Sawing through the apron strings

In the parenting journey, nothing has been quite so difficult for me as loosing the proverbial apron strings.

As I write this, my youngest is off to spend the rest of the week with relatives for an impromptu spring break  visit. I envy (yes, I’ll go so far as to use that word) those parents who are not attached to their teen and adult children by this psychosomatic umbilicus.

How do parents make the transition, especially with their sons? My daughter, who is married and expecting her first baby next month, has been an entirely different process. Perhaps because she’s female, and easier for me to relate to, the transition from child to woman has seemed more natural. Not easier, per say, but different.

The boys, however…
I hadn’t realized how neurotic I was about them until last weekend. We attended a gallery opening two hours away with my husband, two of our sons, and a multitude of their wee friends (who drove themselves). 

Besides asking for a text update every 20 minutes as to their location, upon arrival at the gallery I entered into “herding” mode. Instead of letting them wander among the antique cars, view the art, and enjoy the band playing outside, I was compelled to keep them all within constant view.  Remember, these “children” are all between the ages of 13 and 18. Most, if not all of them, can pick me up bodily and transport me from place to place.

My harping eventually aggravated even my preternaturally easygoing husband. “Could you stop obsessing about them and relax, please?”

photo by launceston_lad via PhotoRee

Obsessing? MOI??? I was obsessing? 
Well, yes. I was obsessing, I had to admit. And no, I couldn’t stop, even though I wanted to. I’m well-versed enough in psychology to know that when you WANT to stop doing something and can’t, you have a problem. I don’t know how to let them grow into the freedom of adulthood.

Mothers of grown children, how do you cope? 

How do you let them loose?

9 thoughts on “Sawing through the apron strings

  1. Unknown says:

    Clearly I cannot relate to your position yet. But as a child of parents currently expecting more than they should from this relationship – please, please for Pete's sake let go. Let them go! Otherwise you will be like a lead weight in their britches and they will be weary of you. My new parenting goal – for my children to not be sick to death of me by the time they are 30.

  2. Anne Mateer says:

    I'll admit I'm unusual. My apron strings have never been tied tight–though it has proved a bit more emotional letting go of my boys than my girl. But I really think my experience with this stems from my own parents. They loved us like crazy but truly held us with open hands, eager for the Lord to do what He would with our lives. And now I find myself doing the same. I'm not only eager to see what God will do with and through my kids, I'm eager to see what He has next in store for my life, too. For I know that while mothering has been a huge part of my calling, when my kids leave home He isn't leaving me on the shelf to gather dust. When I look at it that way it isn't about what I'm losing but what new thing is coming next.

  3. Niki Turner says:

    @Anne Mateer Thank you! It helps to see other perspectives on parenting, because all we have is what we grew up with. Mine were/are a bit overprotective, so I must come by it naturally.

  4. Jeanette Levellie says:

    Oh, dear. I could write a book on this topic. Don't worry, I didn't mean in this post!

    I had a rougher time letting go of my son, too. But for me, it boiled down to one thing: fear vs. trust. Did I really believe that God could protect, help and guide my son as well or better than I? And did I trust my son, that all we'd instilled in him, he'd not toss out the window the minute he was away from us?

    Fear is a monster. We have to confront it as we would a dreaded disease or a terrorist attack. Otherwise, we smother our kids and they don't want to be around us.

    The good news is, the Holy Spirit is eager to help us, set us free from every fear, and strengthen us to trust the Lord and our kids.

    Pray Psalm 91 and the prayers in Eph. 1 & 3 for them every day. Then tell that fear to skeedaddle, in Jesus' mighty Name. It has to bow its knee, according to Phil. 1. So there.

    Then enjoy your relationship with your kids, and they will thank you forever for being such a wonderful mom.

  5. Georgiana Daniels says:

    I LOVE the baby taped to the wall. Hilarious! My oldest is the one keeping the strings tied–I seem to be in no danger of her striking out on her own 😉 It's a good thing, to my mind, that she isn't raring to go quite yet, even if she IS 19.

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