When Did Clingy Become So Cool


She made a vow saying, “….I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…”  1 Samuel 1:11

Recently, I ran into a friend who had seen a photograph of me and my daughter on her first college campus visit.  She and I waved cheerfully across the room and made our way to one another eager to catch up on the particulars of life and family.  While we were still arm’s length from one another, she grabbed me and gushed her concern, “Oh my gosh!  I saw your pic.  Aren’t  you just about to die?  How are you holding up?”

For a second, I struggled.  I didn’t want to disappoint, but I knew I couldn’t offer up the sentiments she was so anxious to hear.  You know the ones I’m talking about— those little phrases that seem to pop up every time our children reach a new stage in life as if they somehow demonstrate an usually special love for our child.  Phrases like “time slow down,” “where did my baby go,”  “can’t they just stay little forever,” or “If you see me falling apart this week…” 

With an apologetic shrug, I explained, “We’re actually really excited.  I mean, this is a pretty amazing time in her life.”

My friend just stared at me for a second or two before she finally managed a confused, “Oh.”

Before I could say more, she turned and left.

So there I stood.  

Awkwardly.   My “special love” unproclaimed.  Excitement unshared.  Wondering.

Wondering when it became it more socially acceptable to hold on to our kids rather than cheer them on.  Wondering when we started using language that makes our parenting more about ourselves and what we’re feeling than about the memorable milestones our children are experiencing. Wondering when clingy became so cool.  

I know that when we say “time slow down,” we’re not really intending to sound clingy or to make our parenting all about us. But if we think about it, that’s exactly what those phrases do.  And even worse? Those phrases are joy stealers.

Why?  Because when we make the show of clingy breakdowns the public testament of our affections, we fail to embrace the real joys of what new seasons in our children’s lives really mean:

1. New seasons bring a new purpose for both you and your child.

As our children grow, they need us in different ways.  As a result, our role as parent is ever-changing.  And those changes bring new rewards!  One stage is never as good as it gets.  It brings unimaginable joy to watch personalities bloom, interests emerge, and talents develop.  When we want to stubbornly hang on to one season, we miss out on all the blessings the next season holds- not just for ourselves, but for our children! Instead of bemoaning that our children are growing, let’s embrace our seasons and enthusiastically move forward to see what God has in store for us next.

“… All the days ordained for me were recorded in Your scroll before one of them even came into existence.”  Psalms 139:13-16

2.  New seasons bring about a new relationship with your child.

One of my favorite things about new seasons in my children’s lives is the way our relationships have opportunities to grow and deepen.  With each new season, we have the opportunity to get know and relate to our kids and they to us on different levels.  As our relationships develop, they have the potential to become more meaningful than we can imagine.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed.”  Proverbs 31:28

3.  New seasons bring your child closer to becoming the person he was designed to be.

Our children cannot become the amazing people they were meant to be when we want to hold them hostage to certain stages of life.  God has a plan for each of us, but we stand in the way of those plans when we don’t want our kids to progress or grow into who they were designed to be.

“For I know the plans and thoughts I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

 As moms, we let go.  That’s what we do.  From the time we hold our sweet little bundles until the time we send them out on their own, the mom job is made up of hundreds maybe even thousands of moments of nurturing and loving and preparing and then letting go. And while popular phrases like “where did my babies go” may sound good, we have to ask ourselves who are those phrases really serving?  Ourselves or our kids?

Loving our kids isn’t about having a breakdown every time they do something new.  It’s about rejoicing that one stage has been successfully accomplished and the next one is about to begin.  It’s about fondly remembering even while we show them how to prepare for the next exciting thing life has to offer.  It’s about being an encourager of eagerness, adventure, and opportunity.  It’s about scooping them up and whooping “You did it!”  It’s about being strong so that they can be too.

