Wednesday, June 22, 2022

I don’t know if this will appeal to all of you today, but I know there are some readers who are wondering about this stage of life that I am in. Some of you are close to this stage and some of you are beyond. You may have some wisdom to share!

First of all, I have said this many times, but this bears repeating. This is MY blog and not my kids’, so I try to really think about what I share from their lives. I also took this policy with social media when they became teens. I asked permission before I posted anything and the answer was usually “no” – ha! Most of my Facebook memories that pop up about them are from before age 13. They are not big into social media and never have been and I respect that. If I had started this blog earlier, you would probably have seen too much of my kids! Ha!

So, my twins are 19 and have completed two years of college. Without telling each other, they both decided on the same small liberal arts college 20 minutes from home. As a parent, this was a huge blessing to have them on the same schedule and to have the knowledge that they can help each other. Also, sending kids to college at basically the beginning of the pandemic was stressful. So, having them together and close was so helpful.

Don’t overlook colleges nearby because it makes everything easier – moving in and out, illness, getting to see some events that they are in, etc. I do wonder if they will feel they didn’t spread their wings enough, but there is time for that after graduating, too. We did feel that it was important for them to live on campus, but we knew that they could live at home if we had the need at some point. They have never roomed together and were in two different dorms most of the time, by the way.

Also, they did not have a car on campus the first year but then we bought them a car to share for their second year. They have to communicate with each other about using the car, which I think is just fine.

They moved back home for this summer mid-May and had about a week off before starting jobs. I told them to put all of their college stuff in the basement storage room, but to make sure it was all clean before doing so. I offered help, but they weren’t really interested in my help. I don’t go in their rooms. Their rooms are very messy and I hate it, but I also know that I am not going to drive myself crazy over it. They do not have food and drinks in their room, so that’s good.

They do their own laundry (and have for years) and it is both a good and bad thing. They take 3-5 business days to complete it and it ties up the washer and dryer. Tom also takes this approach, so go figure. I do my laundry and the house laundry and finish it in 2 hours. It’s not that hard!

They are pretty good about keeping their stuff contained to either their rooms or their basement hang out room.

I have noticed that they do more and more without being asked. They empty trash and recycling and put things away more than ever before. There is growth from the high school days when I had to constantly remind.

Jack is working at a dry cleaners with no air conditioning this summer and he says he hates it, but I think he would complain more if he really hated it. He can be dramatic. Sometimes he has funny stories to tell us or comments on the type of clothing he sees.

Mason is working outside (so no air conditioning here, either!):

The stage for Shakespeare in the Park at our Central Park. One of my kids has a summer internship doing “front of house” tasks.

So, Jack gets off work at 4:00 and Mason goes to work at 4:45. Mason has off on Mondays and Tuesdays and Jack is off on Tuesdays. They are sharing the car and it works out perfectly. They seem to appreciate the time they do get to spend together more, I think, because it is more limited than any other summer. They have a really nice relationship. I know not all twins do. Jack made sure the gas tank was full to save Mason time the other day.

I think this summer is building character. Neither of them have AC at their jobs and guess what…the AC in their car is broken, too! We are getting that fixed next week, though. I bought this little portable AC unit that plugs into a USB as a temporary fix. They said it doesn’t really work well.

I am a firm believer that we want our kids to have something to work toward and not to hand them everything. But, let’s face it – all American kids are spoiled to some degree. We have a lot in this country.

I also think they will be eager to be students again after their work experiences this summer. That’s not a bad thing. I still remember the switch from full time worker to full time student every August.

I started to write their work schedules in my planner and then I stopped myself. Nope – that’s on them.

I started to remind them when to leave for work and nag them about leaving earlier, but then I stopped myself and said nope again. It just makes them mad at me and then I get mad that they are mad.

Mason doesn’t get home until 11:30 pm-ish and I was waiting up when he first started, which was really hard for me. Jack told me that I shouldn’t because he is up anyway. I didn’t think I would be able to sleep, but I know Jack will come wake me if he is worried. And, of course Tom has no trouble not waiting up because MEN!

I had to realize that this summer we are not really spending a lot of quality family time, but we do have dinner twice a week on Mason’s two nights off – Monday and Tuesday. And, it makes the time we can spend together more appreciated.

I was also hesitant to plan my stuff for times when they would be home, but I realized that I can’t really do that.

Tom keeps the same schedule in the summer – up at 4:30 am, gym at 5:00 am, leave for work at 7:00 am. I love knowing that my kids are here asleep under my roof and I really love the quiet time after Tom leaves. He is loud! Ha! I try to go to workout and then get home before anyone wakes up, too.

Mason asked if he could spend the night with a friend the other night and I was thinking – you really don’t need to ask anymore, but it was sweet that he did.

Also, we went from 3 bathrooms to 2 because of our renovation project and it’s been ok. We decided to halt the third bathroom project while they are home because the disruption is a lot. I want to have it ready to go by August, though, with a goal of it being finished by winter break, at the latest.

So, it’s kind of a weird summer, but it’s all good. It took us a bit to find our footing with two more people in the house. I want our house to still feel like home to my kids and that is more important than every room being perfectly tidy all the time. I know that many kids this age start living in apartments and stop coming home in the summers.

