I wrote this when my son graduated college and was starting in his adult career. I realized I had lost control over his life choices and it was time for me to let go.
As an empty nester, there are times I wish I had more control over my kids’ lives. I don’t have much anymore. I remember the days when they’d actually do what I asked them. They believed the same way I did about everything including religion, politics and what books to read.
They watched the movies I’d check out from the library, and because I picked them out, they loved them. One day my son asked, “Mom, do they make movies without singing and dancing?” Yikes. I guess I was a little too into the classic musicals. I am happy, though, that my kids got to share that part of Americana. Many millennials never learned the words to On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe from “The Harvey Girls.” My aunt was surprised while visiting us when my son invited her to watch a movie. She was expecting Disney or Barney. She was thrilled to watch “Meet Me in St. Louis” with him.
Somewhere along the line of those perfect days, I lost control. Today, my kids have their own opinions about religion, politics, and life in general that aren’t exactly the same as mine. For example, I want to tell my son to pursue a career in business or law. My husband and I send him job openings in the Bay area, where he’s currently living. (FYI, We don’t want him to live that far away. We don’t like how expensive it is. It’s all wrong to us.)
Does he listen? He’s polite. Every time I text an employment opportunity, he thanks me and says, “that’s a good idea.” Then he goes and applies to one of the worst school districts where the standardized test scores are 2 in math and 7 in English. He decides to teach instead of what I want him to do—and in one of the most difficult situations possible. He thinks it will be a challenge.
I can’t stop him. He’ll have to live his own life and learn his own life lessons. There’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. So, I guess I need to learn to let go since I’ve lost control anyway. I am proud that he’s an adult with his own dreams and goals.
UPDATE: The teaching career ended and our son went into business jobs. He’s loving the job and company he’s working for and also wants to pursue a masters degree in data science. We’ve tried to stay out of his decisions and only offer advice when he asks. He’s making a great life without us telling him what to do! Imagine that?
What is your reaction when your kids make choices you disagree with?
I have experienced this too.
I accept decisions and choices that are different than what I would prefer – my goal is always to nurture respectful and loving relationships, and I think that is what our children desire as well. 🤗
It easier to accept their choices as they get older. I had a lot more problem letting go when they were just out of our home.
Yes, for sure, that seems to be the case for many of us. You have raised fine young adults. ⚘🌼
Thank you for you nice comment.
I am ashamed to say that it was hurtful in the earlier years. (18-24) I took it personally. But… I am proud to say that I now expect our differences, and I am so proud of the choices she’s made (almost 30 now) ***Disclaimer – I’m talking about my baby sister that I was responsible for. My son is only two🌺
Thanks for commenting. Your son will benefit from your experience.
the little farts always do what they want to do, but isn’t that what we did? It is the hardest thing to do is to firmly press your lips together and not let the words out that are trying to burst through. All we can do is LOVE them! That will come back to you in buckets.
Great comment. Yes, that’s exactly what we did. I moved out of state to live with a man my parents didn’t know. And 30 years later we’re still married and raised a family.