I’m what I consider a 3rd stage parent. First stage parents are still raising their kids at home. So basically, they are parents to the “under 18” set. Kids much older than that who are not going to school and still living at home—well, they’re in a category all their own.
Then you come to Stage 2 parenting. In my family, this means the kids are out on their own , with the bucks from home. In other words, they went to college and we are footing the bill. At that point, you move along to being a “half-time” parent. You don’t have them with you every day. You are no longer setting all their rules or ensuring the rules are being followed. When it comes to your kids, this is really your first attempt at “letting them go and hope for the best”. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts. Sometimes no matter how many attempts you make, it just doesn’t take. You never stop running their lives.. or at least trying to.
The third stage is a tough one to get to, but gets easier as time goes on. This is when the kids are out on their own, pretty much self-supporting , and you have indeed learned to let go. At least enough so you are no longer trying to run their lives. Now you are their support system—you listen to their problems, but you don’t solve them. You may be watching their kids on a regular or occasional basis, but you aren’t raising them. You are no longer a full time parent. That job , which you’ve had for several decades? It just disappeared.
Great! Along with it went a big piece of stress, (although now instead of watching them make “kid” mistakes, you get to watch them make “adult” mistakes), and what you gained is a big, chunk of time. Congratulations! You just got your life back. You know how all those “experts” are always saying to be sure to “make time for you”? Well.. now’s the time! Great. You now have time for you.. Exactly what are you suppose to do with it?
If you have a hobby you’re passionate about , but have never been able to enjoy, you are now in golden territory. Pursue it to your heart’s content! Of course, I don’t have a hobby. So that’s not much help for me.
There’s always the path of “self improvement”. Loose some weight? (Lots of work..) Join a book discussion group? (um.. not likely. My tastes run to romantic suspense and mysteries, not drama and tragedies). Gardening? (that would be really cruel to perfectly healthy plants). Travel? (that’s too much time , not to mention money). Volunteer? (Ok.. maybe).
Well.. this is difficult. What did I do before I had my daughter. Oh.. yeah.. bars, parties and more bars. I think not. That doesn’t really interest me any more. I consider that definite progress in the maturity department.
Oh well. I guess there’s no real rush to figure this out. My daughter’s only been out on her own for five years or so. I’m sure I’ll get this figured out some time before she retires. At least I hope so.Share