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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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21 Responses to 842

  1. Carole says:

    OH!!! How I long for that glorious day!!!

  2. soniamain says:

    that will be me and iain! :)

  3. chris says:

    me and the hub have tried very hard to make sure that we always get time together without the kids, even if we are staying up way too late so that we can get a few hours by ourselves to drink wine, be silly and romantic, listen to music together, talk together… I know too many couples whose marriage fell apart after the kids left home because the kids were the only things they had left in common.

  4. youthworkerpete says:

    Only 16 years to go :) (provided no more come along…)

  5. youthworkerpete says:

    Chris – just read your post properly – I’ve heard that’s relatively common. Already my wife and I have been married with children longer than without.

    I hink it’s a warning to us all – something to guard against!

  6. Forrest says:

    She looks frowning, he looks smiling.

    I guess if she had built her identity around being a mother to children at home, it would be a loss to actually grieve over – who she was is gone – who is she now, nothing? something less?

  7. Linda says:

    Forrest, I know exactly how that woman feels. I raised three wonderful children–now happy, successful, well-adjusted adults and many times I feel empty. I’ve long had a good part-time job, but I always considered mothering to be my real job. Now that that job is finished, I often wonder who I am. (And I have a wonderful husband, but having the kids leave never effected him like it did me.) I guess I should have adopted more kids when I was young enough to do so.

  8. Barry says:

    She is an extravert while he is an introvert. These are typical outie/innie reactions.

  9. Forrest says:

    Hey Linda, maybe this doesn’t relate but maybe it somehow does. My wife Kathy, mother of my stepchildren, I have no kids of my own, has last couple days been finding people on Facebook she’s been out of contact with for ages – she’s talking to the kids of kids she babysat and saying “Wow I feel old, I changed their parents’ diapers!”

    Barry makes a good observation.

  10. subo says:

    whilst the story line dosn’t fit for me, since a skipped the having kids bit, I’ve become more and more aware in my old age, of just how much I don’t ‘hear’ others, how much I miss what’s happening for them, and how much I like my cosy, ridged, unhealthy role of just being busy and getting stuff done

  11. Kevin says:

    When our oldest left for college last year, we grieved for weeks. When he comes home for visits, it is like a has tornado hit the house, what with the noise, clutter, and the pace at which he lives compared to mom and dad. We’re getting accustomed to having him gone, but love it when’s he’s here.

  12. krowe says:

    this is making me feel guilty for leaving the country…. jon I should slap you for this!

  13. Kathryn says:

    That’s us, to a “t”…One child still at school, but uni bound in the autumn, & I find adjusting to the new normal is hugely challenging even with a wonderfully demanding full time ministry, 2 parishes, an endless web of relationships. My husband, on the other hand, is already getting excited about the space. Hard times.

  14. Caroline Too says:

    … and yet, Kathryn and Linda, from the outside I see so many post-children-leaving mothers flourishing and venturing out in such new and exciting ways now that they have time…

    I wonder what we can do to affirm women that we are so much more than JUST mothers?

    I guess that there’s a difference between the struggle of adjusting (unavoidable) and the loss of identity (longer term and more worrying, I think)

    hmmm, no answers but some complex questions…

  15. Forrest says:

    “hmmm, no answers but some complex questions…”Comment by Caroline Too

    Ain’t that life!

  16. soniamain says:

    i don’t feel for a moment that I am ‘just a mother’. I feel very fulfilled in my work, studying, as a wife and the other bits I fit in my life!, but I also think I will miss my children massively when then they move on. I’m sure there will be aspects i’ll like! but also recognise the change will be hard.

  17. Sophie says:

    Soniamain, you just reminded by of a time when my PhD supervisor asked me if my mum was just a housewife, and I said “she’s not ‘just’ anything!” He was pleased with my answer :)

  18. Jen says:

    My oldest moved out in the autumn to go to uni. I felt mixed before he went – sad for me, happy for him – but actually it has been fine. It’s wonderful to see him when he’s back, but brilliant to know that he’s enjoying life with friends and thriving in his own space. My youngest is doing A levels this year, so may be around for a gap year next year, or may go off to uni as well. I have to say that it’s a really exciting time of life for me – a sense of new possibilities, of entering a different phase. I have loved time with the boys but as always seen that as a shared endeavour with my husband, not more my responsibility than his.

    So I’m not the sad woman in your cartoon, but nor am I the happy bloke watching tv. I’m metaphorically heading out the door looking for new things to do!

    I love this quote from John O’Donohue – rather long but please forgive that:
    The loneliness and creativity of being a parent is the recognition that family is inevitably temporary. Good parenting is unselfish and, to encourage independence in a child that has received unconditional love acts to reinforce the sense and essence of belonging. Nothing, not even departure, can sever that intrinsic sense of belonging. Children are created to grow and leave the nest. Family provides the original and essential belonging in the world. It is the cradle where identity unfolds and firms. Such belonging outgrows itself. Home becomes too small and safe. The young adult is called by new longing to leave home and undertake new discovery. The difficulty for parents is letting them go. In a certain sense, children and parents never leave each other; this is a kinship that no distance can sever.

    However, in a substantial sense, part of the task of maturity is to become free of one’s parents. Clinging to parents causes a destructive imbalance in one’s life. One never achieves an integral sense of self-possession if one’s parents continue to dominate large regions of one’s heart. To grow is to come to know their fragility, vulnerability and limitation. There is great poignancy and pathos in parents’ difficulty in letting go. Kahlil Gibran says: ‘Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.’

  19. Carole says:

    Jen – some great wisdom in what you say there.

    I didn’t take the opportunities available to me as a teenager and instead went to work at 16. I always regretted it and as soon as I could wangle it, I went back to study and finally got to university when my girls were 4 and 11. When my eldest got to sixth form, I was really excited for her to have this fab experience, so didn’t feel too sad, though I did miss her when she went. She is back home now but we are all aware that it is not ideal – you change so much when you are away that it is awkward living under the same roof as mum and dad again. My youngest is in sixth form now, and Phil and I are longing for the opportunity to just be a couple again, hence my comment at No.1. Parenthood is very tiring in many ways and we feel we’ve paid our dues now. That doesn’t mean we relinqish all responsibility – our girls know that while we are able, we will be there for them if they need us.

    Parents have to accept that, however hard it may be(and it is hard) a fundamental goal of parenthood is to prepare your children to stand on their own two feet. When those two little steaming scraps of life were plopped unceremoniously into my arms by the midwife, there was an implicit acceptance that my greatest challenge of my life would be to let go of them. With God’s grace, I think I’m doing an ok-ish job of it. Most of us do, I think, in the end.

  20. dadube says:

    Been so busy I have missed asbo for a while, so just catching up. I like that proverb about roots and wings – as a parent you provide roots for your kids but also give them the wings they need to fly :)

  21. dadube says:

    not a Christian proverb, obviously!

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