A Mother and Son Earn their Wings

From Hover Mother to Emancipation

I’ve been a single mother since my son was 7. He’s now almost 20 and in his first year of college. When I think back over the last 13 years, I can see how I was fully immersed in my role as a mother, and how energy clearing has sustained me in challenging and thriving times.

Solo parenting is a full-time job

I took motherhood seriously because his father was not able to play his part to raise Tom. I embodied lots of roles I to compensate for the lack of a 2-parent household. Being a single parent was not what I wanted or planned for, but I know how to make lemonade from lemons!

There were times I felt overwhelmed and frustrated with managing and organizing the details of our lives by myself.

There was very little space for me, as a result, I developed tunnel vision and narrowed my vista to keep things as simple as possible. 

One of my biggest challenges was believing that I had to do it all, sometimes forgetting that my number one job as a mother was to teach my son to do for himself!

Tom grows…and so does Ellen!

As Tom grew, my energy clearing self-care practice served me well. I cleared out the energy from roles, beliefs, behaviors and ways of being that no longer served our family unit. I could let go of worrying and overcompensating as it was not necessary nor helpful. As Jill wrote in one of her posts, Worry is Like Praying…for something you don’t want!

I spent (and still spend) time sending my son’s energy back to him, and bringing my energy back to me. Emancipation includes autonomy – for both of us! I relinquished the tendency to be a helicopter parent, or a ‘smother-mother’. It was abundantly clear that hovering was creating the exact opposite of what I wanted for him — and for me.

As I let go, I found I could trust him to step in rather than assuming that he wouldn’t. 

Untangling our energy meant we could be ourselves, living side by side, operating in tandem. As that happened I felt less compulsion to solve for him and do for him, and micromanage his life. 

As I changed, so did Tom

Tom responded by taking more responsibility for himself, attending to his tasks with minimal prompting from me.  What a wake up call – my child didn’t need me in the same way anymore — he wanted to take charge of himself and his life!

As he entered high school, he became interested in aviation science and decided to become a pilot. I stayed in my lane, serving as a sounding board as he explored postsecondary education options that interested him. He was ready to cut loose and fly, literally and figuratively!

The kid bought his own car

One weekend when I was out of town with a friend, Tom bought his first car. He arranged to go look at it with someone he trusted, negotiated the price on his own, and paid for the car with his own money. He called me to fill me in on what was happening, but I did nothing to help. I was simply his cheerleader! I love to watch him work on and drive his beloved 1968 Ford Falcon. He’s a cool kid, with an uber cool car. 

Lesson for me: My son is capable of and inspired to manage his life. Blessing for me: I’ve done well raising him. Mission accomplished.  

My current evolution

In my emancipated role, I’m actively pursuing creative interests sidelined when my mothering roles took center stage. I love to work with my hands – I’m pursuing my ceramics, knitting and quilting. And my garden has never looked better! I’m also much more involved in activities outside my home and in my community. 

Last but not least, I have the space, energy and enthusiasm to take on new roles at EHI.

The key to my evolution has been lightening up, letting go and trusting that my life, and my son’s life are within our own sphere of influence and accountability. 

Getting to this place has taken self-awareness, the ability to observe and take action on what I need to shift, and to trust that each of us has the wings to fly in our shared and individual orbits. 

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