Pushing Your Sons Out of the Nest

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Today, I am happy to announce my oldest son was pushed out of the nest last week and on October 13th, he learned to fly independently! He is moving to Mississippi. He is driving with a few friends to Mississippi and living in his own apartment across from his dad, my ex-husband.

Image Credit: Dr. Sheila Pope

For the single mothers struggling to let go of their adult sons, listen to your inner voice and trust God to help you release them. I held on to Chris out of fear that he would not survive without my help. Yet this last year, I realized I prepared him to become an awesome young man. Last week, I realized I needed to let him go before I killed his spirit and before I killed his motivation to survive. 

When I released him, I had peace. I had no worries. When he returned with his plan, I knew I made the right choice as a mother. His sibilings were happy to see him and to know they could talk with him via the phone. Chris was not angry with me. He had his chest stuck out. He is finally getting his road trip. Now, his father in heaven and his dad can help him become a responsible man. 

When he came to say goodbye last night before leaving, I gave him several hugs, told him I loved him, and gave him his cell phone.  I will admit I was proud of him. I asked if he was sure of his plans and he said yes he was sure. 

I have three more children to raise as a single mom and I am excited to start this new journey. Chris has helped me so much with the children, but they are able to rock and roll with me now. My life changes too! However, I will not let fear and discomfort cause me to hinder Christopher’s ability to become the man of his own home. 

Single moms we have to know when to let go of our baby boys. When they are taller than us, can talk back to us, capable of manipulating us, they  are not paying any bills, they are taking more than they give, they are failing to see you as a blessing, they are a high school graduate, they are intelligent, they are physically able to work, and they are 18 years of age with a car, it is time to push them out of the nest.

Moms don’t let fear hold you hostage and cause you to create a irresponsible man. Let go and let God show you how to support him from a distance.

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Wiped Out by Sheila Pope

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I have been quiet for a couple of months. I finished my draft of chapters 3-5 of my dissertation. They almost finished me too! I started July with tons of energy and hope. I stopped any activities that would distract me from completing my goal of submitting my chapters by August 15, 2014. I stopped posting on my blog too!

The Plan

FOCUS-ON-PLANI planned to submit my first draft on August 15. Well, I had to quickly adjust that date. I started typing chapter 4 and began to question everything I thought I wanted to write. Then, I committed to finishing by August 18. I went to my office at my job and worked until 11:00pm week nights; I  worked all day on Saturday and Sundays. My oldest son held down the fort at home. I went without fun and money. More important, I went without support. I met with my academic advisor from Capella on August 18. After our meeting,  I knew I had to finish on time. He motivated me to keep my eyes on the prize. I was exhausted and frightened. I did not know if I had organized the information correctly. I questioned if I wrote too much. I questioned how to end chapter 5 with a bang. More important, I feared I would not honor my participants’ experiences. 

Ending a Relationship

I submitted my chapters on August 19. I knew my mentor was going out-of-town. breakupWe communicated via the phone and some in the courseroom. I knew I needed to make major adjustments to the Chapters 4 & 5, but I need his feedback. I was lost; I needed his guidance. I did not receive what I needed in a timely manner. In the end, there was a break in our communication. I felt devastated because I knew ending my relationship with my mentor was necessary to move ahead. I realized something as a professor from a student’s perspective. Online education requires feedback from all parties. Online education cost too much to flounder in the dark. Students have to ask for help and professors have to provide quality feedback in a timely manner. I waited until the end of the quarter before I made my final decision. Changing a mentor is a serious and scary task. I waited until I was thinking clearly before I made my request. I feel changing a mentor should be the last resort, but I believe sometimes it is necessary for survival. My dissertation advisor quickly responded to my request for a new mentor. I still like and respect my former mentor; however, I need someone who sees the finish line and can help get me there. 

