Anyone who has grown children will tell those of us with small children, “Don’t blink! It goes by so fast.” Well, I’m here as an example of someone who, after 6 years of being a mom, made the tough decision to quit a career so I could stop blinking.
It didn’t work.
My oldest is now done with elementary school, and despite the fact that I’m now a stay-at-home, it still went by too fast. I realized, as she walked out of the doors of her school for the last time as a student, I have absolutely no control in the passing of time. I have no say in how fast or slow it goes.
I wish we could come up with a better saying to make parents feel better about the fleeting moments before your children become adults. I don’t believe there is any way to avoid the speed at which time moves. We have to just suck it up and know that the facts are the facts.
IF your child leaves you right when they turn 18, parents have 6570 days to spend with our child at home. But wait! They have school, which takes that number of days down to 4230.
Now, what about sleep? I just made myself laugh a little. Sleep? That stops when the baby comes. However, let’s just say, over their lifetime, they get 8 hours of sleep a night.
We are down to 2040 days with our kid(s). I went to school to be a journalist, not a mathematician, so I’m going to stop here. Frankly, I’m not sure I’m correct about these stats. Plus, we have so many other factors, like extracurricular activities and visits to friends or family, we could use.
My point is, blinking does not take away days. Not blinking doesn’t add days. Regardless of how hard we try to keep them young and close, they are going to grow and leave.
Unless your child ends up like a growing number of millennials who are staying at home. Then, you may get to add more days to your tally. Check out the stats on how many are staying home here!
I always joke with my kids that they can live here forever. They can get married, have kids, and stay in the guest room.
However, the cold hard fact is that if that happens, Jason and I haven’t done our jobs of getting them ready to leave the nest. Don’t get me wrong, if they need a place to stay right after college, I will do the happy dance. The truth is, though, at some point, they need to be able to fend for themselves.
I need to be able to let them go. Full disclosure, that may be harder to do than preparing them to leave. Many of you already know that about me.
I love a challenge, though, so I’ve embraced the one where our girls will want to leave us. They will want to earn their own way, and buy their own things.
For instance, this week, our oldest has been begging us to buy her an on-line game. The game is more expensive than any other, but it’s not terribly expensive, and it is wicked cool. I mean, the graphics on this thing are amazing. I think the game is one of the best I’ve seen.
We told her to earn her money by doing chores, and she can buy the game in 3-4 weeks. HUGE TEARS! She is begging, and pleading, and crying. “Please, buy the game and I’ll pay you back in 3-4 weeks.” In our world, that doesn’t work. We aren’t giving in. I am heartbroken for her. I know she would pay us back. She has done it before now. She wanted to buy one of her closest friends a necklace at the zoo. She didn’t have any money, but begged me to let her pay me back. Since it was a sweet gift for a friend, I couldn’t hold up. I let her owe me. She paid me back pretty quickly.
However, my husband and I know that if we keep doing that, she won’t understand what it is like to earn money before spending it. So, the tears and begging continue, as the mess in our house grows. We’ll see if she ever gets this game. I hope so, I wouldn’t mind checking it out.
Something many of you may not know about me is, I was so bad with money when I struck out on my own, that at one point my car was repossessed. At the time, I was making beginning TV journalist wages, and believe me, they are often at the poverty line. I was renting a little one bedroom apartment, and don’t believe I was living beyond my means. However, the night they came and took my car, I realized, something needed to change. I got help from a really great group of credit counselors, became debt free, with the exception of college loans, in 3 years, and I now have one credit card. I won’t get more than that one. I was in a dark place for years, feeling like a failure, but I learned so much at the ripe old age of 26. I want our girls to know how to budget and stay within their means BEFORE they leave our home.
So, back to my beginning point. Raising kids only happens for parents during a certain amount of time. Blinking, not blinking, it really doesn’t matter. It is long on some days, but really short overall. We can’t stop time, and believe me, I’ve wished for that power. Every birthday candle blown out since I’ve been a mom includes that wish.
So, they are going to grow up and leave us. The best thing we can do is work to make the transition away from us as smooth as possible for them.
Now if there was only a way to make it smooth for me. I swear, I did stop blinking.