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Transition from Life Phase 2 to Life Phase 3 is a Trip!
The Four Life Phases are much like the process that the butterfly goes through before they finally take flight
Parenthood Knows No Race, Color, Creed, or Religion
When our children graduate, They get the Sheepskin, we as their Parents Graduate to a New Life Phase!
Life Phase 2 (D.K.) During Kids
Working backward from the previous article I wrote, I wanted to share our experience and advice when transitioning from Life Phase 2 (D.K.) into Life Phase 3 (A.K.). Many of the readers of that article, private and public comments has prompted me to write about the Life Phase transition that most don’t navigate well, simply because we were never taught about there being different Life Phases. From our experience, the transition from Life Phase 2 into Life Phase 3 can be a trip if you let it.
Life Phase 2 (D.K.) During Kids
From the moment that you learned and brought that bundle of joy home from the hospital, your focus has been solely on them. While this is only Right thing to do, in the process 18-21 years, we can tend to lose who we used to be.
Our focus is intently upon our children. The more children, the more we, ourselves get shoved into the far reaches of our memories. Then the day finally arrives, Graduation Day!
However, what we have failed to realize is that it not only is it a Graduation for our children into adulthood; it is also every Parents Graduation into Life Phase 3 (A.K.) After Kids.
Life Phase #1 - The Becoming One Process Begins
Life Phase #2 - Your Children are individuals and will grow up with their own minds, their choices to make, and own directions to take
Consider this for a moment, over the past 20+ years you and your partner have changed!
Being human, as we all are, somehow we have gotten the mistaken notion that things will never change, we will never change.
However, this could not be further from the truth. We all change, and evolve over the course of our lifetimes and through each different Life Phase that we journey.
Funny thing is, as we make our journey through the different life phases, the people that THINK they know us, are the one that don’t really know us at all.
In life phase #2 we don’t even know ourselves, how could our children even think that they know who we really are as people? The opposite is also true, how can we possibly say we know our children?
As you and your partner approach the Graduation/Transition into Life Phase #3 from Life Phase #2, you should be asking yourself these 7 questions:
- Now I ask you, do you still have the same want to you did 20+ years ago in your (B.K.) Before Kid days?
- Do you really remember what your want to was before kids?
- What did you like to do before you had children?
- What did you do with your free time before children?
- What changed once the children came along?
- Do you really remember, or are they simply watercolor memories that have faded the thorns of life or the beauty that once was?
- What has been whitewashed or has faded over time will be revealed going into and throughout Life Phase #3?
Before we get into that heavy life phase transition questions, let’s look at the lighter side of the transition.
Meals are definitely different!
One of the first things that you will discover once you and your partner have entered Life Phase #3 is that your meals, and quite possibly your meal times have changed. Especially the quantity!
When you have multiple children, those of you that don’t cannot imagine the food bill each week for a family of 7. Without coupons our food bill averaged 600-800 per month, and the older the children got, the higher the bill was.
Using coupons back in our beginning days was not an option since we both worked, and for issues that will not be discussed in this article; we could only shop for each days meal after work every day of the week. To use coupons effectively, you must be able to stock up.
- Our First Meal after our youngest left home to join the Army
The first meal that Don and I had after our youngest went off to boot camp was our traditional Salmon Patties with a twist. Instead of using a package of saltine or Ritz crackers as the filler, which I did to make the salmon go further when the kids were home, this time, there was NO FILLER ADDED.
Five ingredients that was it!
- One Can of Bumblebee Salmon
- One egg
- Salt – (this would have been replaced by the package of Ritz or Saltine Crackers when the kids were home)
- Onion or Garlic whatever was available
With the first bite, Don and I looked at one another across the table and said; “Wow, so this is what Salmon Patties are supposed to taste like?” I do believe that was our first taste of this new Life Phase called Number 3, and what a trip around the taste buds it was! Reminded us of the scripture, “oh, taste and see that the Lord is Good!”
