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When We Look at Our Big Kids, We Still See Our Babies, TooElizabeth Spencer
It’s a contradictory place we find ourselves in right now. We're starting to see the light at the end of this tunnel, yet the path forward is still unclear.
We’re feeling blessed, and feeling stressed. Feeling hopeful, and sometimes struggling to hold onto hope.
Some of us have what we secretly longed for — the presence of our teens in our homes and a nest that had been (temporarily) empty of college students full once again. Others are doing this shelter-in-place without their big kids, because these young adults might be sheltering in place in their own place. This adds a new piece to the puzzle. It might be easier to manage a household with fewer people, but our hearts are missing (and our minds are worrying about) our children who, although capable adults, are still and will always be our children.
For those of us living as a family right now under one roof, we moms treasure the love, and this time with those we love. Time for shared meals, meaningful conversation, walks, family TV time and more. Sometimes we get annoyed, because we are all dealing with the pressure and uncertainty of the current situation and adjusting to being together ALL the time. We may end up feeling guilty for being annoyed instead of being grateful.
It’s rewarding to see our teens and college students adapting to this challenge — managing classes remotely, socializing and studying with friends remotely, gracefully (or begrudgingly) leaving their “other” home with its freedom and opportunities. We are so proud of them. But “remotely” can only do so much. It cannot replace the connections and joy that come from being in-person. And so our own joy is diminished because we realize there’s not much we can do to comfort our teens who miss all the things “remotely” can’t satisfy.
Then there are the kids who are struggling still with this utter shake-up to their lives and loss of their routines. Some with anxiety who are just trying to get through each day. We cherish this chance to love them a little more, but our hearts ache for them and long to see them at ease and happy again.
Most of us moms feel satisfaction and delight in nurturing and caring for our families. It’s part of how we express our love. So we might make morning coffee, cook, help with laundry — especially if we're trying to lighten the loads of our teens and college students who are also juggling a lot. But when it’s 2 pm. and we haven’t had anything besides a mug of coffee and are still in pajamas doing housework, we might feel depleted, irritated…and hungry. Add to this the reality that many moms are also keeping up with part-time or full-time jobs, working remotely from home. Some are even going to their place of work each day.
Getting caught up in doing for others so much that we forget to take care of ourselves might leave us feeling exhausted, aggravated or overwhelmed.
It’s not an either/or situation. We’re all loving, embracing, annoyed by, frustrated by, cherishing, stressing and struggling with our current surreal circumstances.
It’s not all one way or the other, and that’s okay. We need to honor however we’re feeling. Only then can we find some peace in this current storm, strength to get through it, and allow ourselves the space needed for growth.
It’s time to celebrate with the perfect gift for your new grad!