Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tell Me What You Think

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a mother. Throughout my childhood I longed to love someone and to have someone love me back.

When I was 20, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant and alone. Despite what you may think, I was extremely happy and excited about becoming a parent, even if the father didn’t want anything to do with becoming one with me. I didn’t have anyone to guide me through my pregnancy and I made some stupid mistakes, like not knowing about maternity clothes so I bought many pairs of pants in every size as I grew bigger. But I ate healthy, real healthy because I was an organic, raw vegetarian. Mung bean sprouts, tofu, all that crap. And I took real good care of myself for my child.

Even in those early days of pregnancy, I sensed that I was having twins. And at 4 months it was verified, twins it was!

Well, I met a man at my job who was going through a terrible custody battle and we hooked up because he needed a nanny and I needed help....how disfunctional is that? We got married 3 months after the twins were born, a boy and a girl. We had a son when they were 22 months old.

After a few years I left with my 3 kids. He was abusive and although I could have lived like that (since I didn’t have any self worth back then), I didn’t want my daughter to ever married someone like that or have my sons become abusive to their wives. So I left and he never had anything to do with us after that. His children’s mother took them back after a short while. He didn’t have anything to do with them either.

So I raised these three wonderful children alone and loved every minute of it. We kinda grew up together. I made sure they had traditions, security and most of all knew that they were loved unconditionally.

As they grew into teenagers I stayed on top of them, setting boundaries, being involved, making mistakes and learning. They didn’t give me any trouble. Except the youngest, and only for a short period, but I straightened his ass out.

Now they are in their 20's, the twins will be 26 in July and the youngest turned 24 this past Sunday. They still live with me in this big house that I am trying to sell. They are successful, Jen is an accomplished artist and graffic designer www.britedesign.com. Her twin, Dave, is a writer and attending a film conservatory (he's home for the summer, then back to college). Tom is working in the computer field and attending college. majoring in computer science.

I need them to go out on their own, I need to live on my own, I feel like I’m being sucked dry. Don’t get me wrong, they pay minimal rent, they make their own meals, they clean up after themselves (although their standards of cleanliness are not on par with mine), I just want them to be successful, that’s all I ever wanted for them, to be successful in their lives, relationships and careers. I’m just starting to feel, if I dare say, resentful of them. I want a different type of relationship with them now. I want them to come and visit me, not live with me. It’s been very difficult for me lately. I love them, really, really love them, but I did my 26 years of being Mommy and it’s time for me now. I want to be their Mom, the one they go visit and seek advise from - not expect to make things easier for them. (Which I know is my fault)

Quiery: If I wasn’t a single mom and they actually had a father living with us, would I feel the same way? Meaning, would it be easier, emotionally? I feel the strong need for a shift here. I want to live alone! I want my children to be out on their own! But sometimes I also still want to be their Mommy too. What do you think?


MugwumpMom said...

I think that what you're feeling is totally normal and part of God's design. His plan is that children leave their parents and start their own lives. I believe He even wired those desires into our DNA, and just because culture makes it almost necessary for single young people to stay at home longer, "nature" dictates that they oughta be out by now, and we parents ought to be empty nesters by now. I believe what you are feeling is a natural progression into the "2nd half" of your life, where now you're coming into your fullness as a women who's learned and accomplished so much (AND ON HER OWN TOO....BRAVO!!) and now you deserve the space, time and freedom to enjoy it.

I've already told mine that they've got one year after they finish their degrees to be out on their own...even if they're going on to graduate school! And mommy means it!

Looney Mom said...

I'm thinking on this one tonight. I will get back on it tomorrow some time, not that I'm a vault of wisdom or anything...


Mom2fur said...

Sweetie, you will ALWAYS be their 'mommy.' My kids are 16, 19, 21 and 23. I still get a big kick out of making breakfast and lunch for them. On occasion, of course. They're very independent. But I'm almost tempted to never, ever teach my oldest how to make homemade mac and cheese--just so he comes home once in a while to sample 'mom's cooking.' (They all live home, still, because they are all students. That's going to change soon enough, and I'm going to enjoy all the 'mommying' I can!)

theresa said...

Thanks everyone for the encouragement, it really means a lot to me.

Looney Mom said...

Ok, Theresa, here are my thoughts. WARNING: THIS IS SUPER LONG, maybe I should have emailed you with it or something.

First I have to say that I have not yet really experienced the “letting go” of one of my own. I have 2 stepchildren (I really HATE/ABHOR that word, but… it is what it is) and they have been in my life since they were babies; Jeremy was less than 2 and Valerie was just a newborn when they came into my life, so they ARE my children, but because their mother had primary custody and she and my husband had joint custody over the last 17 years they were here only part of the week.

During Jeremy’s last year of high school he came to live with us full-time. I hate to admit that I was more than happy to let him go because he and I really couldn’t see eye to eye (it was one battle after the other and very stressful) – though I did/do LOVE him. Valerie decided last summer that she didn’t want to come to “live” with us for 3 days every week any more… I took that very hard and I felt that one differently. I miss having her around.

But I do have another point of view: I left home when I was 17 because my dad was a violent, abusive alcoholic and I couldn’t take it anymore. My brothers, R. age 14 and C. age 9 (ages at that time), stayed behind. R. took most of the abuse, especially after I left. Thankfully, C. seemed to have escaped the abuse that R. and I had experienced and still cannot understand our hurt to this day. Later my dad began to realize the folly of his ways and ridden with guilt tried to then “take care of” R. While his heart was in the right place - I guess - it didn’t work out.

My parents really could not let R. go out and be a man. I feel like they crippled him. They really never let him discover his ability to survive in this world. He lived with them even after: he got a young girl pregnant, she moved in, they later got married, had another kid then divorced; met another girlfriend, had another kid with her, then had that girlfriend live with them; THEN my parents moved out and gave him/them their home (now they’re living with my younger brother, his fiancée and 2 kids) – all in that order. I know; what dysfunction.

Now R. really suffers so much because he never really learned to be responsible and take care of things himself. My heart breaks for him and I pray that he will call out and receive Jesus. My parents always rescued him from everything – and still do. It was the worst thing ever that they could have done to him. They thought they were helping and loving him, but they were unwittingly harming him – though I tried to tell them this over and over. Now they have a whole new set of guilt.

Now I know your children seem to have their heads on right and they are not crippled by any means – they are successful and have careers – that’s awesome. But I guess you just need to tell them that it’s time for them to spread their wings and fly BECAUSE you believe in them and have raised them right and BECAUSE you love them and you want them to reach their fullest potential. You will ALWAYS AND FOREVER be their “Mommy”. That will NEVER change.

I hope that helped a little. Personally, I can’t wait to experience ‘empty nest syndrome’ – not really. I think I just say that now because my kids are 13, 10, 7, and 5 and they drive me nuts!!!


theresa said...

Liz, thanks for the thoughtful comments. You are so right.

I've always tried to be mindful that I could be doing too much for my children thereby keeping them from making the mistakes they need in order to grow correctly. When my youngest got in trouble with the law I did not bail him out for 2 nights, then he had to pay his own legal fees and such. He learned his lesson big time and never went down that path again, Thank You Jesus!. Now he is in a spirit filled church and walking a more righteous walk. I know I've babied them a bit throughout the years, but I trust that they will be able to live on their own and rebound from their mistakes.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences, it really means a lot to me.

Michelle said...

I'v heard it said that we mothers are to work ourselves out of a job.
Being on the other end of the mothering thing (2 year old, 9 month old) all I have are opinions. In my opinion you are right! In my own experince - I was given the boot, just after high school, it was "lets go and get you a job near where you will be!" and then it was "lets go help get you an affordable place to rent/dorm" and there I was. It really didn't feel like a choice.
Also, I am a researcher, when dating I read about dating, when engaged I read the books about engagment, when married . . , when pregnate . . . now with kid . . . you get the picture, so once I get to your place I plan to read
"Letting Them Go: PRepare Your Heart, Prepare Your Child for Leaving Home" by David Veerman, if you pick it up and finger through it you'll have to tell me if it is really helpful.

Monica said...

I think my children are 6 and 2 and I still completely understand. Love my babaies but I am looking forward to it being the two of again one day. That's why I send them south to my parents for a month in the summer. So we can have a break while we are raising them.

YOU are not being selfish in any way. You need your space too, just like they do. I sure hope they are working their way out of your house. Hmm, maybe after you sell your house, you should rent a 1-bedroom apartment for awhile to drop the hint. I'm really surprised they aren't feeling more of a desire to go but I suppose they have their excuses - I mean "reasons".

Monica said...

Me too, Michelle! Some say it's a Saggitarius thing, if you follow that. We run around gathering information before making our move. I admit, there seems to be some consistencies between the Sagg thing and my personality, but whatever it is, it's funny to see someone else saying the same thing!