Guest post today! I would like to introduce you to my friend Jennifer, a fellow blogger and mom who shares a desire to live naturally and with intentionality.
I am a mother of 4 and the oldest is now 16. I was kind of broad-sided this past fall as we jumped into the next season of life, the season of launching. I guess it comes at different times to different families, but for my family it is hitting now with an almost 17 year old daughter and an almost 15 year old son. Perhaps it is hitting earlier than some families because my daughter does not plan on going to college. I am realizing that we have 1 and 1/2 years left before she heads out into the world to work and make her way. Since we homeschool, the pressure is on me. Have we prepared her enough? What else do I need to teach her?
And my son, who is younger, has really focused in on a love of air flight. He wants so badly to be a pilot and a few opportunities have opened up for him that is getting him around a small local airport and getting a few chances to fly.
They are growing up so quickly. They are great kids with a love for their parents and their siblings and a love for God.
I love watching the changes that are coming. As par for the course for me, I anticipated the struggles of this time- mood swings, tempers, asserting independence- all the challenging things. What I didn’t anticipate was the excitement and joy of watching their learning and exploring. They are indeed like toddlers again, but not only in the challenges. They are also like this in the learning and growth that happens. So much of this stage is wonderful.
But much of this stage is also so difficult for me as their mom. Since we have homeschooled from the beginning I have spent most of every waking minute with these kids of mine. I know them inside and out and love them fiercely. And I loved the middle school years stage where we have done everything together, all 4 of my kids along with me and sometime their dad too.
I know they are going to grow up and go away. That is what we are preparing them for. My hope is that they will marry and have their own families and that they will thrive. And we are not there yet.
But the hardest part about all this is that my contentment is no longer stable. I was content in the last season we were in and in fact really loved it. But the one constant is change and here it comes marching on with no consideration for anyone, least of all me. I feel like my bearings are off and I am struggling to get them again as I look up ahead.
The one constant that I do know is that my God does not change. And He holds the future, mine, my families, and each of my children’s. And He is good and trustworthy. So again it drives me to my knees, not only praying for them but also for me.
I have assembled a small collection of some principles that are helping to guide me through this changing season. Hopefully they will help you as well.
1. Live in the present but prepare for the future. I am a future oriented person so for me this is a challenge. I tend to want to jump ahead to what is coming, but when you do that too much you miss the present. I don’t want regrets, especially those of wistfully looking back to past years and feeling that I missed out somehow. I want to live fully in these days, right now.
2. Work on the relationship with your husband. When your children all do leave, he and you will still be there. Some couples drift apart in this very busy season of life with children in all kinds of activities and needing lots of attention and the husband and sometimes wife working hard to keep the money flowing and bills paid. It is not too late to work at your relationship and get back on track with keeping it the focus of your home. Your children and you will be much blessed if you do this.
If you are single because of divorce or a death or because you never married obviously this does not apply in the same way. But it may be a time to really be praying about this area of your life for the future, when your children are no longer your responsibility like they are now.
3. Talk to other moms ahead of you in the journey. I find so much encouragement and strength from sharing with other mom, especially those who have launched a few children of their own. They understand where I am and sometimes have some helpful suggestions. But most of all I usually have an understanding listener and I come away feeling encouraged that I am not alone.
4. Pray about what God may have for you when your children are raised. Eventually your children will be grown and even if they have not left home will be living more independently. Homeschooling will end, unless you take over for your grandchildren. It is good to think ahead and ask God to show you what might be up ahead and how to prepare for that.
5. Pray for your children. I find that when a child is going through a transition they are much more on my mind. This is because my attention is centered on them. But it is a wonderful reminder and opportunity to really pray for them. A wise friend of mine told me many years ago that your teen and adult children still need you a lot through transitions. I see that as I spend hours in a week talking about many growing up issues with my daughter. They also really need our concentrated prayer for them and it is so much easier when I can’t stop thinking about what is going on to just pray, pray, pray. There are wonderful resources out there now on praying for our children such as praying the Scriptures for them.
6. Deal with emotional/stress issues in your body that may affect your ability to cope. This is important especially since for most women these seasons also coincide with menopause which is doing a number of the body in other ways. I wrote an article over at my blog about how to deal with stress and adrenal fatigue, which is a common complication of stressful situations. Stressful situations deplete Vitamin C and magnesium and also can dramatically affect the hormone balance. That is why I recommend increasing Vitamin C and magnesium and taking adrenal support herbs like ashwaghanda.
If you have been through this season of life your thoughts and experiences are appreciated. Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Jennifer Dages is a happily married homeschooling mother of 4 who lives in small town Pennsylvania. She blogs at The Entwife’s Journal and at Purposeful Nutrition. She is also an RN with a health business: blogging, speaking, and health coaching. She can be found on Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook.