The youngest child used his alarm clock to wake himself up, gathered his school things, and left the house on his first day of Senior year, heading to the ocean to see the sunset with his friends. A senior tradition to begin the many additional special moments that this year will bring. There was not one moment that Friday morning when he needed my assistance. On my last day driving him to school last year, I knew this year would be different. But it did not hit me until the point that he walked out the door at 5 am. It was as if someone punched me in the face when it finally hit me that my children and their routine have become integral to me and my journey. I was lost, sad, and hurt without it.
I’ve been reflecting on my motherhood, the moments I wish I could erase permanently, the moments that I wish I could relive, and the moments that broke my heart. Yet, I am so proud of what each child has accomplished, in bringing each one into the world, the gift and miracle it gave me. God gave me.
Love that is so deep, innocent, and pure that it hurts.
My heart has burst in ways I couldn’t imagine in the last six years. When I helped my oldest daughter move into the dorm on the drive back home, a piece of my heart and soul stayed there. Then when my second daughter moved into an apartment with my oldest (yes, not even a dorm), I began to worry and lose countless nights of sleep. The feeling of having pieces of my heart and soul in another home made me upset and scared. It took many self-conversations and prayers for me to see that this was the best for them. As a mother that loves her children deeply, the lesson was that I needed to let go of them. I needed to trust in the process.
Integrate the children into my life.
I never understood when people would say that they were empty-nesters. My children were leaving for college, but they still would need me, right? But the reality was that as the days went on, the visits became shorter, the texts became unanswered, and the holidays became moments and memories with their friends. Days of becoming frustrated and just waiting for a text response or for them to come and visit. A friend of mine gave me the best advice; it is ok to live life, experience things, and have new memories even if they don’t involve your children. These new memories will not make you a horrible mother. I began to feel ok with living and not feel guilty that they were not a part of the new experiences.
I honor my needs.
Me time? I always felt guilty about doing anything for myself. I take ‘Me Time’ seriously every morning; it is just me and my cup of coffee. When I make an effort to take care of myself, I can show up as a Mother in ways that make me proud. Honoring my needs will make me a more present mom.
Some tips for my fellow moms.
1. It feels good to get away once in a while, don’t feel guilty.
2. “Me time” will give you time to take care of yourself.
3. Though it is not “me time,” date nights are also important to help you reconnect with your partner.
4. Find that one thing that makes you happy and make sure that you gift that to yourself at-least once a week.
5. It is ok to say ‘no’ to put yourself first.