I'm new, looking for moms of grown kids

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
I'm new, looking for moms of grown kids
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Wed, 09-26-2012 - 11:24pm

Hey everyone. I found this board while I was looking for a group to join who would understand my feelings about having my kids growing up. I've got to get some of this off my chest! First, my introduction:

My name is Erin. I'm 36. I'm married (second husband) to Ryan for almost 15 years. We have 5 kids, DS (20), DS (19), DD (15), DS (13) and DS (11). I'm a SAHM - I always have been, save for a few part time jobs. I live in Central California, and I homeschool my 15 y/o DD and my 13 y/o DS.

Both my 20 y/o and 19 y/o DS's live at home. They both work full time. My 19 y/o goes to school full time as well (12 units). My 20 y/o went to college 3 semesters, failed most of his classes, and decided he wasn't a "college guy".. so he dropped out and went to work full time. He's already the asst. mgr at a large mechanic franchise. He's doing very well. They are both heavily involved in ministry and volunteer a lot of their time.

So, this getting married thing... I need to talk to someone about it who gets what I'm saying. I absolutely ADORE my DIL-to-be. She and my son have been together 4½ years. She is really a good match for him. I've practically watched her grow up. I'm thrilled that he chose her. I probably would have chosen her myself if I'd had the option. but... and this is where I start to feel like a terrible person... I'm starting to get a little freaked out about my son getting married and leaving home. They've been engaged since Christmas Eve last year, so I've known it's coming, and I was doing really well with it. I didn't cry or even feel any twinge of sadness until about 3 weeks ago. I cried once, but then felt like a bad person because I really do love my DIL to be, and I don't want my sadness to reflecton how I feel about her. It's not her. At all.

See, I was 15 when I had my DS. It was me and him (and very shortly after, my second DS) against the world, to put it melo-dramatically (lol). I gave up my childhood to raise him. I don't know anything else but taking care of him (and my other kids of course). I've almost literally always been his mom. I keep telling myself that I'm still going to be his mom, our relationship is just going to change. That doesn't really make me feel much better. I also tell myself I'm not losing a son, I'm gaining a daughter-in-law. That helps a little, but it doesn't take the sadness away. Don't get me wrong, it's not a debilitating sadness. It's just this feeling in my heart... I don't know how to accurately describe it.

I had a dream the other night that my 19 y/o was a baby again. There was no point to the dream at all. I was just holding him and cuddling him. I was watching him smile and coo like infants do. I held him close to my chest and patted his back. I woke up feeling so... refreshed. So... content. It was like I got to hold my baby again. I don't know what my brain is doing. It must be sorting out some issues (lol).

So, I know that I don't know any of you here. I hope you don't mind me dumping all this out here on my first post. I tried to talk to DH about it the other night and he said that I needed to start working on letting go. That ticked me off, so I decided I can't talk to him about it. It's not a matter of letting go. I know he is a man now, and I respect that. I'm so very proud of the man he is. I'm proud of his decisions and his character. I trust that I've done my job and I know he will be ok. This is my first time. My oldest child. I just don't know how to do this yet.  

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2009
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 11:41pm
Hi Erin, Welcome to the POCS board! You have agood job describing what so many of us have felt! Feel free to write what you feel anytime! we are here for you. You have found a great group of parents who will be along shortly to say hi and let you know you are feeling what loads of us have as our children transition into adulthood. IT is not easy being a mom no matter the age! When is the wedding? How involved are they allowing you to be in the planning?
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 12:22am

Hello dear.  I'm SAM, and my kids are 28 & 31. So I'm old enough to be YOUR mother, and believe me, your feelings are normal.  Most of us go thru that seperation anxiety when our kids move away for the first time.  Usually, that's when they go away to college.  Since my kids commuted, Dh & I got hit when my younger dd moved 900 miles away to live with her fiancee, who was in the Navy.  That was our BABY, off to live with someone we were NOT terribly fond of (who is now her ex-husband), and who could not afford to fly home for every birthday, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  That was tough on all of us.

