I officially met Brenda online about two years ago. Somehow the two of us connected through Instagram, and she graciously volunteered to review my newly published memoir Sunlight Burning at Midnight. I was a little awe struck with her being the first real author to volunteer to review my book. We later crossed paths again at a writer’s conference where I met her in person, and she is the real deal. She gave me a big hug as I blabbered on and on about how honored I was that she actually read my book. She has recently written another book (she’s way speedier than I am – but most of her babies have flown the coop in my defense), a wonderful book called Fledge, Launching your Kids Without Losing your Mind, which I enjoyed immensely. I’m not officially in the fledging stage, but I recognize that it is just around the corner, and this book was full of wisdom, laughter, and heart warming stories. Brenda is not afraid to share her shortcomings and failures throughout the journey, and these honest stories are what connected me to her words, and I’m sure will connect you as well.
So, without further ado, here is Brenda.
5 Truths about Stress the Fledging Season
The stress was overwhelming when we dropped Jenna, our firstborn and only girl, off at college. She and her dad drove her Volkswagen Bug ahead of her three brothers and I in the Dodge Caravan with the roll of carpet strapped to the top. We trekked like the Griswalds over the Appalachian Mountains to her university eleven hours away.
The experience was dramatic and stressful. Jenna was attending a university where she knew no one. Excitement oozed from her younger brothers, 10 and 12, for the Big Sister adventure. The sixteen-year-old boy had a smirk on his face the whole weekend because he was king of the castle soon. Dad was going through his own internal stuff dropping his only daughter off in the middle of nowhere. Mama was arguing with the college coed or someone else most of the time, and Jenna was ready for all of us to go.
We were stuffed in a hotel room for two nights before the transaction was complete. I wanted to scream and cry all at once. Sound familiar?
Though it was just one weekend, the scenario is a microcosm of the fledging season—the parenting season when you release your kids, one by one. It’s a stressful time. Your family changes. Your kids change. And you change.
And it’s hard.
Here are 5 truths about stress and releasing your kids.
1. Giving up control is stressful. Releasing control over your child’s decisions and the rights you have attached to them is challenging for parents. However, releasing control is essential for both you and your young adult to grow. Giving up control starts before their senior year, but it must happen for your child to develop independence and autonomy. The problem is that you secretly may not want them to be independent and autonomous. But it’s God’s plan for them. We never really had control in the first place.
2. The revolving door of kids is stressful. Once the first child leaves, your family forever changes. The revolving door of kids coming and going as you parent young adults, teens, and younger kids stretches you. You no longer parent young adults like the kids you are still raising. There are several chapters in Fledge to help parents navigate the revolving door of change, both for you, your young adults, and younger kids.
3. The change in your family is stressful. Your family experiences growing pains with each child who leaves the nest. Parents take the lead in fostering a healthy new normal but moms can get stuck in the fear of it all. There’s an art to balancing the changing family, and helping the family morph appropriately. Fledge addresses all areas of the changing family during this transitional phase of life.
4. Raising kids to be healthy adults is stressful. If it were easy, then counselors would be out of business and there would not be a current mental health crisis among teens, young adults, and adults. From the moment your first child enters high school and your last one leaves young adulthood, you’ll face some adversity. Entitlement parenting, enabling, or simply giving up from the stress of hard times is the easy way out. Parenting is hard work and staying fully engaged until the last one is an adult has challenges unrivaled by the toddler years.
5. The personal changes for mom are stressful. With each child who leaves, moms have a flood of questions, insecurity, and grief in the wake. Will your baby be okay? Did you do things right? Are you going to be alright? Add to that hormones and looking like your mother in the mirror– talk about stress. You wonder if you’ll still be in one piece when the last one leaves.
The good news is that you will. This season is stressful and emotional but also beautiful and satisfying. Now there’s a handbook that’s personal to you filled with professional experience and personal lessons from a counselor and mom. I wrote Fledge because I needed support, biblical truth, and encouragement as my world’s been quickly changing. I wrote it for you and me, and the feedback I’m getting is that it’s just what moms need.
Brenda has graciously gifted me with a copy of Fledge for one of you to win! Either comment here, on Facebook, or Instagram. I will draw a winner on March 19th.
Brenda Yoder is a national speaker, author, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and life coach whose passion is encouraging others when life doesn’t fit the storybook image.Authentic and humorous, Brenda connects with women and moms in a way that will have you laughing and crying all at the same time.
Her new book, Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind is a personal handbook for parents in the season of raising and releasing kids. Brenda’s been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul books: Reboot Your Life and Confident and Curvy; the Washington Post, and For Every Mom. Her first book for busy moms, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All released in 2015.
Brenda is also former teacher and school counselor and was twice awarded the Touchstone Award for teachers. Her ministry,Life Beyond the Picket Fence, is found at brendayoder.com where she writes about faith, life, and family beyond the storybook image. Brenda is a wife and mom of four children, ranging from teens to adults, and lives on a farm in Indiana. You can connect with Brenda on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Join her Facebook page to follow the new Fledge Parent Forum for moms releasing their kids.