Brief Life Phase Chart to Plot your course
Life Phase #1
Adult Life Phase 21-25 y.o.a.
quality couple time: 5-8 hr daily
Life Phase #2
Parental Life Phase 26-45 y.o.a.
quality couple time: 0-3 hrs daily
Life Phase #3
Retirement Building: 46-65 y.o.a.
quality couple time: 5-8 hrs daily
Life Phase #4
Life Refirement: 66-80+ y.o.a.
quality couple time: 16+ hrs daily
In Life Phase #2 Quantity was what mattered the most, however in Life Phase #3 you get to experience Quality over Quantity.
While we enjoyed that meal, we noticed something after dinner that evening. We had mashed potatoes left to feed a small army, not to mention green peas that would last for a couple of more meals more than we would be willing to eat leftovers.
Which led us to our first 2 lessons in Life Phase #3:
- Whatever you have used as filler whether in your food, or your relationship between you and your partner, will become obvious by the taste!
- Now is when we get to experience the Quality that we have been missing!
- The transition into Life Phase #3 is a Transition in Position.
Now it is not like something hit us over the head as soon as we were transitioning into the third Life Phase. It has taken us the past 7 years to get the words and understanding for this transitioning. We are currently in Life Phase #4 and have been for almost 3 years now, and as I discussed in the other articles, it wasn’t by choice, but by a blessing in disquise.
Transition in Position
I had to smile a bit when naming this capsule. That is because of something that my ex-husband said to me the day after we had gotten married.
While standing in my closet, trying to find something to wear for the afternoon with my maid of honor and his best man, he begins sorting through my clothes, saying as he moved each article of clothing to either one side or the other of the closet…
“You have attained a higher status now as a married woman, and your clothes will have to change…this is single, this is single, that’s married, that’s married, etc…”
While I am not going to tell you that your clothes have to change when you transition into Life Phase #3, however I am telling you that there will be changes that you must make in this transition of position. This transition of position in Phase #3 will not only be required with your children, but also with your partner.
Life Phase #3 is when you can become friends with your children…or not.
As a Pastor who started as a pastoral care and children’s pastor, I have to say, the biggest mistake that I have seen parents make when raising their children is that they are trying to be friends and authority figures at the same time.
The problem with trying to be friends with your children before the proper Life Phase is that it will skew your relationship with your partner. Your partner, not your children should be your best friend.
- This is area where if you and your partner aren’t open and honest with each other, your friendship with your children will come between you and your partner.
- Your responsibility in Life Phase #2 is to raise your children to become productive member of society, and equip them with the Life skills that will be required to make it as an adult.
- Your priority in Life Phase #3 is your partner, your life plans, and then being friends with your children if it is possible.
The “empty nest syndrome” that many couples fear is because they have forgotten their (B.K.) selves. Or because you were young when you started your family you may have never known your true (B.K.) self.
For the past 20 years you have had your focus on developing this new little person into the productive adult. Now is YOUR time, to reconnect as a couple making your plans for the future, and building toward Life Phase #4 REFIREMENT PHASE.
Yes, I said refirement instead of retirement because if you and your partner transition into Life Phase #3 effectively, then Life Phase #4 will already be laid out before you, and can be adjusted as needed through your decisions and choices that you make in Life Phase #3.
Your Children may look like your clones, but they aren't!
What the Brady Bunch did in making us believe that blended families work just like they did. That same type of misinformation has caused us to somehow believe that all parents are to become best friends with their children.If we aren't friends with our adult children, somehow we have failed as a parent.
- Allow me to set the record straight, our children may look like our clones, however their choices and the decisions that they make are purely their own.
While neither Don nor I can sit here and tell you that our family is perfect, and we made the transition into Phase #3 perfectly. What we can share with you is our victories, defeats, and the lessons that those life experiences have given us.
We still maintain that the events of our First Date/Marriage Counselling session that we believe the Lord had us go through at are first meeting was an important first step.
While we tell the story of our first date pieces in both of my second edition books, A Life of Significance and Sharing Your Faith Effectively
- One thing is sure: The Children will grow up, fly away, and it will be back to just the two of you, for Bitterment or Betterment, the choice is yours!
Invitation to Share
Please feel free to share your comments, questions, or general comments about your thoughts on the article. We hope that you have been blessed and enlightened as you look forward to entering Life Phase #3.
Also please feel free share this article with your friends as family, you never know who might need a bit of encouragement through the different Life Phase transitions.
© 2015 Cammy Walters