Single-parenting is one of those roles that devours your energy like an insatiable beast. I remember feeling stretched to my limit, wondering how I would possibly get up and do it all over again the next day. Looking back, I think–how did I?
I remember being told “the days may sometimes seem like they are eternal, but the years fly by quickly.”
No truer words have ever been spoken. You do what you have to do, and then get up and do it again. Looking back, I am grateful for the quality time I was able to have with my kids. Those years of parenting now provide me with the deepest sense of purpose imaginable.
As my kids, Zach and Kyleigh, have grown and become more self-reliant, our relationship has naturally shifted.The parenting process of guiding my children to become healthy, happy, functioning adults has come full circle. Letting go and encouraging their independence has been part of the journey, leading to our new bond based in equality and friendship.
The past ten years have been a gradual process of my kids graduating high school, leaving for college, and moving away. Reality, and a bit of the empty nest syndrome, hit home for me when my youngest left for college. I came up with a list of the positive aspects of having the home to myself, mainly to make myself feel better! Here are a few of my observations on these changes:
1. Less Mess
Stating the obvious, I know. However, it really is nice to come out of my room in the morning and not have to clean up after anyone. I remember the time I came out to the smell of burnt something, I madly searched for a smoldering fire, only to discover a pizza had been left in the oven too long. If there had been a fire, somebody had put it out before morning. Despite the occasional evidence of the shenanigans my cats were up to that night, things are how I left them.
2. More Me Time
I used to spend more time cleaning, cooking, and shopping, among other things. Chauffeuring my kids here and there was time-consuming! Obviously, I have more time to fulfill my own needs and wants now. How each of us spends this time is a personal choice. I have more time to paint, travel, hike, and have an occasional glass of wine with friends. And, of course, I started this blog–something I never would have thought about doing as a single mom working full-time and raising two kids.
3. Fewer Worries
Fewer responsibilities mean fewer worries. No longer do I spend time and energy waiting up for teenagers to pull in the driveway late at night. I am not anxiously coming home after work to find out how the speech that we practiced the evening before went that day. Nor do I worry about mean kids bullying my son, or my daughter’s catty friends deciding to turn on her (middle school years).
4. New Perspective
Just like other areas of my life, I realize I took my relationship with my kids for granted at times when they lived at home. This is a natural consequence of day-to-day life stress and commitments. I appreciate my kids more now, and am grateful for the time I spend with them, and the amazing adults they have become.
The best part of having adult children is the friendship we share. With less responsibility, I have more energy and time to focus on a deeper friendship with Zach and Kyleigh. We enjoy many of the same things; time together is about quality rather than quantity. I take plenty of road trips to see them, and my door is always open for any spontaneous visits they may bless me with!
Share your insight on life with adult children in the comments below!
Till next time–Sandra