The Next Step In Accepting Empty Nest: The MOM Mantra

05/31/2015 08:33 am ET | Updated May 31, 2016


I have a good relationship with my almost 21-year-old son.

But I have heard about it. The fate that is waiting for me.

Listened with a tiny bit of dread. "You know, boys just don't stay close to their moms when they settle down. They are closer to their wives' family, not to you anymore".

Makes you feel like you are headed straight into a huge dumpster with heavy weights tied to your shoes. Trash. No use. Old news. Hope you have lots of pictures from the good old days because you are done.

Not just done. DUN.

Author Kate Lombardi in her book "The Mama's Boy Myth" talks about the many positive aspects of an appropriately close mother-son relationship. The boys tend to do better in school. Are less likely to buy into a hyper-masculine image or get involved in drugs. They show a wider range of emotion. To mention a few.

All good things.

As a mother, this dire prediction of losing contact is not something I am going to lose sleep over. I pretty much trust that what is there will stay put.

The psychologist in me however? Certainly I have seen families where tension between mother-in-law or father-in-law and wife or husband causes terrible problems.

I don't want to come near those problems.

Whatever I can offer that is valuable, I will always want to offer.

As I have considered the above dilemma -- my mom side and my psychologist side feuding a bit -- I have decided to try to prevent any issue from forming that might cause my son to feel that he had to choose between me and someone else.

What is that old saying? Prevention is worth a pound of cure

I look for what I can control to help with life's transitions. What action I can take, if any, in the present, to do something helpful. (There's not much you can control, as we are all aware).

Way before we get to walking down any aisles, "I-do's" or babies, I have started something I call "MOM". It's a kind of movement. Something to make me more aware. More focused on the change I want to make.

It's a concept I keep in my head. My own private mantra. I look for opportunities to whisper it quietly to myself. Especially when I enter his world.

What is it?

"Move Over Mom".

Move over and watch him make that decision. Move over and enjoy seeing what other people appreciate in him. Move over and let other folks be important to him. Move over and give advice when asked. If asked. Or test the waters to see if your input is welcome. Not detach. Just move.

After all, it's his life.

I smile as I enlist in my own campaign. Engage in what I trust will build a solid future. As I continue to deeply love, emotionally invest and let go all at the same time.

Kind of crazy.

But much better than the risk of one day ... being kindly asked to move out.

You can read more of Dr. Margaret at SUBSCRIBE and you will receive a free copy of her eBook, "Seven Commandments of Good Therapy", a basic guide of how to evaluate a potential therapist or the current therapy you are receiving.

A modified version of this post was originally published on Midlife Boulevard.

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