Mothers pour everything they are into their family and their children’s lives. There comes a point in time though, when the children grow up. They leave home for college or they get married and have a family of their own. Whether or not your children live near you, it can be hard to let go. It can be hard to not continue to want to have a “say” in their lives.
In the Bible God says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
When our children leave home to start families of their own, they are no longer under our charge. (As hard as it is to acknowledge!) Our role changes. Of course we will always be mothers, but we need to tell ourselves that we need to step back more than we step in at this point. You see, there will be an empty spot in our lives. We no longer need to make sure our child is going to the doctor annually, or that they are paying their bills. We no longer should keep track of what they do with their time everyday or how often they call us. Our whole lives have been focused on preparing them to be an adult. So when the time comes – we need to truly let them be one!
It can be hard to not try to pull closer to your child when they love learning how to pull away. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you or value you. It simply means you have done your job well and it is their chance to be an independent individual – one that they have every right to be! So what do you do? You continue to love, advise (when asked), and be there for your children – but on a respectful-of-their-territory-and lives stance. You let them be all that they want to be. Once your children are grown and you have left them a legacy, it is your chance to turn to something new. You see, once they are grown into wise, healthy, God-fearing adults, it is time for you to let them live that out. You can now pour who you are into someone else who needs you. Again – not withdrawing who you are from your children’s lives, but just giving of who you are a little bit more to someone else who may need you.
I see so many parents who do not know how to take a step back once their children are grown, and simply let them live their lives out. They continue to try to “mother” their adult children. All this does is suffocate and restrain, instead of liberating and freeing the children. If you don’t trust what’s in your child’s heart and their feelings for you as an adult, you have some issues that you need to deal with the Lord on. If you do, you need to learn that your place in their life (although valued and treasured) has changed. You become more of a mentor and a confidante, instead of an everyday needed “mommy.” Does that make sense? Don’t whittle your relationship away to obligatory gestures on your child’s part because they are afraid to step on your toes or hurt your feelings. Go out and live your life! Find someone new to “mother!” There are so many people out there who have no one. People who need to feel love and have someone pour everything they are into their lives. God did not leave us here to try and nurture those who are already healthy and nurtured. He left us here to reach out to the lonely, the sick, and the hurting. What are we doing for them? Our children would be the first ones to share in our joy of taking the new phase of our life to pour out to others and help them. Whether it’s by volunteering at a local school or hospital, teaching Sunday School, mentoring other young moms who are struggling, etc – find something to help you fill the void that might be left in your home and heart instead of trying to continue to fill it in your adult children who are seeking to find some space to do the same in their own lives and to their own children.
You can do it. You can see that instead of holding on to the role you’ve always known, that your new and changing role as a mother – the role that is a little less needed and a little less sought out – is still one that is fulfilling because you did your job well, and now God has made room in your life to do a new work through you. Won’t you let Him?
~ Dionna Sanchez is navigating her new role as a step mom – as her stepson has left home, gotten married, and gone away to college. She hopes to continue to be a valued mom in her new changed role. You can always read more of her heart and words at http://www.emphasisonmoms.blogspot.com