How I’m handling my baby leaving the nest…
I have exactly a month from today before I take my oldest baby, ok my 18 year old *insert mommy face*, to New York for his first year of college. Yes, 3000 miles from home! He was accepted to the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts (NYCDA), a college known for its hard auditions.
Thousands audition from across the world, and only 180 are accepted per semester. It’s a huge deal, and I am so proud of him. He has wanted to sing and act since he was 4 years old and has wanted to attend NYCDA since his sophomore year in high school. He now gets to live out his dreams.
Needless to say, this will be a transition for the both of us, actually for the three of us; it has always been him, his brother and me. We have been the “three amigos” (as they’ve named us) for 13 years.
They’ve been my cheerleaders through a lot; they’ve taught me how to control my emotions and live freely.
My boys have been a big part of my life, and now it’s time to let one leave the nest and grow up.
This is when I get to see all the advice, encouragement, corrections and love I imparted into him come into play. I get to see him spread his wings and make his dreams come to reality.
I’ve been preparing myself for this day for quite some time. I remember when I graduated from high school and left to go the Army; it was devastating for my mom to see her “life” leave. For 18 years it was always me and her; I’m the only child of a single mother and we did everything together, and that made us close. I loved our relationship because it opened up a communication between us that was special and became the foundation of my relationships with my boys. I wouldn’t trade what we had for anything in the world.
My leaving did, however, cause separation anxiety in my mom, and THAT was a feeling I didn’t wanted to go through. I didn’t want to have separation anxiety; instead I wanted to be ok when my kids “left”.
I wanted to celebrate their new adventure, not despise it. I had to make a decision; I decided I was going to “have a life” outside my children and encourage them to do the same when it came to me.
My boys and I did a lot of things together when they were growing up. We traveled, talked, bonded, learned and lived, but we also took the time to hang out with our friends. I remained Jeanelle, and they remained individuals too.
It’s important to remain You when you’re a mother. We begin looking at ourselves as “mom” and we are more than titles!
You are *insert your name here*! You were you before you became a mom and it’s time to get you back, even if you’re still raising your babies. It doesn’t take a lot to have a life, sometimes I do simple things like take a drive by myself so that I’m ONLY Jeanelle; it’s my time where there’s no “mom” questions, no “business woman” questions, nothing…I’m just Jeanelle and I love it. Figure out what you love to do, big or small and do it.
Remembering that I’m Jeanelle FIRST helped me for this very chapter in my life. It gave me the freedom to see myself as more than a mom, I’m every woman, and it’s all in me AND in you too. I have come to grips with the fact that I won’t see my oldest baby everyday and most likely, after the newness of the move wears off, I probably won’t hear from him as often either.
I know I’ll have days in the beginning that are more emotional than others, but if I keep busy with my stuff, I won’t have time to be concerned with his. I’ve got to trust that I’ve done my best as a parent and believe all will be well with him. I’m going to truly miss my oldest baby, but He’s got a new chapter in life he’s got to start living, and so do I. So, I guess it’s time for us both to leave the nest!
Have you experienced a child leaving the nest? If not, have you thought about what it will be like?
This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Dr. Jeanelle Marshawn Lanham, aka The SWAG Doc, of Arizona, USA. You can also find her on her blog, The SWAG Doc.
Photo credit to the author.
Great post, Jeanelle. My boys are only 6 and 8, so I have some time to go before I have to worry about this. I do sometimes wonder what it will be like, though. My oldest has autism, and at this point it’s impossible to predict the extent to which he will be able to live independently. Whether he moves out on his own or goes to a group home of some kind, I imagine that letting him go will be excruciating for me. Seeing my younger son go, will, I am sure, result in a completely different set of worries.
Your son must be so talented to have been accepted into the program. You must be immensely proud. I hope this is all he ever dreamed about.
Thank you for commenting on my post. I sometimes wish my kids were still that age. I’ll miss him but I’ve got to believe he will remember what I’ve taught him.
If and when your oldest leaves you’ll be more prepared than you think because you’ll have seen his progression knowing he’ll be ok!
And when your youngest leaves you’ll know the same! You’re a special mom!
It was strange — I had a tinge of what your mom may have felt when you left, and I was really moved by this post. I think “keeping yourself you” is something that will stick with me. I think so many mothers can really relate — we get so wrapped up in our kids that we always come last, including our own identities.
And, by the way, pass my congratulations over to your son on his acceptance to his dream school!! 🙂
So glad you’re writing with us!