In your case, since your husband is not the father of that child, he is not as affected as you are, and so he doesn't understand what you are feeling.  Plus, as you said, you & your son "grew up" together.  So you're not only missing the thought of him living with you, you are probably a little bit jealous, too.  And let's face it.  You are NOT "gaining  a daughter".  Your relationship with your DIL will never be the same as your relationship with your own child, no matter how much you may like her.

How this all plays out, will depend in large part on how close your son is to you and the rest of the family, and how far away they live from you.  If he's close to you, both physically and emotionally, you'll probably still see a lot of him.  He's still very much a kid, and he'll want to hang out with his family--especially if his brother is his buddy.  

But be prepared that he may not come around as often as you might like.

The best way to handle your feelings about that, is to get yourself a life.  Being a SAHM, and homeschooling your kids on top of that, really isolates you, and doesn't give you a lot of opportunity to think about things OTHER than your kids.  And it certainly doesn't give you much opportunity to hang out with other adults.  Girlfriends who are at the same stage in life as you, go a long way toward helping you to keep your sanity.  You need some girlfriends, girlfriend!  And a job, to help you define yourself as something OTHER than a "mom". 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 1:35am
It's a shame that your dh is a "mama's boy". Having issues with your husband makes letting go of the kids harder than it would normally be. Maybe seeing that has rubbed off on your son,since it seems like he has already separated from the family. And his gf is ...immature. A more mature & understanding bride would realize that having a good relationship with both extended families is valuable for EVERYONE, & would remind her husband of that as well.
Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 8:44am

I hear you - ds20 got a gf as soon as he went to college 2 years ago. Although he lives locally, he doesn't live at home during the school year and might visit a couple hours/week. He's an OC, so it's been VERY quiet since he left. Although he was home over the summer, he had 2 jobs and went to school so we almost never saw him (he got up after we left and got in way after we went to bed). And now he's very involved with his gf now that school is back in (her home is 300 miles away; although it's from the general area dh and I are from, we don't go up that way much any more since my folks passed, and I know ds and she have talked about moving back there after school is done). I'm assuming this is it - we won't see him like we did in the past, ever again. It's hard to come to grips with, even with outside activities/friends/hobbies, etc. I can definitely relate to how you're feeling!

Sue

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 10:45am

I was going to start off w/ what Sam said--most of us who had kids who went away to college dealt with the separation then.  I have 2 kids, 23 & 17 and I'm divorced.  Now the summer before the older one (DD) went to college she was hardly home too--she wasn't working too much, but she went on 2 vacations, 1 w/ her dad & family and one w/ a friend's family and I worked during the day  and I'd go to bed at a normal time and she'd constantly be out with friends, which I think happens to kids who are going away and afraid they'll never see their friends after they all go to different colleges--they know they aren't going to lose the family.  Well we took her to college, which was only 2 hrs away but the first time she was going to come home was Columbus Day weekend, which was 6 wks from when she left--believe me it was a long 6 weeks.  Her bedroom was the first one at the top of the stairs and I actually had to close the door cause I couldn't stand looking at the empty room.  Of course sometimes I'd go in there, sit on the bed & look at her stuff, pics of her friends, etc.  When she came home (she got a ride from a friend), DS & I were running out of the house to hug her. But I did get used to having her gone for months at a time.  Then I was happy that after graduation she came home from May-Jan and now she got a job 7 hrs away so that's another transition. She has actually been home more than I would have thought & I went to visit her once.  I am kind of counting on her moving back home after a couple of years of work experience, but what if she meets a guy down there & they decide to stay there?  Now I understand how my aunt, who was widowed & only had one child, moved 1/2 way across the country to live near her DD, SIL & grandchildren after she got old.

