I checked my phone in the middle of the night. There were only social media and email notifications. Not what I was looking for.

What I was looking for was a “Thanks, Mom, I love you,” or at least an “I love you, too” from my older kids no longer sleeping under my roof. As a parent of a two young adults, a college kid, and one high schooler, communicating with the kids away from home is a lonely place. At least I can still make my high schooler respond to texts or guilt him into responding with some kind of mushy words to acknowledge my existence.

Teens tell you long before they walk across that graduation stage that they’re not your little kid anymore. They want independence. They need autonomy. That’s why they let you know you’re irritating them with every little text and phone call you make, wondering if they’re thinking of you as much as you’re thinking of them.

Oh, maybe that’s why there weren’t any text messages that night. I went to bed with them on my mind. They probably read that text saying Mom was praying for them and loved them while they were doing important stuff with their friends.

They didn’t go to bed with me on their mind.

How dare they.  That’s how it should be.

As a mom, I still have daydreams of mushy connections, kids who rise up and call me blessed, and all that other stuff you’re supposed to get when your kids become adults (at least that’s how the dream goes). You really just want them to call, text, or say “hey!” just because you’re the most fabulous person in their life. 

These are growing pains as your kids grow up, whether they are teens or young adults. Though I wrote the book on all of this, here are 20 truths I’m continuing to learn as a fledging mom.

  1. If your kids are productive, healthy, active citizens in their college or work world, be thankful.
  2. If your kids have good, healthy relationships in addition to you, be thankful.
  3. If your kids talk to and text their siblings instead of you, be thankful.
  4. If your kids need space from you but still desire relationship, be thankful.
  5. Give them space. 
  6. Don’t send them weepy Snapchats or the ones with voice-changers (for some reason, they don’t like this).
  7. Read Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind and talk to other weepy and weird moms in this stage of life, maybe in a book club or for a big estrogen fest.
  8. Respect their pushback–with boundaries.
  9. Give them space.
  10. Let them figure things out on their own.
  11. Listen to them if there’s a real reason they’re avoiding you. Don’t assume you know all about it. Seek to understand.
  12. Ask forgiveness if you’ve wronged them.
  13. Give them space.
  14. Don’t be a doormat, but roll out the welcome mat when they come home.
  15. Check in with them even when they don’t respond. Tell them you love them. You don’t know what they’re going through on the other end.
  16. Give yourself space to grieve relationship changes and your changing parental role.
  17. Give yourself grace when you feel like an old, worn out shoe. 
  18. Use your new time and energy for self-care. Read the chapters in Fledge for how to do this. Get a girlfriend on board and make sure you do.
  19. Don’t hover or awkwardly stand around.
  20. Cry when you need to. (It’s called Mom Grief. It’s Chapter One and moms cry the whole way through).

The transition from teen to college to young adult is the most awkward time in your parenting life, at least up until this point. That’s why I wrote Fledge. For me. And you, because with every child that transitions from dependence to independence, you’re transitioning, too.

Growing pains is what you call it. And it stinks. And you’ll get through it.

Does this resonate with you? Join the Fledge Parent Forum and join us for stuff like this, weekly broadcasts, and old fashioned commiserating! But I’d love to hear from you. Does anything in this resonate with you? Comment below!

Also, if you love Fledge,  get it as a gift for a friend, mom, daughter, or one you’re mentoring for Mother’s Day! Order here.

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