Is It Normal To Feel Sad As My Children Get Older?
As my kids have gotten older, I've found that I've become more of a spectator of their lives, rather than being involved in their everyday play, and this makes me sad. They've developed an independence that really makes me feel redundant, it nearly casts me aside. These days when we go out for a picnic or just a trip to the playground with my three children and usually some of their friends, I sit and watch. I am a spectator of their games.
I don’t really have to push anyone on swings anymore. They are more interested in playing their own games like ‘The floor is Lava’ etc. They don’t need me to help build sandcastles for imaginary princesses. I don’t have to run around with wipes cleaning sandy hands and mouths. I don’t have to beg them not to eat sand, or stop robbing another children’s sand bucket and shovel. I am not pulling little kids off roundabouts as they are about to hurl. I am not suffering dizzy spells sitting on the roundabout with them.
No, I now sit and maybe scan my phone, read my emails, and send a few texts. Occasionally, I look up to make sure they are all still there and that no limbs are missing. I just acknowledge their presence, maybe intervene in an argument. They even sort those out themselves too now! I am just not needed. They make the occasional pit stop for a drink or food. For that, I am needed. Mother’s handbag must always have refreshments. Then they are gone again.
This is okay with me, I think so anyway.
I have enjoyed being there for every lump and bump. For every achievement, for every disappointment that an ice cream helped heal. It's been such an amazing journey. I have loved every minute, even the hard times. It always comes good in the end. I really do have to keep reminding myself I am too old for anymore when I get that pang. Three is enough.
At the same time, I am curious of where the next ten years will take me. Will I return to work and have a career again? I mean, if I am at home and nobody needs me, what do I do? My husband laughs when I ask him this question. His answer? "Enjoy yourself".
But what he does not realise, is that I love being a Mom, it’s my favourite job out of every job I’ve ever had. It is also the only one I haven’t resigned from, yet, so I must be doing something right.
I have always tried to instil an independence streak into all my children. And it has worked. But when the youngest of your children tells you, no I don’t need your help, it is like a dagger straight to the womb. Your baby has gone.
From here, it is time to accept they can make choices and decisions, right or wrong, without you. My eldest will start secondary school next year and that has really shaken me.
I know many are looking forward to this moment, the house is quiet because they have all gone out to play. The silence is lovely, but it gives you time to think about yourself.
What will I do now? Clean? Coffee? Read? Write? I now have options?
When the realisation hits home that the next baby you hold and love unconditionally could be your grandchild, it is time to start making your own plans and letting them leave the nest a little bit more every day.
Have you found that you are needed less and less by your children as they get older? Let us know in the comments section below.