Overwhelming Sadness About Children Growing Up...

I am glad that I found this site. I am 41 years old, with daughters aged 14, 16 & 19.  I feel so sad that they are growing up. I don't know how to face the future. I can truly say that the happiest times of my life was when they were young, and even then I felt a sadness that they would be growing up.
I am wondering now if this is depression or perhaps a lack of  "self" needed to have a normal, meaningful life without small children around. Could it be that they gave me purpose, and now I need to find that on my own merit, my own self...not relying on them? I see how these feelings can harm them, and keep them from growing into healthy productive individuals. They need a good role model, and someone to rely on for their adulthood situations, not just from a childs perspective & needs. Thank you for letting me see this by reading others experiences with this. I need to get a grip on this, and realize that this has to do with my own lack of confidence and contentment. 
mariaelenak mariaelenak
35 Responses Mar 10, 2011

You aren't alone! My children have been my EVERYTHING! My hubby, as wonderful as he is, is also very vacant! So they have been my sole focus. I'm 56, daughter 18, son 17. I not only mourn them moving on..which i know they must and i support that, but I see their pictures of when they were tiny! My son especially looks nothing like that toddler and though I love who he is now, I DO miss the little man he was then. There are many types of grief and ways of dealing with it! I don't think it necessarily means a lack of confidence... some moms truly are soo deeply in-bedded in being moms that when their grand babies come along, they feel full again! Best Wishes!

I am relieved to see others on here wrestling with this sadness, especially other dads. No one I know seems to understand. My daughter starts kindergarten in a few days, and I cannot stop crying. I am a stay-at-home dad who works part-time, and she has been my world for the last 5 years. I had a career before she was born, and I will go back to work again, but I feel like my best "job" is coming to an end. We spent so much time together, and I can't pull myself together, every time I think about her going to school I lose it (not in front of her, of course). I feel like I am about to be lost without her to teach, to run errands with, to head out to a ballgame or a park. I've never been so sad in my life, while still being happy for her. It's just not fair.

I'm feeling exactly like you are and I'm so glad I read this. I don't really have anyone around me who can relate to how I'm feeling. My 4 year old daughter started pre k last week, and although it is only 3 hours I've been depressed. I've been a stay at home mother to her for her whole life and I feel like I'm losing her. I feel so lonely without her and I'm worried she's feeling the same way while she's at school.

I know what you mean. And I know the usual advice would be to look at these years as a stepping stone towards her becoming a wonderful young lady, but that kind of advice never made me feel better. Not that I don’t want my daughter to grow up to be a good person and I’m sure your daughter will too, but it seems like those young years are the ‘golden age’ of parent-child relationships. We love living life with our wonderful sweet children, and it’s so wonderful because they are so kind and innocent at that age, and there isn’t any of the edginess or attitude or standoffishness of the adolescent years yet. It warms our heart so much teaching and taking care of this sweet little person and they love you to death, you’re their BFF and their hero, and we wish we could just freeze time and not have them grow up and just enjoy the relationship we have with them forever.

I feel exactly the same way and am wrestling with this. I am going to a psychologist to get help because it has become such a problem for me.

I have been sitting here for 7 years thinking I am the only one that feels this way! Thank you for posting! But, what do we do? My son is 7 and i literally cry myself to sleep over these feelings. I devote 100% of my time into him and i have had no desire for anything else. Everyone around me is so different! I know very soon he will be notso attached to me because already he is pulling away. He will be out with friends and into his own things and I will be alone. I don't want to impact his life in a negative way so I want to do something about this awful feeling! I love him so much and with being a single mom, he is my life! Every year that goes by feels worse. I make sure I enjoy EVERY moment i have with him and I dont take for granted even one day but for some reason, I still don't feel like there's enough time. And the years before have gone by so fast and memories have faded and that saddens me even more. He also has a father in his life that has made our lives very difficult these last 7 years and i am doing everything I can to not let his negativity impact my son. This, of course, takes up a lot of time and energy. This child is my world and even though I want nothing but the best for him, I am having a hard time letting go. People will say, "He's still young" but people have been saying that to me for 7 years and i cannot believe how fast they have gone! Any suggestions on how to rid this depression?

