Our kids don’t live with us any more. Here’s how that happened: We fed and watered them regularly and eventually they bypassed childhood, graduated from here and there, and outgrew their need for under-the-same-roof parents. It happens. It’s a good thing for them and for us. If you’ve taught your children well, believe me when I say that it’s beyond cool to witness them as young adults, living their own lives and making choices that reflect well on them and… yeah, on you, too.
If your kids currently live with you, they probably depend on you for… a zillion things every day. The tangible stuff and the emotional support and encouragement. Even as you teach them to become more self-reliant, and they slowly become just that, you still have a lot going on being a parent. And hopefully, you enjoy most of it. Not all the time, of course. Like our tweens and teens, we also have our own needs and moods. And sometimes we just don’t feel like cooperating.
When parenting isn’t so much fun, it might help to remind yourself that this phase is only a temp job. (See paragraph one.) Another helpful tip: Take a day off occasionally. Leave the kids and go do something that you love. If you can’t swing a whole day off yet, then how about a couple of hours? Still not doable? How about an hour? You deserve it. And more to the point, you need it to maintain your sanity, your connection to your dreams (Remember those?) and your sense of who you are beyond “Emma’s Mom.”
I took such a day on Sunday. Went, by myself, to the Palace of the Legion of Honor, one of San Francisco’s fine arts museums. I got in for free because my kids bought me a membership for my birthday. It’s really nice when people know you well enough to know what you love.
The current special exhibit: Monet the Early Years. It is spectacular. But I won’t bother describing what I saw and why it moved me so. Art may not be your thing. Let me just show you this painting that Monet called The Magpie. He did it because he wanted to challenge himself to paint a snow scene. How does one depict snow on a white canvas? Beats me, but I’d say he nailed it.
We can all benefit from challenging ourselves. Especially if we want to help our kids do the same. Create a challenge. Go ahead. Let your kids in on what you’re working towards. Let them see how you deal with obstacles, mistakes, frustration, progress, achievement. Give them an opportunity to support and encourage you, for a change.
Enjoy… in joy.