Stressed 

I did not stressedexpect to feel so mentally exhausted after submitting my chapters. I literally needed two weeks to get my energy level back. I taught five classes in person, and I coached two online. I am guilty of teaching with too much passion. Often, I do not realize how busy I really am until my body stops.  I took on too much. I was in the middle of designing an online education course. I stopped when I tackled chapters 4 & 5.  I have four children and a dog. Everyone ate hot dogs and cheap fast food during July and August.  I  had the nerve to enroll in the Adobe Train the Trainer (8 weeks) program. I finished the chapters, completed my Adobe Training, and I taught my classes.

Money

I fought with two of my employers this summer over money. There was a change in the way I expected to be paid this summer. No one bothered to tell the employees that thefight over moneyy would be paid in three payments for summer. I paid my tuition and got a new car based on money that did not come when I expected it. Child support was MIA too. I spent most of my time praying to have ENOUGH to pay my bills and feed my children. I was mentally tired from trying to collect a check from my consulting work and my other employer. There is nothing worse than dealing with financial issues and writing your dissertation. By August 1st, I was so drained from begging people to cut a check that I wanted to give up. Luckily, I have good friends that prayed and encouraged me. God stretched my faith this summer.

The Release

By the end of September, I had enough.  I quite trying to get feedback from my mentor. I accepted my employer did not see the value of communicating with their employees when a major change was going to occur with their pay. I knew I could not continue to work as a consultant for that company that never sent my check until two faxes and multiple phone calls. I do not beg for money. That defeats the purpose of working. I realized I would not finish my PhD before December 2014. I also realized that I hated hot dogs! I am still digging myself out of the financial destruction caused by the miscommunication with my employer.

The Turn Around

Happy puppyI realized I was blessed during all of the craziness. I submitted my chapters as a draft. I became an Adobe Education Trainer. I have a safe vehicle that works for a mom that drops off and picks up her children. My wonderful boss did not give me a raise, but she gave me a great schedule that allowed me to pick-up my children everyday and cut down my daycare by $1000.00 a month. She provided an office with a window. I love it. She gave me a promotion and a wonderful TA to assist with the eight classes this fall. It is an honor to help him grow as a professional.  Yes, I am still hurt over the way we were paid this summer, but I love my boss and the team I work with. My students are so supportive; therefore, I will continue to teach with passion. Teaching is my lifeline! After this summer, I have more stories to share with my students. I have new reasons to empathize with them.  

Working Hard in the Yard on July 4th by Sheila Pope

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Ms. V, my 70-year-old neighbor.

Thanks to Ms. V, my 70-year-old neighbor, I got my front yard back into shape quickly on Independence Day (July 4th). Yes, I spent my holiday cutting the yard. I love the idea of cutting my own grass and maintaining my yard. Ms. V loves to take care of her yard too. There are three single women on my street; however, only one of us pays to have our yard maintained. Maintaining the lawn and flowerbeds is fun and relaxing.

When I work on my yard, I can really “see” what the bugs are doing around the house. Ants are resilient little monsters that invade my house and build empires around my trees and fences. I can also detect if water is leaking from the A.C. I can spot the weeds taking over my flower beds. I can feel how thick and healthy my grass has grown. I also keep an eye on my neighbors’ yard too. I am competitive; I enjoy watching the men on the street watch me cutting the grass. Sometimes, they make a few comments when they see me outside. Immediately when I finish my yard, one of my male neighbors will start on their yards too.

I really felt honored to have the ability to take care of my yard on the 4th of July. I am an independent woman, and I love my freedom; I am a home owner with a beautiful yard, and it takes a great deal of time to maintain the lawn.

I was happy to receive help from Ms. V. Ms. V is in great shape and she loves to care for her yard. I told her she could start a lawn service on the block. I hate to admit it, but Ms. V looks younger than me! She still wears short shorts. I hope I am as active and sexy as she is at 70!

She brought her wisdom and cutting skills over to trim the hedges. I would have been a fool to not accept her help. After all, she has the best yard on the block. I told her if they started a “Yard of the Month Contest” I would have to work extremely hard to beat her efforts. I was glad to share gardening ideas and lawn care tips with one of the coolest 70 year olds in the neighborhood on my July 4th.