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My children don’t need me or want to spend time with me anymore.
It started when they wanted to hold the spoon containing green healthy goop that was being choo-choo’ed into their mouths and continued later when they told me every detail of their day including when so and so walked past at lunch time and didn’t even smile at them. “How dare you so and so!”
Now they are no longer children, they go out with their friends alone and then answer queries on how was their night with one word, like “fine” or “okay” or “geez mum what is this, the Spanish Inquisition?”
As younger children there was always an internal rough house skirmish when you wanted to be able to say “I’m here for you, I’m on your side” without them taking that to mean “it is my life’s work to wash cook and clean for you. Please don’t think you are intruding when you expect me to be available at any time of day for someone to pick you up and OH MY GOD what would I do without the job of dunging out the bathroom of all your gunk and muck.
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Now that they are older, of course, you have all the time in the world to give to them but they don’t want it.
I am sad to say that my girls are at a point when they prefer to hang out with their friends than be with their parents.
I remember being there. God my parents were so boring when I was sixteen. They didn’t know anything, least of all how to live life. Conversely, my friends were so fun, we would hang out, watch T.V. and talk about the latest developments on Coronation Street and contemplate our navels. My parents didn’t know what they were missing.
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You Have Done Your Job Now Let Them Go And Practice Being Adults
There comes a time when you can’t teach them. They need to be able to cut the apron strings and do it for themselves, put all the good stuff you’ve taught them into action.
They Will Come Back.
Things will sometimes go wrong and when they do they will want their Mum or Dad to help smooth things over just as they always have. You will need to be there for them.
A word of advice. Don’t nose-dive in like some she-devil looking to tear up anything or anyone who dared to hurt your child. No. That may have impressed in the past but now your new role is Spectator with a great pair of ears. There is nothing more mortifying to a 16-year-old than a mother on the warpath on their behalf.
Your Life Is Now Your Own
Stop whimpering in the corner about your loss and get out there. Your time is now your own and you can do anything you want. Put the energy you put into your kids into yourself. Focus on your own health. Improve your diet if you need to or add in some form of movement you’ve always wanted to try. They turned out awesome and so could you.
The World Is Small
By that I mean there is facebook, skype, countless free text, and media sharing apps. Your kids and what they are doing is just a click away. Keep involved in other ways. Start a family group on one of the many free text apps and share your life moments.
Look to the future
You can now be a friend rather than a drill sergeant. Do fun things with your kids that weren’t possible when they were younger. Go out with them, shopping, lunch a drink at the pub. Enjoy their adult company. You have taught them well so you will have lots in common.
Are your children cutting the apron strings? How are you coping?
I wrote this post 3 years ago. My children are still teenagers, are even more independent now and I am super proud of them, of their awareness of how things work in this world and their intuition.
They still rely on me, and not just for the their washing but to chat about their lives and what they are going through.
If there is one thing I urge you to do as a mum is to keep the lines of communication open between you and your children. Assure them that nothing is off the table. And practice your poker face because they smell judgement at 10 paces away.
I think differently about them moving away from me now. I think of this time as my time to get back to me. I want this for you too.
Since the days of writing about our family my blog has evolved into writing for women in perimenopause, menopause and midlife. I educate on hormone balance, weight loss, and wellbeing.
If you’ve come to this post feeling lost and upset because your children no longer see you as the centre of their world maybe think of it as a time that you can work on you.
Take a day for yourself to recentre and think about what you want for your self now and o practice some self-care. This post can help you with that and there is a free printable you can download.
Failing that this next post gives you many ideas for things you can do to add a little more joy into your day. It is important to have things to look forward to and this list can help with that.