Yes we mothers sometimes forget that we are more than a mom. It took me practicing to “remain me” to get the hang if it but I think I’ve got it now, lol.
First, congratulations to your talented son…and to you for helping him achieve this amazing opportunity!
This post hit me right in the heart (in a good way!). I am a stay at home mom with 2 sons, 5 years and 1 year old. I got teary eyed reading your post just thinking about the day I need to send my babies off. The first step will be my 5 year old starting kindergarten this fall. I know that I will sob after sending him onto the bus for the first time, but I always try to remember to celebrate each phase of life, and I am so excited for him to take this step. He is so ready and will do great!
You also gave a great reminder to remember to be our adult selves. I had to remind myself of that just last night. I play soccer on a co-ed team with friends on Monday nights. This past Sunday night was rough, as I slept with my 5 year old, helping him cope with a stomach bug. Then my little one decided to start the day at 5AM. We had a busy day planned (I am a stay at home mom), and then my game wasn’t until 9:25 PM that night across town. I was so tired and part of me just wanted to crawl into bed. But I also knew this was my time of the week just for me, and I needed to rally and make it happen. Our team won and I played a good game despite running on fumes. While I am physically beat today, I am mentally in a much better place for having that “me” time.
I found this post so affirming and positive, and I look forward to hearing more from you.
Oops…just saw how I wrote 2x that I am a stay at home mom. Not trying to overstate that…just tired and not proofreading well 😉
Tara that’s awesome! I’m proud of you for rallying up the strength to go! That shows me that you’ll do just fine when your baby goes to kindergarten!
Congrats on the game!!! Way to go!
Jeanelle, I really loved this post. You were inspirational, supportive, personal and proud. It made me proud to. Proud for the challenges you’ve tackled, proud for the children you’re raising, proud of the mother you’ve been and proud to be writing on WMB with you.
Like Tara, I send my oldest off to Kindergarten this fall. It’s a day I’ve been looking forward to more often than not for the past three or four years but it’s also steeped in sentiment. Turning 5 is a turning point in child development, coordination, comprehension, logic and independence develop so much at five.
Staying at home to raise kids, it’s easy to get caught up in their lives; to lose our own identities and morph into theirs or to try to morph them into so many things we ourselves are not or did not get to do. It’s really important to hold on to pieces of our “former” selves and maintain a sense of being and independence as well. For some, it’s setting a goal like running a marathon, competing in a triathlon or even just completing a 5K For others, it’s maintaining professional endeavors while raising kids (whether through full-time, part-time or on-your-time jobs).
It’s also important to remember (when relevant) the person we had our kids with. I’ve seen a number of friends over the years who have gone off to college and within months their parents have divorced. They simply forgot who it was they had married and didn’t know one another once the kids were out of the nest.
Way to go on so may fronts and thanks for inspiring me!
Thank you! I appreciate your post a lot! And…You are so right! I have seen parents separate/divorce because they had no idea “who” or “what” they were as a couple and I didn’t want that, for me or our readers!
I’m so excited that I get to be a part of WMB and share my experiences!
Jeanelle, this was a great post! How very proud you must be of your son. I truly admire anyone that goes into college knowing which path they want to take. I bet it makes the journey a little easier, knowing what drives you, your passion. Congratulations to your son (and you, of course!!)
Thank you! And…You are right! Him knowing what he wants he can truly focus in school!
Hello Jeanelle! I love your post. I am amazed to read about you raising your boys as a single parent. Obviously you are a fabulous mom and have done a great job raising confident boys…a difficult task in today’s world. It scares me to even think of doing this with my husband let alone by myself. I look forward to reading more of your posts and learning about your life. 🙂 Welcome aboard WMB!
Thank you! Yes it was a lot raising them alone for 13 years but I wouldn’t trade it. There were times I cried about doing it alone but knew if I didn’t do Everything I could for them to succeed we wouldn’t be at this point. I’m glad I got the chance to raise such great boys!
Thank you for commenting ladies. I am so glad I’m part of the family.
Congratulations to your son!!!! What a fantastic accomplishment!! Seeing him following his dreams must be wonderful for both of you. Finding your passion in life is something that I hope for my kids. I think knowing what you want to do and what makes your heart beat is a huge part of being happy. Following it is another. 🙂 Your son has both!
I give you tons of credit for handling the “3000 miles” as well as you are. When our times comes, I hope to be as strong as you. Time will tell!
Best of luck to you all!!
What a bitter-sweet post! Our boys seem far away from leaving home – but if the next 10 years go as fast as the first 10 years of parenting, they’ll be gone before I blink…