Feel the same way, keep looking at old photos to see how much my 3s and 4s have grown up. Sometimes when I look at them I ask to myself "what happened to my babies?" "Who are these tiny people who call me moms all the times?" I wish I could stop the time now when they are will little. I'm jealous of the parents who have small babies, hope they are enjoying every moment because it goes so fast.

I relate to all of these responses. I've felt grief since my son was in 4th grade. But what am I supposed to do? He's going into 9th grade in the fall.

I am going through the very same thing. I have an 11 year old son and a 9 year old daughter. My son's already talking about going through puberty and he will start middle school next year. I long for the days when he was two years old and my baby girl was just a baby girl. I don't know what I'll do as they get older. I know it has to happen, but it is so hard to let go.

I feel exactly the same way that you just described. I turned 50 a few months ago and my children are 22, 19, and 16. My whole life has always revolved around my children. I was a stay at home mom for years, and then went back just part time while they were in school. My son is 22 and working and going to school, my daughter is 19 and just had a baby 6 months ago and moved into an apartment with her boyfriend, and my youngest daughter is 16 and attends school and when she's not in school, she's in her room. My husband is a car salesman and works long hours, 7 days a week. As long as I can remember, I have dreaded this day. Every year as my kids got older, I would say to myself, well he is only 13, or she is only 10, I still have lots of years left. I enjoyed being the mom that volunteered at school, attended school functions and games with the kids, shuttled them to friends houses and to dr appointments and dental appointments. Now, nothing!! I know I am also stifling my lady daughter, as I don't want Her to go out with friends because then what will I do?? Who am I without them?!! I feel so empty and useless! And now, I just quit my job of almost 8 years to stay home and take care of my granddaughter. I hope I did the right thing.

I am such a bawling mess because my 4 year will be starting school soon and I'm not ready to not spend my days with her by my side. All my friends are excited for their kids to start school. I have a 3yr old son and 9mth old son too and the thought of doing things and living say to day without her with us while she's at school breaks my heart. I am filled with sadness and I don't want my life to change I don't want to have do things without her too!!
I was hoping it would get easier as they get oldee, but reading these makes me see it will probably always be a point of sadness in my life and that is crushing.
being a stay at home mom I've been truly blessed spending day to day with my loves and the thought of that ending is too much to handle. I don't know how to get over it or deal with it.
I have been considering homeschooling and maybe putting her in school two days a week because I know she wants to go to school but idk if i will be good enough at it and I also know I'm just delaying the inevitable. But man this really really is so so hard :(
Glad I'm not alone feeling this way

I was just sitting here, listening to the silence of my home and was hit with a tremendous sense of sadness. I have 4 boys aged 15, 10, 4, & 2. I am hopelessly in love with every single one and it just hit me that they are not my little babies anymore. I ache for rocking them and cooing them for hours every night. I have also had a tubal ligation and just knowing there will never be another baby inside of me, hurts me to the core. I have a great husband and family and friends but I identify with being a mom. It is who I have been for the last 16 years. My 2 y/o is becoming so independent. He is so busy trying to keep up with his big brothers. I just sit back and watch them all. I am endlessly in awe of each new thing they do or idea they have. My 15 y/o is dating a girl and is smitten. He loves her and although it makes me happy that he is happy, I find myself jealous of not being his go to girl anymore. She hears it all first. Good grades, something that made him laugh, etc.. I miss hearing about his day and not hearing what the girlfriend thinks all of the time. My 10 y/o is getting so smart and I feel like I am unable to give him all of the opportunities that he deserves. My 4 y/o is super busy running around and chatting up a storm. Everything seems to be moving so quickly. Months are over before I have had time to realize they have arrived. I am so grateful to read other stories from other mothers and know that I am not losing my mind for crying at midnight over my boys growing up.

