It's my first day on the Mothering site and I am happy to find this group. I hope it becomes a bit more active again.
I am a 52 year old mother of sixteen year old, twenty year old, and twenty-two year old males. I homeschooled them with concurrent public school classes, each then attending a private boarding school(!)
Like other posters, I had some adventures in life before I settled down to having kids. In my case this was a good thing, because earlier I would not have had the maturity and patience to be a mom. That's just me, I know that many young women are quite capable! I do regret that I am not to likely to be around to see my great-great grandchildren :) but I value the time I do have. Growing older has brought me a sense of peace in some ways because I have reached the point where I don't care so much what others think about me.
Mothering Magazine was invaluable to me in raising my kids.
Hi, and welcome!!
I love that part about not caring so much about what others think of me -- or what I think they're thinking of me, know what I mean? It's more like my kids raised me, and I'm more confident now that they're older. I sometimes wish I'd waited to have them (and I was 26 with our first, 29 with our second), because I've learned so much and made so many mistakes, but then I learned from the mistakes, and it becomes kind of a chicken egg thing.
So are your sons away for the most part, or are any of them still at home?
My sons are college age and one in HS. After homeschooling youngest now attends a boarding school on the other coast! It's amazing how much energy/stress/worry even the kids away from home can be at times- I suppose others can relate...
Cat, we're doing the opposite-coast kid thing here too. We're in the northeastern U.S., DS1 went to school in Oregon, and DS2 starts his junior year at college in southern California this fall. DS1 graduated and is moving, but to a city within driving distance. DH and are are beyond excited about helping with a move that doesn't involve plane tickets and rushed use of a U-Haul. How do you like getting phone calls based on *their* time zone? :-)
Maria, that's funny because we live in Washington State and our kids are in Concord, NH and Providence, RI. Our middle son is home from Anne Arbor, MI.
So we are involved with a sort of reverse-commute compared to you.
So far we have no college grads. I am happy for you and your DH about your son's move. I worry that my three will end up all over the country, if not the earth. I want them all a few blocks away from me! :)
I know, the time difference can be frustrating sometimes!
I think the most difficult part for me is that I don't really know what is happening in their lives unless they tell me. This is great as far as their independence goes, but sometimes they need help and I feel inadequate because of the distance. Can you relate to that? Maria or anyone?
Yeah, relationships sure do change with kids living time zones away. I talked for an hour last night with ElderSon (31, with 2 kids 4 & 6, and recently retired from the Army). He has a good but meaningless job (supervisor at some huge factory) and is thinking of looking into a career as a police officer. I hesitated to support that plan, as my picture of him includes an unpredictable, volatile temper. But talking about it, it suddenly occurred to me that I only really know his teenaged self. It has been many years since we lived together - of course he has matured in that time! Two kids, 4 deployments, and 14 years can certainly have an impact! It is hard to explain the feeling that I hardly know the man he has become. And yet on a deep visceral level, I know him as well as I know myself.
On the subject of elderly parents, I have to keep readjusting my internal picture of my Mom, 94, as well. In some ways, she is still alert and vital. On another level, she is making bad decisions, money-wise especially. But she is together enough to want (need) to be independent and helpful. It is her money, and after the bills are paid, I try not to interfere. But it is sad to see all the useless junk she orders from catalogs for friends and family who neither want nor need any of this stuff. Then she spends even more to mail the junk across the country, and even internationally. Sigh...
I think the worst thing for me is when they're sick or hurt -- it's probably at least a day before I'd be able to get out there; so far, I haven't had to do that. DS1 got swine flu October of his freshman year but was able to ride it out in his dorm room. No need to do anything but an outpatient visit to the school infirmary. When he hurt himself late this senior year it was both better and worse. Off-campus this time, so less of a structured safety net, but friends willing and able to help with groceries, rides, etc. if needed. We did have a couple of days of me being ready to fly out in case it was worse than it seemed.
The long-distance stress is hard, too -- when they're struggling, I mean. Mine tend to need us more as sounding boards than advisers, so we hear them out and encourage them to approach whatever resources they have. The nice thing is knowing they've each had someone they felt able to ask for help. It's a variation of independence, I guess, because DH and I wanted them to feel good about the people around them as well as us when they ran into trouble.
What would often happen is one or the other would bring their worries to us in a couple-hour phone / skype / or IM chat. Then we'd get going, DH and I would carry the weight, and the son in question would be feeling a lot better -- but we wouldn't know, because it would be a couple days or more before they got back in touch.
This is a huge change from knowing a lot more about their day-to-day lives, and it took a lot of getting used to.
Hi all, I just posted a couple of weeks ago about a group of mamas over 40 and someone linked me to this group. I just turned 40 in May and I am a mama to 4 boys, 11yo down to 5yo. Two years apart in age. I just kinda wanted to find a place where I could talk with other mamas about changes in their life and with the kiddos. Glad to find you all!!
Welcome - and glad you found us. Things have been pretty quiet lately, but maybe we will get revved back up!
Hi! Have you seen the "Preteens and Teens" subforum? http://www.mothering.com/community/f/39/preteens-and-teens That's a fun one . . . though DS2 spoiled it for me by turning 20 this past year. I've found the older my kids get, the more meaningful the ideals here on MDC become. Welcome!