I feel like I understand my parents more. You do get used to a neater house very quickly. You become more stuck in your routine after the kids leave the nest.

So, that’s where we are right now!

Amy

18 thoughts on “Back in the Nest – Life Update

  1. What an interesting post! I thought, before I started reading it, that you were going to talk about how you are navigating life without the kids in the house every day. This will be one of those posts you go back to in 10 years and say, “oh I remember that“. You and I seem to have the same parenting style/philosophy. They can do it… And giving them the opportunities to succeed and fail on their own is the right thing to do. I do still like to wait up for my kids, though. I always hated coming home to a house that was already asleep so I try to be an awake person they come home to.
    I know these days of having them around are short so I am savoring as much as I can. Next year, all (4) will be gone. Last year I still had one at home going to community college. Our first went away to school an hour and a half away but these last three have decided to stay in town for school , which is been convenient but I don’t think “too close” for them.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! I maybe didn’t know where this post was going either! Lol! It was funny because my kid who came home late was upset at me for waiting up. I explained that it’s my summer and I want to wait up sometimes. My mom waited up for us but then did a military style questioning! Lol! They think I’m such an early bird. You have way more experience than I do at this stage and I’m just figuring it out as I go along! Thank you for commenting – I agree that this will be a good post to look back on. Next year will be very different for you!

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      1. Isn’t it great having adult kids, though, and getting to discuss things (like why you wait up) and have a conversation about how it makes each of you feel? I know my kids could see it as “checking up” but I make it clear why I do it (b/c I didn’t like the dark house when I was growing up) and I think they are at an age where they can indulge me in certain things like that ;). It sounds like you have great kids that you are helping to guide into responsible adulthood. Great post and conversation.

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  2. Our boys shared a car too while they were up at school. It always required them to communicate and plan and since they were 2 hours from home, we never got involved. It is really such a good thing for them to be on their own at school and work these things out. You’re doing a great job letting go and letting them – I know so many people who continue to manage their young adult kids and it really deprives them of that opportunity to grow. I know it’s done out of love though, parenting is hard!
    xo,
    Kellyann

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    1. We know so many people who don’t make siblings share. Heck, we know so many people that buy brand new cars for their kids. What do they have to look forward to? Don’t give me too much credit because my inner helicopter mom comes out from time to time. This is a hard stage of parenting at times. I appreciate your encouragement!

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  3. Love this update. I can see where it would be hard to let go of things but you are doing an awesome job (I’m taking notes!) They are hard working boys! My kids’ rooms drive me crazy. I wish I could let that go 😂

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    1. This is an area that I have decided isn’t a battle I’m going to fight. The rest of the house, yes, I can set some standards but as long as there is no food or science-fair liquids in their rooms, I can let it go. I am always curious, though, what their own places will look like someday 🙂

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  4. I noticed that G seemed to grow up a lot and seem more adult after the second year of college. Our summer has lots of coming and going, so I will try to maximize our family time when everyone is at home. Great post!

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    1. I agree. I also think girls mature faster. My friend’s daughter seems way ahead of my kids! It is kind of a sad summer for me, but I am trying to make the most of the opportunities I have at home in my city.

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  5. Great post, and so relevant to my life right now! My two sons share an apartment about 2.5 hrs away. My oldest graduated last summer and works remotely. My younger son attends the large university near their apartment but mostly does his classes online. He is doing a mostly remote internship this summer and will be a senior this year. They don’t come home often, but my older son does come down 2-3 days several times a month to work in person. My husband, especially, and I are having a hard time without them here! He wants to move and live near them – not kidding! I told him there is no guarantee they’ll even live in that city after our younger son graduates. I can’t give up my tenure and higher salary in this district to move there! My younger son has mentioned possibly working in California or N York (computer science majors, both of them!) and my husband tells me he can’t move that far away! Obviously we need to get a life! I try to reel him in! They are self-supporting and I only pay their electric bill because I want to; my older son makes more than I do! I’m grateful by how well they turned out, but I know we need to back off and let them fly. It’s so hard!

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    1. Thank you, Susan. They sound like they are doing great! I feel for your husband, and for you. It would stink if you did move there and then they left, but it would be ok if you wanted a change, the city where they are has other things and people you would enjoy, and your work situation was different. It is so hard to think of our lives without our kids as the focus. It is sad. Know that you all aren’t alone!

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  6. Such an authentic and sweet and interesting post! Well, I’m there with you, we are four people in our little cabin of 600 ft2… But the girls will probably spend some time in the city too, so we’ll see… We’re on day 2 so I have to get back to you!
    It’s great that your boys have summer jobs, but I know the feeling, somehow you don’t want them to work… My youngest will not work, but the oldest will probably get a job at the big amusement park in Stockholm, we’ll see.
    Enjoy your Monday and Tuesday dinners, they will be sweet I’m sure!

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    1. Aww, thank you. We really push our teens to work in this country and it’s both good and bad. I really want them to have a summer, too! And, many people think that is “soft” on our kids when you say that.

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