Wow - I can really identify with this. I am a dad with two little girls and I literally get choked up every time I think about how fast time is going by. My eyes well up with tears over it regularly. I feel like I'm missing seeing them grow up every minute I am at work (I used to love my job but now I almost hate it for causing me to miss time with my children). My wife and I spend every single second possible with them and I'm so thankful we have because I have no regrets. I did what was possible with the time I had and we've built amazing memories by doing stuff with them around the clock. We've also taken terabytes of high definition video and over 6,000 digital photos. Still, time is just flying by so fast and that just makes me so sad. I want nothing more than to drastically slow it down so I can have more time with them while they are little.

I'm a dad too. I love reading all of this drivel. I have three young kids: 3,6,8. I can't get enough of them. I feel every moment is too short and everyday life... Work gets in the way. Possibly I'm living in my heads hypothetical ageless wonder ground- or being irrational about everybody aging/ but it still doesn't make it improper to feel sad when I see the changes my kids have made and ponder the changes they will go through. I really can't imagine, and won't be able to imagine what their lives will be like in ten years... Who they will be, what they will be like, their troubles obstacles triumphs- it's maddening for me. The uncertainty. But- for now must move on. Can't stay in this mindset. It's crippling. And ironically- one of the most potent things I recall hurting me as a kid was to see my parents argue and cry. My child saw me crying last night because I was thinking about her growing up. The cycle continues.

omg, for the first time i have found someone who truely understands how im feeling, i thought i was going insane. i feel so lost as they are growing up fast, they are 23 almost 17 and 14. i have wraped my whole life in them, i dont know what to do with myself

I have a 15 year old son and I have been so close with him and his dad too. I encourage him to grow treated him as a grown up and even recently to ask a girl out he really liked so why when i saw him holding hands with his first girlfriend has it hit me like a train. i cry feel depressed old not needed. anymore. i hate felling like this :(

I am crying as we speak. Just finished putting my 2 year old to bed and just watching her close her eyes as she grabs my hand the years just come. I am the saddest at this point of my day. I feel that when she goes to sleep another day with her at this age is gone and she is only getting older. I feel so sad in my heart. Don't get me wrong she is the most amazing toddler, she's so loving, fun, funny, my little replica.
I just miss her so much when she goes to bed. I have to kiss her a million times before I go to bed or my anxiety will get the best of me. I've been feeling good this way since she was born, putting her clothes away as she got older but has gotten worse recently.
I'm expecting twin girls in the late fall and I'm hoping that having 2 new little girls will help me cope with this but I just fear that it will make me miss my toddler even more by wishing she was a newborn with her sisters.
Don't get me wrong, I love my toddler as this time but insist wish I can slow down time or just stop the clock completely.
It's reassuring to hear that I'm not the only one.
Thank you.


I thought I was the only one that misses their child while they are sleeping. It sounds silly but I just want to be with my daughter 24/7 and I don't want to miss out on anything or miss each other.

Dear Lord, that is what I am going through and its driving my mentally crazy!<br />
My children are 11 and 13 and the last 2 weeks I have been absolutely dreading when they leave. I am a hands-on father all the way. I've always been a nostalgic sentimental person. This is affecting me. What is wrong and will it go away?

Today I needed some support because my 17 year old daughter has gone away on her first trip without any parental supervision. It's just her and a bunch of graduating students. I thought I would be ok, because I trust her completely and I just want her to have a good time in life. It's everyone and everything else that scares me. When she is in my care, I am there to protect her and her being close gives me comfort. I did not realize how much letting her start doing her own things would effect me. I'm trying not to be selfish but damn, that is not easy to achieve. I literally hugged myself this morning and had a cry. I did not know why I was crying, but my heart seemed so tight and a sadness washed over me. I let her go today, and tomorrow she will be gone. Oh my, here I go again with the tears flowing. Being her mother was the best thing that ever happened to me. She is my world. And soon, her world will open, and I will be in the rearview mirror....... :'(

I am right there with you!! I'm crying reading your message because it hits so close to home for me. My kids are 22, 19, and 16. My son still lives at home, but he works and attends school, my 19 year old daughter just moved out with her boyfriend and my 16 year old daughter never comes out of her room. I don't know hie to do anything else but be a mom. I feel useless and am struggling with what I guess is depression. What is my life without being a mom?? I have dreaded this day for years, and it came so fast. Now what do I do??

