This post could also be called “Untie the Apron Strings so they don’t get Cut”, but I’m sharing these thoughts in connection with Finding the Grace Within’s prompt: Letting Go!

 

I’m in a season of life where my kids could leave home at any time.  Their plans are flexible – they are looking for adventure, change, challenge – they are ready (or some of them that is!) to make their way in the world.  Leaving home doesn’t make that happen, but it could be a part of that happening.  People are warning me of the pain up ahead – and I’m pushing back!

I’m not pushing back on the kids leaving home – that is a given, that will happen.  I’m pushing back on the idea that it has to hurt.  We talk about the idea of cutting the apron strings, of letting go – and the obvious conclusion is that it is going to hurt.  But what if we untied the apron strings – not so painful after all!!

Letting my children go is a part of my plan: letting go doesn’t have to hurt.

Now, I admit, my kids haven’t left home so this is an unproven theory – but it is the thoughts that are in my heart, and in that sense, the thoughts that are preparing my heart for that day.  I don’t want to hurt – I want to rejoice with my kids, I want to set them off with all the hope and joy and confidence that I can give them.  I want to revel in their adventures, I want to celebrate their highs, and be enthusiastic about their choices.*

If the truth be known, I’ve been slowly untying those apron strings since my little one started to crawl – letting them move onto the next stage of their life.  First, there was crawling and letting them explore the floor, then there was walking and the world opened up for them – this was the beginning!  Because next, before I knew it they were going on playdates without me, then they were travelling across the country, and then across the world by themselves.  How can I not rejoice with them when I have been teaching, training, preparing them to be able to live responsibly and capably.  This is what they’ve been trained for.

Of course, there will be the heart twinge!  I will miss my friend (because by this stage, they are my friends), my days won’t be the same – but I don’t want my days to be empty because my kids aren’t around, I don’t want my heart to be empty because my kids have moved on. I certainly don’t want to hold them back physically or emotionally with my own pain.  Instead, I want to let them go with anticipation – because they are ready to do the next thing in their life.

 

Letting go doesn’t have to hurt.

Untying the apron string has been a long, unfolding process – like I said, it started when they were just little, though it has become more obvious in their later teens/young adult years.  As my kids have grown older they have:

  • Expanded their friend circle to friends that are beyond our family friend circle
  • Learnt more than what I could teach them
  • Connected with other people who give them wise counsel
  • Developed passions that are different than Peter’s and my passions
  • Have desires to go places and do things that we would never think of

There is an aspect of ‘letting go’ each time an aspect of their life expands or changes.  My involvement in their life changes – I’m still involved, I’m still needed, but it looks different.  Leaving home is just the next step for them – whenever and why-ever they take that step.  And it is equally true that letting them go is the next step for me.

I think apron strings can be seen in a negative light – they are the bonds of love, or family that limit or control children.  And for sure we would all know situations where those apron strings are interfering with family life – and yes indeed, they need to be cut, and it will hurt (both parties) but apron strings are there for a reason – initially they hold our children in a safe place.  This is good.  But there comes a time where the apron has to come off.

I have this picture of a cook working away in the kitchen, wearing an apron of course, and the pressure is on, the mess is flying, as the day goes the apron gets messier and messier, as hands get wiped, and even the face of sweat and tears are mopped up on this apron – but the end of the day the cooking is done.  The cook takes a deep breath, a breath of satisfaction, knowing they’ve done their best, looking forward to their meal being enjoyed.  They untie the apron strings, pat their hair into place and step forward with the dish they’ve worked so hard over.  They step out of the kitchen to present their dish.

Do you see the analogy?  We work so hard with our children, but there comes a time, where we are done and we can take a deep breath knowing we’ve done our best, we take off the apron – we untie those strings that have kept our children safe in our heart, and we step out with them, presenting them to the world! And we wait with anticipation for the world to enjoy them as we do.

Do you need help in your Family?

