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Cutting the apron strings

(25 Posts)
aquafish Mon 07-Sep-20 07:51:59

I’m putting this out there to test the waters over separation anxiety with your own adult children. Does anyone else feel an unhealthy anxiety about cutting the apron strings once & for all to let your middle-aged offspring lead their own lives without your influence? Im currently feeling very insecure at the prospect of DD & DGC making a permanent move to France to live close to the French inlaws. Also DS currently 250 miles away moving further South to a less accessible countryside area. I feel like they are both escaping me despite having good close relationships with both. I know I should fight the feelings of loss but Im just overwhelmed with it & can’t see a future role for myself in the family. Im normally a busy person volunteering & gym groups etc but all gone due to Covid. Any advice welcome please.

Marydoll Mon 07-Sep-20 08:05:12

This may sound harsh, but I'm afraid, that they are adults now and as much as it hurts, you have to let them go.
It's natural to worry, but you won't always be here, so let them develop their own lives, independent of you.
There is nothing to stop you visiting them.

silverlining48 Mon 07-Sep-20 08:16:32

It’s hard and I understand as one of my two lives abroad so visits are few and far between given their work commitment etc.
Difficult times at present but once life returns to a semblance of normal your activities will pick up and yes you can visit, but when our children move to another country it isn’t easy but you will ( have) to get used to it.
I spent the first 8 years hoping she would come back. She hasn’t, it’s their life and we have to let them go. Keep busy, it helps.

Calendargirl Mon 07-Sep-20 08:20:00

My DD lives in Australia, I often wish I could help her more and just be there for mum and daughter chats, but I can’t.

It’s life.

trustgone4sure Mon 07-Sep-20 08:23:12

You will stil be their mother no matter how far away they are.
They love you and more than likely feel the same .
Thats life.

janeainsworth Mon 07-Sep-20 08:40:17

Aquafish Does anyone else feel an unhealthy anxiety about cutting the apron strings once & for all to let your middle-aged offspring lead their own lives without your influence?
Anxiety about adult DC is normal, unless it’s debilitating and overtaking one’s own life.

But trying to influence their lives isn’t healthy, in my view.
I try to support my DC as much as I can, but their decisions are theirs, not mine.
Yes it is hard when DC and DGC live abroad. FaceTime etc are a poor substitute for proper regular contact, though better than nothing.
One thing I do recommend, if your GDC are old enough, are proper, old-fashioned letters. These seem to forge a closer relationship than text messages and the children love them. And there’s nothing like getting a reply!
I hope things work out for you.

EllanVannin Mon 07-Sep-20 10:48:58

Their lives ! Keep yourself occupied. Time will heal.

H1954 Mon 07-Sep-20 10:53:12

My Mum used to quote a phrase; "Hold someone back and lose then forever"!

Grandmabatty Mon 07-Sep-20 11:28:51

This reads more about you and your perceived loss than about the exciting next stage in your adult children's lives. Don't try to 'influence' them but enjoy any time spent with them. Their lives,, their choices. I don't mean this unkindly but you need to live more for you.

aquafish Mon 07-Sep-20 11:49:50

Thanks a lot to everyone for those pearls of wisdom, just what I needed to wake up & smell the coffee before it’s too late. It’s not all about me as ^grandmabatty ^points out, but their precious future. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction- keep ‘em coming girls!

Smileless2012 Mon 07-Sep-20 11:56:57

Our DS lives in Australia Calendargirl and we miss him terribly.

There's nothing wrong about feeling anxious aquafish that will cease I'm sure when you know they are happy and settled.
DS loves his life and we are so proud of what he's managed to achieve; just wish it could have been a little closer to home.

JackyB Mon 07-Sep-20 12:04:51

I did it to my parents. I have lived abroad since I was 19. As far as I know, they were proud of my and my sister's achievements. They brought us up to live our own lives. My children, too, now live a long way away, although the young family who were in the USA for 5 years have now returned.

It seems normal to me.

Loads of Gransnetters have families distributed all over the globe.

When your son married a French girl, surely you were aware that their moving abroad could be on the books.

You don't mention if your husband is still with you.

It is an unfortunate coincidence that both your children are moving further away at the same time. Make definite arrangements to skype/facetime and use all possible means to keep in touch.

Use your newly won spare time to improve your French, as the DGD will be speaking more French now, and, hopefully, you will be able to visit them at some point.