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Hello, a touching message but don't worry you're not alone in how you feel it gets to all of us when they leave to do their own things.<br />
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I think its because deep down our children allow us to be children again ourselves, in that we take them through a pathway of experiences that we went through as children ourselves. So when they move away from the need to be taken down that path we not only loose them as children but the chance to be a child as well, its quite a loss to cope with.<br />
I have often said to my wife that I can remember one particular day when my children were 3 and 5, it was summer and the four of us were in the garden. <br />
The children were playing with each other, my wife was gardening and I was sitting on a bench drinking a cup of coffee just watching and taking the moment in.<br />
I can remember that day as though it were yesterday, remember the smell of the coffee, the heat of the sun and the sounds of the children laughing .<br />
But most of all I can remember the overwhelming wish that I could push a button and freeze fr<x>ame that moment for ever.<br />
I would have done anything to have been able to remain in that moment of sheer joy, happiness and contentment but here's the thing.<br />
If I had remained their in that moment I would have never seen my children grow up, travel, fall in love with their partners or enjoy all the things that the world has to offer us.<br />
You must never forget the joy that they gave you when they were children , its far to valuable but try instead to rejoice in their now being able to experience the world as intendant people.<br />
Most importantly never ever forget who you are, their parent , something that will never ever change, just be their for them when ever they need you and be the person they will always need you to be, the rock that they can always turn to.<br />
So don't be so hard on yourself, you're just being human and feeling what all good parents feel at this stage of the game. Keep smiling and enjoy the next stage!

I am going through this depression as well. I am a single mom for 15 years, I am turning 57 this 21st of May . I have 5 adult children, 36, 31, 26, 24 and 22 and I thought having 5 children with 6 grandchildren, my life will be happy but I felt so alone, isolated and felt neglected by them. Thank the Lord I get into this site and came to realized that I am not alone ..Thank you all for sharing your stories.

Your words describe how I am feeling as well; alone, isolated and neglected! And I have a husband, but he works many hours a week and I barely see him. We have grown apart anyway and now with my kids aged 22, 19 and 16, I feel useless. My 19 year old daughter got pregnant and had a baby 6 months ago. She just recently moved out with her boyfriend and left a huge, lonely gap in my life. I only know how to be s mom and now I feel like no one needs me anymore. It's not a good feeling!!

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I'm a Dad, seems to be that all the writings on this subject are from mothers. I have 2 young daughters (4 and almost 2) and I fear them growing up because I love them so much and the bond is so strong. I've had this almost constant fear since my first was born, of time passing too quickly and so on. It makes me cry from time to time, makes me not want to go to work so I can spend all my time with them, although I don't think it's to the extent of clinical depression ... I suppose it helps a little to hear from others with similar feelings, but it won't stop the time passing. The only comfort I can find is the idea that there will be another chance with grandkids one day, I only hope I can be as close to them again and have the same kind of bond. I never would have guessed that I could have this kind and depth of emotion and weakness, before I had children, I was not even sure that I wanted kids. I am even crying a little as I write this.

Alex7676, that you so much for sharing your story. I have a 10 year old daughter that I am very close with and struggling with the exact same emotional turmoil. I am desperately trying to not let the passing of time to dampen the moments of now but am finding it more and more difficult. Fortunately these feelings come in waves. If you find an age old secret please share. ;)

Dear Lord,
I am right there with you!!!! My children are 11 and 13 and I constantly seem to dwell on the time passing by so fast!! It drives me mentally crazy. I cannot imagine not seeing them around the house and playing with them. I cry too. its been really bad the last two weeks. I dont know what to do about it. Keep praying? I am a hands-on father all the way! I find it a privilege to take them places. My wife is like a rock and I dont think understands fully.( i am a man).
I dont know what to do.

