“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of their tires.” – Dorothy Parker
Are you in a codependent relationship with your kids? I started thinking about this the other day. I think many moms would probably answer yes to this question. I know that it’s something that I struggled with as my kids got closer and closer to leaving home.
About the time that my daughter was thinking about going to boarding school for her last two years of high school, I started wondering what I was going to do once my kids had moved out. I really had no ideas, about what I would do, for about a year. I wandered around being open to suggestions but not really knowing what I was going to do until one day I did.
This was so hard for me to figure out because I had lost a sense of self as I raised my kids. I remember distinctly saying, “OMG I’m the mom who devoted herself to her kids and now I don’t know myself anymore.” If you had asked me 5 years before that, I would have denied it, but as the time for my kids to leave came closer I was able to accept and admit that I had indeed forgotten myself in the process of raising my kids.
Wow! I didn’t expect that.
Now, I can clearly see how codependent I was with my kids. I depended on them for my daily routine and they depended on me to take care of them. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do as a ‘good’ mom. Maybe I was in some ways, but to really be in a healthy relationship you have to take care of yourself as well. That’s where I dropped the ball.
So, what are some signs that you are in a codependent relationship with your kids? I’ll list a few. See if any of them sound familiar to you.
Signs of Codependency
-You feel a loss of a sense of individuality or identity
-You feel consumed or even overburdened in the relationship
-You feel unappreciated and unloved
-You find yourself saying ‘yes’ to your kids when you really mean ‘no’
-You think and feel responsible for your kids well-being
-You feel guilty about taking time to nurture yourself
-You feel bored, empty or worthless without your kids
-You feel sad and/or depressed because you are always giving to others instead of allowing yourself to receive sometimes
How many of those had you saying ‘Yes, that’s me!”?
If you answered yes to any of them, then you are living in a form of codependency with your kids. The more that you answer yes to, then then the more deeply that you are entwined with your kids.
Being so wrapped up with your kids is one of the reasons why it can be so hard for moms when their kids leave home. What is left for you as a mom, if the other half of the codependent relationship has moved on?
This isn’t usually something that moms want to think about. We want to help our kids grow up in a safe, healthy and happy home. That’s what moms do after all. However, if you don’t think about it, then when your kids do leave, you can feel completely abandoned, at a loss over what to do and depressed.
You can recover from this codependent relationship. The first step to making a change is awareness. Now that you’re aware of any codependcy with your kids, you can begin to make those changes that you’ve been wanting for awhile.
I’m on a mission to help moms go through this transition more smoothly. Instead of being hit with that sense of loss and depression, I want to help moms thrive in this stage of life. It does take some exploration for you to uncover what you’re going to do as an empty nester, but it’s your turn to finally put some time back into yourself.
I’ve been in this process for several years now. The more I look at the time that I spent raising my kids, the more I can see how I lost myself in the process. Now, I am reconnecting to my own likes and dislikes again. I find that I’m happier and more excited to explore life. I’ll be honest and say that I do miss my kids, but I’ll also say that this part of life isn’t so bad either.
So, how about you? Have you been in a codependent relationship with your kids? How do you feel as your kids get closer to or have already moved out? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear about your experiences as well.