To keep up their English, however, you ought to only ever speak English when you are talking to them, and supply them with books, comics etc by post. (check with the parents what to send)

HTH.

sodapop Mon 07-Sep-20 12:24:45

The other way around here, I moved to France to get away from them grin ( only joking)

It's good to know our families are getting on with their lives and feel they can be independent of their parents, we have then done our job well. Time to make a life for yourself now aquafish so much to enjoy out there when the Covid situation is easier of course. Good idea from JackyB about learning French.

jeanie99 Tue 08-Sep-20 01:59:22

We have our children and bring them up to be responsible independent decent human beings, then our job is done.
If we end up still having a close relationship with them after they leave home great. Our adult children live many miles away but because of technology we still are in touch with them regularly and visit each other.

Nonogran Wed 09-Sep-20 13:43:58

"Our children are only on loan to us." Says it all really.

M0nica Wed 09-Sep-20 15:49:16

The aim of every parent should be to bring up children to be independent and fly the nest as soon as they can. They should also bring themselves up to be prepared to cut the strings and let them fly as soon as possible.

Once mine went to university, while we were there as a back up as they fledged their wings, all we ever did was stroke their ruffled feathers and threw them out the window again.

The result is free independent children, DS and family live 200 miles away. We are in regular contact and when households were able to meet, the first thing they did was come down south to spend a week with us.

You keep your children by letting them go free.

ValerieF Mon 14-Sep-20 18:39:50

I was the opposite. My adult daughter had the chance to move to Canada for work. Was an amazing opportunity (not necessarily permanent) Except she didn't want to go! She couldn't bear the thought of leaving us here! I told her to 'go' make the most of it. I would have missed her dreadfully but I wished I had had the same opportunity when I was younger. She didn't go but that was her choice.

Personally, I would put on a brave face, accept France is totally accessible (well in 'normal' times) Skype and such like make it easier and actually is no further than moving from the north of Scotland to England (which is what I did)

The plus side is you have a fabulous place to go on holidays.

Fuchsiarose Mon 14-Sep-20 22:35:21

Your very lucky. Mine has failure to launch syndrome and we worry about how her life will be when we die. I wish I had an independent happy adult kid.

NotTooOld Mon 14-Sep-20 22:40:42

Aquafish - your feeling are very understandable. You'll feel better when you can get back to your normal busy life. In fact, we all will!

NotTooOld Mon 14-Sep-20 22:41:26

Fuchsiroae - 'failure to launch syndrome'! grin

NotTooOld Mon 14-Sep-20 22:42:08

Sorry - Fuchsiarose.

Luckygirl Mon 14-Sep-20 23:08:47

aquafish - this is a new phase of life and, just as we had to adapt to leaving school, starting a job, being a spouse, becoming a mother etc. etc., we have to adapt to this.

All my children have flown the nest, my OH died this year and my role as regular carer to my GC has stopped because of the virus. What is the point of me? What is my role? These are the questions that I and many others are forced to ask themselves.

My answer, in the absence of anything more positive yet, is that my role is to not make my family have to worry about me. To grit the teeth and carry on; to smile and encourage them to enjoy their lives. You can help them do that by developing a new life for yourself so that they can see that you are not emotionally dependent on them.

I am hoping that something a bit more positive will come along as time goes by and we all adapt to a covid life, because that is not going away anytime soon.

M0nica Tue 15-Sep-20 20:22:28

I think too many women only see themselves through their domestic roles.

Luckygirl wrote All my children have flown the nest, my OH died this year and my role as regular carer to my GC has stopped because of the virus. What is the point of me?

There surely has been much more to you than just that one family role. I have many other roles. I am involved in a research project, I was out today to visit someone who was giving the archaeological society I am a longtime member a whole set of documents relating to our early history, I have a role there, I belong to other societies where I play an active part, I have friends old and new.

All these are aspects of myself and roles I have other than that of being, mother, grandmother and wife. if one role goes, another fills its space.

GrannySomerset Tue 15-Sep-20 23:25:01

I realised that DD was truly adult when she married and used her husband as a sounding board rather than me. I missed the role but was delighted she had found the right person. She still runs some things past me so I am not so much redundant as just one of the people she talks to.

As Monica so rightly says, we have a collection of personas which change and evolve over time. I have evolved into DH’s carer, which I wouldn’t have chosen but it is not the total of who I am.

tidyskatemum Tue 15-Sep-20 23:39:33

Totally agree with M0nica We brought up our kids to be independent and now have DD in Thailand and DS in USA, all making the most of life with no regrets all round. And great holidays when Covid subsides! I can never get my head round people who wail about their DC moving even a few miles away. Your DC have their lives to lead. We have ours and it shouldn’t be dependent on them.