Why Losing It And Being Weird Is Part The New Normal
The summer’s gone, another school year begins. As an educator and counselor, my life revolves around summer vacations and the school calendar.
I’ll be honest. I’ve been extra irritable. I even “lost it”a few times.
“Losing it”means verbal vomiting on whoever triggered the upsurge of emotions. Usually it’s a child or spouse. Or both.
I haven’t done it for a really long time. It’s especially frustrating because I write, speak and counsel on making healthy choices.
But I’m human, and even humans lose it.
I finally figured out why. Summer at our house has been weird. It’s the only word to describe it.
“Weird”means I have a university graduate, a returning college student, a high schooler and a middle schooler. It means I go through emotions of releasing my kids and having them return as adults who make their own decisions and who don’t like to be told what to do.
It means the whole family’s home but never at the same time.
They come and go but I don’t know who’s where.
There’s less food and more clutter and I can’t keep up.
I’m stretched but trying to hold it together.
I feel like I’m losing it, and on some days I do.
Then, I feel horrible.
So to cope, I started a book club to see if other forty-something women are losing it, too. Guess what – I’m not alone! During the first gathering, we laughed and cried. I’m glad to know “weird”is something others feel, too.
With four kids nine years apart, feeling stretched isn’t new. I write and speak to mom and MOPS groups on living and parenting well, yet I’ve found myself living in this weird place of ambivalence.
For example, on the one summer day we all had together before College Graduate moves far away, I “lost it,”telling my husband that it was time for the older ones to go. But then I cried behind my sunglasses while taking pictures of moments I wanted to keep forever.
Sometimes, being weird is the best I can do.
You don’t get a manual when kids are born, and you don’t get one for the weird stage of not-empty-nest-but-not-having-kids-anymore. Most of the self-help resources for mid-lifers deal with life-style lifts and erectile dysfunction.
That’s just weird.
So, if you’re in this weird place, too, of kids at home but not at home, of holding onto but needing your space, you’re not alone. You’re weird, just like me.
(And my gynecologist says we’re normal.)
What do you struggle with as a mid-life parent of teens, college students, or young adults? Do these thoughts resonate with you? We’d LOVE to hear from you!
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