting out to make new friends has proven difficult. Neither is the nest empty: the boy will live with us during his senior year of college. What does my “Empty Next” have in store? I haven’t a clue. My hope is that blogging about this phase of life with my dear and wacky friends (who are also intelligent, humorous, spiritual, gracious and strong) might provide me with needed insight. I hope you’ll feel welcome here and join us as we venture on towards our Empty Next together.
When the oldest of my four children was born more than 20 years ago, I naively imagined good mothering to be working myself out of a job. Now, with his upcoming wedding, two kids in college, and the youngest in middle school, I see that my Next stage still involves a LOT of mothering, even when that mothering is mostly fostering independence. I don’t know if parenting young adults merely evolves into parenting mid-life adults, but I do know that God, my husband-buddy, and a web of wonderful, wise friends will walk me through it. In the meantime, with less direct involvement with my children, I get to explore the new roles God sets before me: art, classroom education, Christian ministry, and whatever other surprises He may have in store!