Hi! I’m Belinda

About Me

Belinda and her husband, Peter, live in the far north-west of Australia on a small farm. They have four adult children whom they homeschooled from prep-year 12. Over this time Belinda has taught and supported women both face to face and online. Her heart is to encourage families to be intentional, relational and heart focused in all areas of family living. She continues to do this in her new season of life – as her kids leave home one by one leaving her with more time.

Certified Life Coach

Over to you:

How are you approaching the cutting of the apron strings (so to speak)?

9 Comments

  1. Jodi

    What a beautiful perspective to take! It sounds like a really healthy relationship to me and that you are a healthy individual who is not dependent on your children for identity and meaning in your life. I am already keenly aware of the slow letting go process and I only have a four year old! Thanks for sharing. Your Tuesday at Ten neighbour today.

    Reply
    • Belinda

      Hi Jodi – thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Interesting you mention identity and meaning. That was an aspect my mum and I talked about when we chatted about this topic. My mum is my best friend so sets a great example in front of me. I think too many mums give up aspects of themselves to be a wife and mother – and then when the parenting (not being a mother per se) is over we flounder. We need to be well rounded people – looks like another blog topic coming up! LOL. Have a great day!

      Reply
  2. Mary

    Beautiful analogy …

    Reply
  3. Angela @ Setting My Intention

    My oldest is entering high school this year and I’m realizing how short the time is that he will remain in our home. I’m tempted to panic and try to “do” more but I’m trying to relax, enjoy him, and trust God that He is working in and through him as I pray daily for him. Thanks for your encouraging words. Visiting from Women with Intention

    Reply
  4. Dawn

    When it comes to the apron strings and letting my kids go, I must confess it will be hard but it will also be good. We are training them to live w/o us, no matter how hard it will be to see them go. I remember watching my son fly up the driveway one day on his bike and all I could hear in my heart is the ‘good-bye’ that would be coming. When he took off in the truck for the first time, I will admit to a few tears and so many prayers for his safety. Soon he will be applying to colleges and/or looking for job applications and etc. I am excited to see him take that step, but still thankful he is here for a while longer.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    Reply
    • Belinda

      Those years fly by so fast! The thing that I know is that the years we’ve invested in building a relationship with my kids – not just parenting them – will have its returns when they leave. And I’m very thankful that we live in a day of technology where communication is so much easier than when I left home.

      Reply
  5. Maria

    This is a beautiful sentiment, Belinda. I’m a new mom, and I can definitely agree with you: untying the apron strings is a long drawn out process that starts fairly young. Right now, my heart tugs thinking about pre-school and the prospect of my daughter and I not spending our days together. But I can only imagine what would be like when kindergarten starts, then college, then moving out, then getting married, etc…

    Your analogy of the chef and his/her dish rings true. There’s so much we do prepare, but at the end of the day we present our children to the world and we hope for the best. That they’ve learned enough from what we’ve instilled in them, and that we trust ourselves enough as parents to let them go. And like any aspect of parenting, that prospect of is scary, but satisfying all the same.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful with us on #SHINEbloghop. We’re so happy you were able to join us.

    Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

    Reply
  6. Pat

    Belinda,
    Well, I’m going through “letting go” with my 2nd adult child (daughter) who was recently married, and I’m so very happy for her.
    But this caught me by surprise: SHE’s struggling with the change. She’s having a (really!) hard time leaving the nest and establishing her own family, and it’s just breaking my heart. I want her to be happy about these changes, but the transition appears to be super hard for her…
    Didn’t see THAT one coming. I mean, I do want my kids to feel welcome and want to come home as they grow up and move out…but not at the expense of excitement for their new lives!!
    {{sigh}}
    I have 3 more coming behind here…guess you just never know how things are gonna go…
    Oh, yes, and thank you for sharing this with us over at Coffee and Conversation…hope you have a terrific Thanksgiving!!

    Reply
    • Belinda

      That is an unexpected twist isn’t it!

      Reply

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Letting our children go doesn't have to hurt - we have been training them towards this day.
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