So like everything else, it's a transition & you will get used to it but you go through the emotions of things changing.  In one way I'm looking forward to DS going to college in 2 yrs and being free to do whatever I want, but it's also scary because I will be living alone--and since it's been mainly him & me since DD went to college, we do have a close bond--so maybe I'll be lonely too.  At least it will be a long time until all your kids leave home & then you'll have a DH.  And it does sound like you have a lot of things going on.  My former MIL was always a SAHM since she had 6 kids w/in 5 yrs (triplets in there) so she was pretty busy but she really never had any outside interests so she was really too overly involved in her kids' lives.  You don't seem like that.  We always had to go over there for Sunday dinner (or maybe we only went EO week since I also visited my mom)--it really wasn't that enjoyable to feel that we had to go (not to mention that she was a terrible cook) so maybe that's why your DIL to be is kind of freaking out--maybe if she feels that she can choose when she comes over, she'll actually still want to come over often.  I'd look at her relationship w/ her parents too--I'm very family oriented but not all families are like that.  To me, seeing my own mother is enjoyable, but I just wasn't that close to my MIL.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 11:03am
(not to make it sound like I'm moaning (I'm not; it's just life) but I'm also an only and my parents had both passed 2 years before he went to college, and I'm the one who moved away from relatives (for a job, back in '84) - so it was really a time of deciding what I want to do with all my free time, with and without DH! I've definitely upped my activities/hobbies and getting together with 2 of my close gfs!)
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 3:57pm

Hi, and welcome to the board. My kids are 26 and 29, both "grown and flown" for a number of years, and both living far from me--ds29 is about 400 miles away and dd26 is 3000 miles away so we don't see either of them very often.

As the others have said it is a transition, for you and for the entire family, when any one of them moves out. Since your ds has already established a life that doesn't give him much time at home anyway the physical transition may not be as hard as the emotional transition. When I got sad about my kids being gone I reminded myself that this is what I raised them to do. If they can live well independently then we have been successful in our job of raising them!

My first suggestion would be to back off on buying things for his apartment. This is not the same situation where your son moves into a bachelor pad and mom helps him to furnish it, he's moving in (early) to his marital home. Talk to him/them about what he and fiancee have planned for furnishing and see what he/they may need for the interim period before the wedding or for after she moves in. (Just imagine if, when you and your dh got married, your MIL showed up with bedding, dishes, etc and expected you to gladly furnish your home to her taste.) They are now a "package deal" so they both must be consulted or confer about things. And they will decide between themselves whose taste will prevail in furnishing or if everything will be a compromise etc. Then, if you have $$ that you're dying to spend on your ds, you can give it to them or buy something after they've opened the wedding gifts and know what they still need to buy for their apartment. 

As for how often you will see him/them, you will need to play that by ear. Between now and the wedding, I would probably ask ds to make a point of coming for family dinner once a week---explain that the entire family will miss him. After the wedding they will need time to settle into living together as a couple which will include negotiating how much time is spent with the in-laws. In that period you might just invite them for specific times. Later though that weekly family dinner idea might actually be appreciated. The novelty of cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen every night will probably wear off fast LOL and they might be happy to let someone else cook for a change; and your ds may find that he misses time with his family. 

These issues of how involved to be are very common and they change over time and with the various parties' schedules, needs, and personalities. Right now they both need to work on establishing their "footing" as independent adults, as a married couple, and as a husband or a wife, and restructuring relationships from those angles. Once they feel confident in their new roles things will probably lighten up. And I'm sure that once you get over the initial feelings of loss you will be able to get a better sense of what to expect of and ask for from your ds and stbDIL.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 7:58pm

Seriously, did she expect that her DD would get married & the SIL would move into her house?  I'd tell my kids they need to be able to support themselves in their own place before they should consider getting married (I know there are exceptions).

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 9:57pm

<<<I'd tell my kids they need to be able to support themselves in their own place before they should consider getting married>>>  I so TOTALLY agree, Liz!!!  And IMO, which I know other people disagree with, there are no exceptions.  Even if there is an oops in the birth control dept, I'd have my dd  and dgbaby live with me, but not the baby-daddy.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 09-28-2012 - 7:36pm

I agree with that too--my ex's stepD got pregnant unexpectedly -- the good part was that she was in her 20's and working, but she was living w/ my ex & her mom then so they continued to live there & I think also her BF either lived there or was constantly there.  They finally bought a house--the child is 3 I think and they got engaged about a year ago but I guess the house is first & then the wedding at some unknown time.  My ex said to me one day that although the little boy is really cute and he gets along fine w/ his DSD he really was looking forward to the day when he could just be alone in his own house (or alone just w/ his DW and not 3 other people).

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