Monday, April 20, 2015

STOP COMPLAINING AND ENJOY THE PHASES - THANKS MOM!

I am often reminded of how lucky I was to have the mother I had...

The other day while reading a homeschool forum I came across an interesting post, a woman was complaining that she was tired of homeschooling her step-son and she wanted her life back.  Anytime someone with kids says they want their life back I just want to slap their face.  How do you separate yourself from your own child like that?  She wanted to get back to the days of her youth and travel the world.  Um… ok.

I think part of my frustration with people like that is they are whining about choices THEY have made.  This particular person was upset not only about homeschooling and losing her life but that the child wasn't even hers.  Well… she chose to marry a man with a child, she chose to homeschool him and she chose to give up her previous life for a new life as a step-mom.  Unless someone held a gun to her head I am pretty sure she made those choices. (Let's just skip the part where she could enroll the kid in public school, divorce the guy and travel the world - that's a choice too).

Reading posts like that or listening to people whine about the life they've chosen for themselves is exhausting so I avoid it if I can.  I left no comment on the forum because nothing I could write would resonate with that woman, she was too far down in the pool of self-pity.   But… reading that particular post reminded me of an elderly man I met not too long ago.

When I was moving my sister into her new place I ran into a talkative and very energetic elderly man in the parking garage, he was in his late 70's.  Sweetest guy!  Out of nowhere he starts telling me about his phases of life. It was the first time I've really heard someone define their life that way… in phases.  He told me he was on his fifth phase of life as a musician and gave me a brief description of the prior four.  In one of his phases of life he was a father and although we all know parenting can be somewhat life-long there is a particular phase where life is ALL about being a mom or dad.  You can have moments to yourself or hobbies that you enjoy but every decision or action you take directly affects your children so you don't make a single life choice without them in mind because THEY ARE YOUR LIFE.  There will be a phase when they are no longer your life because they will move on and create a life of their own, that will be one of "their" phases.  You might still consider them your life but in reality they are just PART of your life because now you are now able to choose to travel the world without making sure the kids have the proper vaccines, take road trips without stopping for pee breaks every 30 minutes or lay in bed for three days straight without worrying you have to feed anyone but yourself.  The problem with people is they don't embrace the phases they've chosen for themselves instead they spend a lot of time crying about them.  You also can't reclaim a life that has passed, you can only move foreword. Why is that difficult for some people?

My mother died 8 years ago yesterday.  She spent 40 years in the parenting phase, first raising me and my sister and then continuing to care for my disabled sister until she (my mom) died on April 19, 2007.   Not once did I ever hear my mom say "I want my life back" nor did she ever behave in a way that made us think she wanted a separate life from my sister and I, as she always said when we were growing up, "my children are my life."  At some point I am sure she would have been ready to enter another phase but she didn't get that chance.

My mom was a great role model, she embraced the life phases that she chose for herself and not once looked back with regret.  I am in the parenting phase now and thanks to my mother I learned how to embrace all the phases of my life and continue to move foreword without thinking of what might have been, after all, why should I complain because it is I who brought myself here :-)


Mom's Phases.