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I'm a recently returned missionary...i'm 23, and about to head off to school for my last semester before I graduate with my bachelors degree. Life after that seemed to be a big, scary, question mark, until I talked to some family members, friends, and bishop who all just told me to not fear the future, but to go out into the big world and have an adventure and find out who I am. The only problem I've come across are my parents. I got into an argument with my mom last night...the first one i've had in years. She wants me to come home after I graduate and live here. She's completely alone all day, and all 4 of my siblings live far away in different states, and they don't call very often. My parents argue often, and I just don't feel happy at home. They've also moved from my hometown to a small town where I don't know anyone and i'm not familiar with the area. I have no desire whatsoever to come back here...I feel miserable. But when I try to express my feelings to my mother, it turns into an argument. She's frustrated because her children have all left her, and they don't come home to visit or call as often as she would like. She accused me of hating her and being a selfish person..."after all that she's done for me." It's true though. My mom HAS done so much for me! I feel like a horrible person, and I don't know what to do. I want to go and live on my own, but I feel guilty for trying to start my own life and not moving back into my parent's house...like i'm abandoning them for my own selfish motives of having a fresh start. I'm honestly not sure who's right, and i'm not searching for a pity party. I just need someone to talk some sense into me and help me figure out if what i'm deciding is completely selfish, and if it isn't...how can I help my mom understand when she doesn't want to?

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Some parents define themselves by their children. There might be a very good reason all of your siblings left the state.

If I were you, I'd stop discussing it with your mother since she takes it badly, have fun at college and make your plans when it's time to do so. Tell your mother you love her, but you need your own life. Anything you decide to do right now isn't likely to last forever.

I wouldn't trade my 10 years in San Francisco for anything.

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It sounds familiar. Let me tell you that if it wasn't for me (and my rebellious ways) my parents would still have me at home AND single!

Sorry if this sounds harsh, even though I feel it for your mom, she is the one being a little selfish here (IMO). Do NOT feel guilty (I know, it's hard!) but don't let others dictate what you must do specially at the age of 23.

Just do not speak with her about it anymore and when the time comes, just tell her you love her but you want to live on your own. Keep in touch regularly so she doesn't misses you so much. She will survive. :)

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children are meant to leave home. supposedly we all know this and desire it when we have them. i would go to school and make plans for my life. make sure you write her regularly or call or whatever so she does not feel abandoned. i would not discuss details of plans till you have made a decision and do it in a sharing way not an "i want your advise" way.

i'm guessing (and it's a huge assumption so i apologize if i'm way off) your parents don't have the best marriage. your mom probably devoted her life to her kids to avoid facing that fact. now that the kids are gone she is left with nothing satisfying. you get the lucky position of being "the last one". she wants you there as her comfort and support to deal with and distract from the poor marriage. and i think she does need you, you should have some compassion for where she is and all she has done for you. that doesn't mean giving your life to her or making her mistakes all over again.

make it a matter of prayer and you will know what to do with your life and for your mom.

i suggest if you want to be close to them but not in that chaos you keep a 1 to 2 hour drive radius between you and your parents. that is close enough for frequent visits but far enough that they have to be planned. your mom won't have the ability to impose (like she is now) on your life and future spouse and children but she can be involved.

this stage in life isn't about cutting your family out of your life. it's about finding that balance of how to now be equals with your parents. you are all adults now, the relationship dynamics shift. that can be a tricky balance to find.

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Gwen's right: There's nothing wrong with wanting to find your own path. You don't want to live in the small town your family has lived in.

You're feeling a sense of dissatisfaction and a need to find adventure. You feel penned in, stifled, and you know there's something out there. Somewhere.

That's just the natural state of things for people. You grow up and know you aren't your parents. You deserve to make your own mistakes, to find love, to have your heart broken and to do all the things that people do.

That's okay. You'll find it. :)

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Here's my simple advice. Take it from me - the girl who flew halfway around the globe to "make her mark" against all odds.

Parents "need" their children. After 23 years of dedicating their lives to you, it is pretty crazy to have to let go of the children. But, that doesn't mean they should stop you from making your mark in the world.

So, it is really simple. Go wherever you can find the best opportunities. Call your mother often - daily if need be and visit often - as often as you can manage it. Install a video cam on her computer if necessary or buy both of yourselves an iPhone 4 or something. Invest in communication.

Me, I bought my mother a $1,000.00 plane ticket to visit as long as she wants to with me in my new home in America. She stayed for 6 months. It was awesome. Well, after the few days of her sitting in my kitchen crying because she can't believe my refrigerator is empty, I don't have china, and I don't even have a sugar and cream server. I had to drill into her head I don't need china and I don't need sugar and cream server since I eat off of paper plates and I don't drink coffee (I was Catholic then). We went to the grocery store and she spent $300 "filling" my refrigerator. She was happy after that and we had a blast for 6 months even if it irked her to no end having to eat off of paper...

You need to maintain a good relationship with your mother while conquering the world.

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Simply show her that you love her, perhaps send emails more often than calls - just to let her know how your life is going. She can't argue when you're sending an email. It will most likely make her feel a little better that things are going well for you though she is missing you and wants you at home. Send her mail in the post too.. maybe attach some photos, I'm sure all mothers would appreciate that.

I know my grandmother is far more tolerable through email - whenever we're on the phone it always ends horribly, so I email her instead..

As hard as it is, I agree with everyone here, try not to feel guilty. It's your turn to find your place and I'm sure your mother knows that, she's just having a hard time letting go?

