Thursday, June 13, 2024

Something to Muench on: Fluffing the Nest

Spring has sprung and this month our youngest of five kids turns 18. I never thought I’d see the day! Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom to each one…it’s just that for decades some days felt like they’d never end.

Thinking back on those days now, I have to ask, why doesn’t anyone tell you just how quickly it will feel it went when you’re on the backend of it?

Maybe they did and I was just too busy running after my kids to hear them, lol.

Even though we will officially be kid-less at home come fall, I’m under no delusion the active parenting phase of my life is over. No way! Remember, I coach parents of 18 to 25-year-olds for a living. Coupled with my own parenting experience, I know this can be the most mentally draining stage yet. My clients often say they envy parents of toddlers now. If you are the parent of adult children, you know there are a lot of sleepless nights to be found during toddlerhood AND during the years of transition to young adulthood.

Little kids, little problems. Big kids, the potential for bigger problems.

Parenting with only my youngest still at home makes my everyday life look different now. I only have to do laundry for two people, most nights I just cook for two people, and at this point I’m only chauffeuring myself around. However, there are still times when I am stressed because more than one kid wants a phone call and I feel like I don’t have enough energy to fill all of their needs.

Minor issue compared to when I was juggling a high schooler, middle schooler, elementary schooler, preschooler, and new baby.

The other day it really hit me all the kids would be out of the house in a matter of months. I was left wondering, what will this next phase of life bring? With each kid moving on, the house has gotten quieter, yes, but there’s always been more kids behind the one who left. And those kids then became my center.

Two years ago, when our fourth son went out of state to begin college, my daughter was not excited, knowing the sole focus of her parent’s attention would be on her. You’d think she’d have embraced that after having to share us with four big brothers, but, not so much.

Empty nesting will include travel. I know with Tom in the business we’ll be doing plenty of that. For myself, I have a personal goal of doing a TEDx talk I promised myself I’d do. Maybe I’ll write another book? And, let’s face it, there’s plenty of parents in need of coaching through the teen and young adult years.

I also hope my husband and I will find new ways to grow together. With his two new hips finally helping him move around better, I see pickleball in our future! I’d also like to take part in more community social events, there are so many great organizations in the area.

But alas, while the winds of change blow, there is still a daughter to support cross the finish line at FMHS and to decide which acceptance to act on. She definitely wants to spread her wings and go out of state. Our job is to help her be realistic about what it means to be far away from home and, based on that, how often she’ll be able to visit.

This is an exciting season, and although the past few decades have seemed at times to be exhausting and overwhelming, I wouldn’t have wanted to live my life any other way.

Here’s to seasons ending, and new ones beginning!

Kimberly Muench
Kimberly Muenchhttps://reallifeparentguide.com/
Kim Muench is a Flower Mound mother of five kiddos. She is a certified parent coach who loves working with moms and dads of adolescents to build stronger, healthier connections in their home. To learn more, visit her website at www.reallifeparentguide.com.

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