Motherhood = Change

photo 1My baby graduated from high school on Saturday. How is that even possible?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that I brought all 9lbs 10oz of him home from the hospital?

He’s headed to Moody Bible Institute in the fall to pursue a degree in Communications.  He had originally planned on living at home for the next four years to attend community college and then finish up at the state university in our town. Then he decided to apply to Moody just days before the Spring application deadline.

When he got his acceptance letter my empty nest date moved from four years from now to three months from now.

Wait a minute!  I’m not ready for this!

Motherhood is synonymous with change.  Our job is to work ourselves out of a job. 

You had a baby three months ago and now she’s a toddler.

Your preschooler is headed to kindergarten next year.

Your 2nd grader will be a 3rd grader in a few months.

All your kids are now double digit ages.

You’ll have one in junior high next year.

Your 17-year-old is looking more like a young man than the boy who entered high school 3 years ago.

Things are a’changin right before your very eyes.

Sometimes there’s grief associated with change.  I’m experiencing some of that.  I have loved raising my family.  At the same time, I’ve been doing that for nearly 30 years!  I’m open to the possibilities and promises of the next season of life.

As we navigate the changes of parenthood, we have to resist becoming so entangled in the role that we feel rejected when our kids move on to the next season of their life. The changes in motherhood are actually a gain, rather than a loss. There’s progress to be celebrated! 

Your 4 year old dresses herself? Celebrate her independence! 

Your grade-schooler doesn’t ask for help with homework as much as he did last year? Celebrate his increasing responsibility!

Your junior higher spends alot of time with her best friend? Celebrate her ability to make friendships!

Your highschooler suddenly has a social life that includes missing family dinner on occasion or spending evenings with a special someone?  Celebrate the carefree years of high school that will never be returned to him! 

You’ve got one heading to college, or trade school, or getting a job and moving out on their own very soon? Celebrate their ability to spread their wings and fly! 

Our ability to navigate the changes of motherhood is directly affected by our perspective and the lens in which we view the change. Can we view it as a gain, rather than a loss?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned launching five little birds out of the nest, it’s that our kids always need their mom….no matter how old they are.  You and I are never really out of a job.

What about you? What changes are you navigating right now with your kids? 


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16 thoughts on “Motherhood = Change

  1. I am in the same boat only daughter leaving for college in Sept and feeling to loss of all of the “last” events. We just celebrated her 18th bday with all her friends here and realized next year and for the next 4 or 5 years we probably won’t be with her on her bday. I am trying to see all the positives of her leaving and starting college and all of the exciting things happening but i feel this deep sadness! I know it is normal to grieve, but I want to enjoy these next few months and share her joy and excitement! So I am looking for the positives and the things to be grateful for and praying for joy and excitement, but also allowing myself to feel and validate this time of loss.

  2. I have three sons. One that just graduated from high school and is going away to college, one that is graduating from 8th grade and one that is finishing grade school and entering junior high. So much change! I tend to be a nostalgic parent and long for the days when my boys still sat on my lap and snuggled. (Just between you and me, the two younger ones still do that on occasion.)
    Thanks for helping me focus on the positives in these changes!

  3. Our household is changing also…one son (child #4) graduated from Olivet Nazarene University and found a job two hours away, in the town where the college is. Twins (boy/girl) graduated from high school, and will be going to the same college two hours away…older brother is excited to be where they are. Twenty three year old daughter is moving back home…does not like living by herself! So a lot of changes…not quite the empty nest we expected but that is okay! My husband says we will never have an empty nest as we have five grandkids within five miles!

  4. My daughter is headed to high school this Fall. I’m so excited for all that this season brings with it, yet fully aware that the time I have left with her at home is short. I’m also looking ahead to the future and wondering what life after essentially being a stay-at-home mom will look like for my husband and me.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  5. My baby is starting basic training in Georgia. Sending him to college at ISU was no big deal. Having him in dangers way is another. We discussed. He prayed. He told me he felt it was God’s will. His name is Will. He IS God’s Will. Who am I to prevent God’s will in my son’s life, even if he is in danger. This is more than a little letting go, this is a faith issue. God please protect my son, the future helicopter pilot for the Army.

    • Susan, I felt that way when our son-in-love signed up for four years in the Army. It’s not easy to be a military mom. It will grow your faith for sure.

  6. My last of three, my “baby girl” is getting married this weekend. It is bittersweet because she is moving across the country for the next three years. I am so proud of her and the young woman she has become. She loves Jesus and her family and is a hard worker! I have been blessed! Prayers needed as I try to enjoy the moments this weekend!

    • Beth, I remember those feelings very well as each of my three older kids walked down the aisle. May you enjoy the moments to the fullest!

  7. OMGSH My Sweet Friend I am right there with you My baby Graduated the same day as yours just a few hours before yours. Still can’t wrap my head around having 2 college age children.

  8. Cherish every moment of every single one of those little things we experience as a mom because you never know when those memories may stop. I treasure all those memories so much now of Jacob and am so proud of all those changes he went through and that i was there to experience them with him. I’m glad I actually did act the way you’ve suggested…happy for his growth and maturity and happy for the things he got to experience instead of crying about them and wasting time being sad!!! I love reading your posts, very encouraging to me.

    • Maribeth, my heart breaks for you. Thank you for the reminder that we are never promised tomorrow and not to embrace the changes our kids go through.

  9. Your timing with this post was good. I actually have been struggling very deeply with this over the last year, and I feel like not many people understand. My children are still very young, and I love having them to raise. I really do enjoy the moments we have. But, as they go on to new ones, I do grieve the losses (i.e. kindergarten means no more relaxed days at home with mom and siblings). I don’t think it is because I don’t appreciate the kiddos; I appreciate them so much, it’s hard to move on to the next stages. I am really struggling with how to do that.

  10. Thank you Jill. I needed that. My kids are growing up so fast and often times I think where has the time went. I have one that will be turning nine in a few short weeks and the other one is six. Time sure flies by. I am so thankful for their growth spiritually, that they are both are healthy and growing good. This summer we are moving so I hope next fall that my two sons adjust well to their new home, school and find a few new good friends. That is what I worry about., but I know God is in Control. God Bless you and your family.

  11. Ohh….my twins will be heading into preschool this coming fall. I’ve cried and probably will some more because it is a hard thing….letting go. 🙁 Doing my best to relish in their season right now and just watch and be amazed as they do become more independent. Thanks for this article Jill!

    *I have to say that Rachel’s comment above about appreciating them so much…I think that is where I am also.