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She wants me to come home after I graduate and live here. She's completely alone all day

...

they don't call very often.

...

She's frustrated because her children have all left her, and they don't come home to visit or call as often as she would like.

...

She accused me of hating her and being a selfish person..."after all that she's done for me."

...

I feel like a horrible person

...

I feel guilty

...

like i'm abandoning them for my own selfish motives of having a fresh start

Your mother is manipulating you in order to hang on to you. She fears being alone.

You should love her, and move away. Whenever she brings up the issue, you are a broken record: "I will always love you Mom, and I'll call you in a few days, and I'm coming back for a visit on X date."

Nothing else from you about it. You love her, you will call her, you will visit her. Over and over again until she gets it. (Oh- and you also have to make good on your promises to call and visit.)

To the extent that she lets you without becoming manipulative, share your life with her. If she's computer savvy, blog often. Write her emails or letters. Tell her you miss her. Figure out ways to let her know you're thinking about her. Again, if you don't mind spending time with her, you can even have an instant messager like Yahoo chat or Google Talk or something, and talk with her every day.

But if she spends the together time to manipulate and cause grief and complain, feel free to shut them off. Enabling bad behavior is not how you honor your parents.

how can I help my mom understand when she doesn't want to?

You can't. And since trying is making you both miserable, you should stop trying. Go live your life - her deal is her deal.

LM

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In some ways I can relate to the mother. I've been a single mom for almost 12 years now. Everything I've done and things I've sacrificed have been because of my kids.

Now that they are adults, I'm missing the being needed as they don't need me as much. One is away for college and the other two do their own thing.

Gets rather lonely at home at times as there are days when it's just me and the dog.

I used to have the thought I couldn't wait to be an empty nester. Now I'm finding that I'm not liking the idea as much.

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In some ways I can relate to the mother. I've been a single mom for almost 12 years now. Everything I've done and things I've sacrificed have been because of my kids.

Now that they are adults, I'm missing the being needed as they don't need me as much. One is away for college and the other two do their own thing.

Gets rather lonely at home at times as there are days when it's just me and the dog.

I used to have the thought I couldn't wait to be an empty nester. Now I'm finding that I'm not liking the idea as much.

My Mom was much the same way. She moved to Vancouver and now is involved in Native Rights and various political causes. She decided she wanted to make a difference rather than simply be at home. She now says she'd never want to move back, but she does still miss us. You can't help it. :)

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My Mom was much the same way. She moved to Vancouver and now is involved in Native Rights and various political causes. She decided she wanted to make a difference rather than simply be at home. She now says she'd never want to move back, but she does still miss us. You can't help it. :)

Seriously FT I need to be involved in something meaningful to me. Instead of moping about being alone, there is so much I could be doing in helping others. Thanks for reminding me of this.

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Seriously FT I need to be involved in something meaningful to me. Instead of moping about being alone, there is so much I could be doing in helping others. Thanks for reminding me of this.

I'm excited for you! You could learn a musical instrument, join a choir, go to cooking school, get involved in a political movement, write an Empty Nester Mormon Mom blog, make amateur films, write the novel you've always wanted to.

Think of all you've learned in your life. You could teach so much to so many, Pam, and now you have the time to do it. Yay you!

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I'm excited for you! You could learn a musical instrument, join a choir, go to cooking school, get involved in a political movement, write an Empty Nester Mormon Mom blog, make amateur films, write the novel you've always wanted to.

Think of all you've learned in your life. You could teach so much to so many, Pam, and now you have the time to do it. Yay you!

if i lived closer, i'd give you free flute lessons :P

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Sometimes we forget that parents have thoughts and dreams for how their own life is going to turn out, which includes their children being part of their life, being close to them and possibly being an actively involved grandparent. When they aren't able to have that, its just as hard for them. They are having to let go of their own dreams and hopes all while they want their children to succeed and be happy. Its hard and we need to give parents grace and continued connection during those hard times. Not saying that you shouldn't do what you need to for your life, just be kind and allow her to adjust and grieve.

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While I agree with much of what has been said, that you should find your own path, I would offer that you should eventually find some way of reminding your mom of her divine identity. She's afraid of losing her role as a mother in the here and now, but in truth she will never be removed from that role because it is infinite & eternal.

Motherhood doesn't end just because the kids are gone. It just enters a different stage. This is a fact that she of course knows in her heart, but life often has a harsh way of reminding us about facts. As much as you must set out on your own, she also must pass through her own test.

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Change is hard... for some more than others. Many women have a hard time adjusting to an empty nest. Be gentle with you Mom but also be firm in your resolve to make your decisions. This is harder for you because your siblings have been negligent in calling and visiting. Its very painful for a parent to lose contact with someone they have been so very intimately involved with for so long.

First pray about how to talk to your Mom. Don't argue with her. Just express love and appreciation for her and all she has done. Its ok to tell her that you appreciate her opinion. Talk to your Dad, ask him for help and advice in how to help your mother. It might be that she will accept suggestions from him about things she could do to fill her time when she won't from you.

(I'm assuming you are paying your own way? If Mom and Dad are supporting you then they have some say in your life, as much as we don't like it.)

In the end, how you proceed in life is up to you. You get to choose.

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Your mother is fundamentally immature. It's no wonder her and your father fight a lot. As a parent myself, I love my children and never wanted any of them to get married and leave the house. But as a mature adult, I realize its part of life, and GROWTH for them.

It's selfish and fundamentally immature to want anything else than complete independence on one's children's part. That's why we raise them-to go it alone at some point. I won't be here forever.

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