I feel exactly the same way. The time passes so quickly!! I feel so alone and useless. My kids are now 22, 19 and 16. I miss when they were little and depended on me so...now what do I do?? I only know how to be a mom!

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I have 3 girls 12, 10 and 3. I have been struggling with this immense sadness for quite a long time now. When I see pictures of my 12 and 10 year olds from just a few years ago I cry. I feel so depressed and wish they were that little again. I hate how fast time goes. I love who they are now but I miss them as they were when they were that little. They were both so very sweet and I could still carry them. Now my 12 year old is almost the same height as me. I see her becoming a young woman and it really hurts. Where did my baby go? When my 10 year old turned 10 I cried. She is now in the double digits and it makes me feel so sad. I am glad I am not alone. I honestly thought I was crazy feeling so down about this.

I have girls 17 & 15. The pain started when my oldest was four years old and she didn't want my help with anything because she was a "big girl" now. I grew up with both parents at home, but always felt lonely and alone, because my parents weren't affectionate. I vowed to give my children all the that I em my world. We were so close. they are my best friends, but now that they are teens, I'm not their best friend anymore. They don't even want to be in the same room as me it seems. My oldest use to come home and tell me about her day, now her new boyfriend gets that news. My youngest is only interested in me if I'm buying her something. I just feel like I've been kicked out of the club. Like I've been dumped. This growing up business happened too fast for me. After reading these post I know that I need to get a life of my own and get over this self pity of being alone and left out.

Sounds like you've done a great job and I'm in the same boat but mine are a little younger, still take it to heart if they don't want to spend time with me though :(
I have recently started to go to the cinema and go out for lunch with my friends more but its difficult as I just love spending time with my sons and one day I will be replaced by a wife...arghhh!!! Just hope I like them lol. Keep up the good work :)

Im 40 andI have 2 boys 13 +11 and reading all your comments have made me feel better..just had a little weep as i feel a little useless at times now they are growing.Don't know how I'll cope when they move out :(.....wish time would slow down as it doesn't feel a minute since they were my babies.

We are the same age. I have one going off to college this year. I'm happy, but at the same time I'm hurt. This pain too shall past. I did a good job of raising her and she will be ok. You are doing a great job and when the time comes for them to go give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.

I feel exactly the same as you. I sometimes wonder if one day this sadness that we all harbour so stoically will be recognised in a similar way to that of post-natal depression. Hardly a day goes by without my eyes filling up with tears and sadness consuming me. I am at work now and I have just heard the sound of running in the corridor - the sound only children's feet can make - and suddenly, bang, it hits me. Is it my children, running to my office door? Of course not, they are happily enjoying their university lives away from home. I am overjoyed that they are happy and successfully living independently, but I so miss my old role, being mum. I don't know how to deal with this pain - I know it's not good for me. Like you I keep trying to set my sites on new things, new interests etc. I know that when they were young it wasn't always good all of the time. I moaned a lot and enjoyed getting some time to myself. But children seem to me now to be the most beautiful, sweet, special creatures I will ever know. I feel the love in bucketloads and it's weighing me down. I just guess it's a form of grief and it will take time. I have never sought out a 'forum' like this before and I feel much better knowing I'm not alone in how I feel. Here's hoping we both recover and feel the love, without the sadness.

oh Lord...I could have written this post. Why is this happening? Does it ever get better?

post-natal...that's a good way to put it...thank you for that. my 2 daughters are happily enjoying their lives at college away from home. they need me less and less which is as it should be. when we do a good job as parents then we parent ourselves right out of a job :) in a good way! but i am crying my eyes out because these moments i am hanging on to will also pass...

