As a mom with her first child going into her senior year of high school, I had been trying to decide how I was going to handle all of the emotions and upcoming changes— not necessarily for my daughter, but for me.
We are helping her apply for scholarships, preparing college applications, filling out financial aid paperwork, and deciding on final high school classes. I had read articles about how I might be fighting with my teenager and angry all the time, and how that is supposed to make it easier for us to separate once college hits. However, while we do argue at times, I still absolutely adore my teenager. It seems like this would be a good thing, but it’s making it very hard for me to let go.
There are many things written about preparing kids for college. There is so much information about making sure they get the best education, grades, homework, extracurriculars, volunteer hours, and teaching them to be kind and work well with a team. But what I really need is a support group for fellow “first time moms of seniors” that are going through just as many new emotions from the upcoming changes as their teenagers surely are. Working myself out of a job is the goal, but I’m not ready for that goal to have come so quickly.
I start out my day driving to work and feel like I’ve got a handle on my emotions. I think that maybe I am getting used to this idea of senior year. But on my way home, a song plays on the radio about how quickly time goes and the tears slip out from nowhere. Dang! I had control of my emotions for about one hot second and then they won.
Middle school seemed to drag on, but high school was a blink. While we run around trying to make sure our kids learn everything they need, we miss the fact that once they learn it, they don’t need us. Just because that’s how it’s supposed to be, doesn’t mean it’s easy.
I was listening to my oldest tell me about a problem she was dealing with at school, and I immediately went into problem-solving mode. My sweet girl told me, “Mom, sometimes I just need to vent and have you be here and listen. There are very few things I actually need you to fix for me, and I’ll let you know when I need that.”
What?! I’m not needed to fix things? And how had she become so aware of what she needs that she can explain it so simply to me? I’m the mom. I should have already known this.
I love that my girls are self-sufficient. We started that training purposely when they were very young. But I am having a hard time with the fact that they will actually leave my house sometime in the way–too–near future.
My girls have witty humor, burst into song when the right note is heard, and quote favorite shows and movies. They make me laugh until I cry and steal clothes from my closet, which I never seem to get back. They cook better than I do, and one even cleans as well, or better, than I do.
Don’t get me wrong. We all have our moments when we’re tearing our hair out, yelling, and can’t figure out what we should be doing or why things aren’t going how we want. But 80% of the time, it’s wonderful at our house.
We’re messy, loud, crazy, and lazy at times. We have a million family traditions that I will continue to push upon them, even when they do move out. And I will miss the days when it’s just the four of us all under one roof. But these sweet girls that we’ve spent years raising are going to leave me. And I am trying to not take it personally.
So, my goal is to see how well I do as we go through this senior year. I’m hoping to get my emotions under control and to not overwhelm my daughter with my need to be over-organized as she creates her own way and I work myself out of a job.
QUESTION: How did or do you handle “working yourself out of a job?” Does it get easier the second time around?
CHALLENGE: Teenagers are a lot of fun, but they are very busy. Take time to stop and soak in the little moments with them.
Edited by Nollie Haws & Kimberly Price
This article was written about the author’s experience the previous year.