I completely understand where all of us moms are coming from. I am dealing with this right now. I am 42 years old, and my kids are 15, 12, and 7. I am already dealing with these feelings that my kids are getting older and they don't need me as much especially the 15 and 12 year old. I am holding onto my 7 year old tighter because I don't want these years to go by so fast. I do realize that I have to let go but it is so hard. No one told me how hard it would be as the kids grew up and got older. I don't like my kids getting older, but nothing I can do about it. I have cried many tears over this lately, and I am not sure what I can do. I am a stay at home mom and have been for the last 15 years. Any suggestions of what I can do, or ways to make things easier would be appreciated. Being a mom is the hardest job there ever was!!

Sweetie, I am SOOO right there with you! I have been a single mom for 16 years...have 1 son who I did such a good job raising that he is creating his own life and I don't want to do anything but take care of him. I just want to sleep and I cry a lot. I feel sick to my stomach at the idea of starting over by myself. It's been absolutely unbearable. So many people have their spouse to go to for comfort, a meal together, glass of wine, just watching tv together. Doing it all alone everyday...I get up and hate my life and my home. I don't have any incentive or desire to get a retail job to fill my time and stand on bad knee all day
I wish I had solid advice but if it is of ANY comfort...you are not alone I'm right there with you.
So much more I can say...just have no desire to do anything. I wonder how long this phase will last and I absolutely hate how hard it is every single day!
God bless you. By your post I can tell you that you are a terrific mom. We did it alone as hard as it was. I hope this reaches you and you just know someone else out there genuinely feels that horrible pain.
Write me anytime. Your post inspired me to join...I pray that the pain will lessen for both of us.

My daughter is 6. I wish she could stay that way forever so I could love and protect the dream child she is but this is egoistic and unreal. In a few years she will grow up and I will grow old. She probably will start her own family and I will ewentually die. Then all of us will be dead. These few moments we have now is like an island in endless emptiness. I wish it could happen again.

I feel the same way, and my daughter is only 16 months old. I have a successful career as an interior designer, a wonderful husband and an active social life.

Reading your story made me realize that this is depression, which I have battled most of my adult life. I thought these were normal feelings but I am beginning to see that they are negative, repetitive thoughts that are not necessarily true.

I hope that my realization helps you. I always find it helpful to put a name to it. I plan to call my therapist in the morning.

I, too, have been grieving the loss of by child's boyhood into teenage hood. I was ok until last week and all of a sudden i looked at him w/new eyes. He has gotten so much taller, his face has matured, and his personality and interests are different. i have cried for days, can't sleep, or eat.

I know what you mean. It hit me like a ton of bricks on my daughter's 3rd birthday so hard that I cried...
Then again on her first day of school, again on her graduation, and again on her 18th birthday. Lol. I was soooo happy I accomplished her milestones with her, but at the same time I would get extremely depressed because she was growing up. I think it's a normal feeling to be sad your children are growing up so fast, but you just have to accept they are their own person and you shouldn't hinder their development for selfish purposes. It took me so long to accept this, but now I can and can say I'm a proud mother of a 23 year old woman and grandmother to my precious 1 year old.

All of a sudden with my second child going to secondary school I find myself surplus to social requirements. Tom (15) and Katie (12) spend time on their own. So much more self reliant than I was at either age. They now take interest as intrusion and would never now dream of just going out to the shops with me. I even have to be proud from a distance. It has made me rethink my relationship with my own parents and how I made them feel as I struck out as an individual. It seems a sort of 'parent puberty'.

We have 2 daughters, ages 18 and 14. Our 18 year old is in college and works full time. Our 14 year old is in sports and has lots of friends. Both seem to be well adjusted kids. It's me that's having the problem. They both wish to remain private on so many issues. They exclude me from a lot of conversations and insight in all that's going on. I feel helpless, and lost. I feel as if sometimes all I am good for to them is a nice cozy home, clean clothes and homecooked meals. I work from home, and so I feel maybe that is part of my problem. I need to get out more, get out from underneath them. My husband and I have been married 25 years, and have date nights and a wonderful marriage. Our kids however, are causing me to have depression. I'm not sure what to do or how to cope.

I am around this age, and my kids are a bit younger but it's more time for me to move on that makes me sad. We need the money, so I must go back to work in a big way. I miss the baby years, when you walk them in carriages and have all the time in the world to explore, talk, play a game on the floor. I have well adjusted active children, they play many sports, have friends, and everyday there is a reason to ship them off here or there and I must constantly remind myself this is a good thing, this is exactly what I wanted...remember??!! Friends, activity, healthy life style, physical activity, I'm supposed to be happy, right???? I went back to school. I will go back to work soon. I need to move on, I need to continue to be that role model, see.... women work, women can support themselves, we need money and I can do that...see? Dont feel you are a victim because you are women, right? women are smart, are not maids or second class citizens...right? right??? Do I need to show them this, or prove it to myself? I do find, when I have homework, I'm not sad, I'm too busy to be sad. The money I will earn, I can still use to continue to help them and/or not require them to help me when I'm older. This has helped me tremendously. Working toward a career has been kind of a crazy thing to do, but for me, it helps. alot.

Don't be sad be happy! Try to use your elder years for relaxation meditation and just having fun Sure you'll miss your children but they can't stay kids forever they need to grow up and have there own lifeGet a pet like a puppy or kitten to help and always have the best time with your daughters try to never miss a moment of fun and happiness good luck!

i always tell people who say "grow up" when i get upset about this and i respond "I have grown up, i have just not grown apart" -said and quoted, by 13 year old, Winnie C.

for me its the other way around :( im 13 and me and my sister had to move out of my fathers house when we were only six :'( due to divorcement and now all i can imagine is me and my sister running up and down the halls when we were toddlers. my dad is forty seven now :'( and its just so sad. i was looking at pictures yesterday of from when we were kids. and it just reminded me of my home and where i grew up. and its so hard :'( to remember where i first went to school :'( and where i would have had such a great life. i just cant take it anymore! :'(

I am 67 years old and felt very similar when the time grew closer for my children to be launched to lead their own lives. Having the house filled with children is a wonderful thing for most of us Mothers. It is difficult to go into another phase of life as they get launched into their own lives. I don't know if this will help or not, but you will be blessed when your children find their own independence as you did your job as a Mom well. That is what it is all about. It is always difficult to embrace the challenges of change in our lives, and I think it is normal to grieve during that period. It will take time for you to move on with your life too. You will have to try many different things to fulfill yourself, but you must take that step because it will free your children to be who they need to be in this life - that is the biggest gift that a Mother can give their children. So even though your heart aches for the changes you must face, don't let your children see your pain - as that will not bring them closer to you, it will push them away. They all want us to be happy too, and don't want to feel responsible for our happiness. They need to be free.

I love your advice. I was also feeling very sad about my children growing up. It is so hard to let them go, but your words have enlightened me and made me realize that letting go is the best thing a mother can do for their grown children. I do hope it well get easier. I am going to be strong and give them the freedom to become the independent adults they need to be.

I'm 42 and have two daughters 10 and 13. I have been searching forever for information on this subject. You are not alone! Sometimes my feelings are so overwhelming it brings tears to my eyes just to look at them. I love them so much! I feel like my inability to let go of their 'littleness' has had a negative effect on my relationship with them and my ability to be a good roll model. My husband is very close with them and supportive of me in my constant inner struggle. It sure helps with my relationship with them but not much with my depression.<br />
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I have developed a bit of a hoarding problem, holding on to clothes, toys, school work, etc. Thankfully, nothing out of control but I consider this a big part of my depression and constant fight to let go. I just want to be able to understand and embrace all of my girls' phases. Don't get me wrong, I'm there for them always... I just don't know how to deal with these feelings of desperately missing them in their cute, little, excited for everything and anything toddler and little girl phases. I don't think our culture is much help these days. My girls are surrounded by kids who are growing up too fast and over booked. Family time is hard to come by. Trying to keep family nights throughout the week, hiking, camping, and connecting with nature together are some of my strategies to keep me busy and connected to them. I do have to compromise and play the occasional video game with them :/. I kiss them when they leave, and again when they come home, but at the end of the day when they're sleeping in their beds I swear they look one and four again.... sigh and a sniff....