Further Study:

  • Isaiah 43:18-20
  • Philipians 3:13-14
  • 2 Timothy 4:7-8
  • Psalms 32:8
  • Luke 2:52


You might also like these other top ASD parenting posts:

Mommy guilt is unhealthy for the soul. Learn how to replace this harmful habit with 4 healthy thought processes that will help you embrace your God-given ability to parent.



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  1. Amen Stacey!! Very well spoken! As a single mom, I felt like me and Jesus had accomplished something when my girl graduated from high school. She’s in her 3rd year in college, and it’s been so fun to watch her grow up and know that I was there every step of the way. Now I take a back seat to sorority sisters and her many obligations, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be! She’s stepping daily into who she’s supposed to be, and…well….I am getting to do the same thing!! it’s pretty cool to be friends with her now, and not have to be the authority figure. Clingy is soooo not cool! 🙂

    1. Bobo,

      I love how you said ” She’s stepping daily into who she’s supposed to be, and…well….I am getting to do the same thing!!” That. is. awesome. That is what it is all about right there!

  2. I always feel not normal because it don’t cry my brains out and take pics of every single moment of my boys’ lives. I always felt joyous and content. Now I know why. 😉

    1. Emily,

      I am glad this struck a chord! Your comment about being joyous and content is such an encouragement. Doing our jobs as moms means that our kids grow up and need us less and less. Even though we treasure every moment, there is such satisfaction in seeing them become who they are supposed to be!

  3. Thank you for the encouraging and challenging words…..
    I needed the reminder that this parenting journey is not about me and what is “mine”…but about being a part of GOD’s plan in my children’s lives and in seeing what He has in store for them in their next stage.
    I can’t deny that there have been and will be tears during this senior year but there have been those moments of awe to see how my boys have grown and matured.

    1. Jan,

      I love how you say “being a part of GOD’s plan in my children’s lives”! I have a wise friend who has been saying over and over lately, “this is THEIR story, and I am so glad to be a part.” Sometimes, I get so caught up in parenting that I only think about this as my story. That has been a particular encouragement as we face this senior year and all the decisions that come with it.

  4. I agree! There are days I do want time to slow down, for one more snuggle that inevitably changes, but for the most part, I am enjoying the various phases my kids are in. Whej my oldest we to college, I was amazed how many people did react like you’ve shared, and I’m thoroughly embracing the new relationship we are building. Change is not always easy, but embracing it with joy sure makes it feel so much better! As always, spot on Stacey!

    1. Melanie,

      No truer words have been spoken- “Change is not always easy, but embracing it with joy sure makes it feel so much better!” When our kids reaches new stages and our relationships inevitably change, it can be so rich and rewarding to focus on developing that and seeing their personalities take shape. I love that you are embracing it all! And yes, sometimes, it is a MUST to remind ourselves to slow down (for me, at least)… so that we have time to embrace and enjoy and get the most out of each stage!

  5. THANK YOU for writing this, my dear friend! EXACT same thing is happening to me! Deb is graduating early, and everyone keeps asking how I’m holding up, how am I “ever” going to let her go? Isn’t she still a baby? We are TGRILLED that she is smart enough to graduate early, that she is adult enough and secure enough to go off to college having just turned 17 years of age. She deserves this time in her life and we want to be HAPPY for her and let her grow! Not be clingy. So, I needed this piece of wisdom. Thank you! Send Lauren to A&M and Deb & her can be Roomies! 😉

    1. Peggy,

      I hate that this happened to both you and Melanie (see her comment above). It is just as important for moms to share their parenting joys with one another as it is to receive support during the tough times. Being happy for our kids when they grow mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally is what parenting is all about- that growth is the whole purpose of parenting. Wouldn’t it actually be heartbreaking if they never did grow?

  6. I love this, very well said! I’ve always felt a little abnormal to be excited and not crying for the next stage in my children’s lives. I couldn’t be prouder of them. Thanks for confirming clinging to not what we’re supposed to do!

    1. Christi,

      I am saddened to hear that so many of us were left to feel that something was “weird” about us as moms because we felt excitement for our children instead of grief because they were changing and growing. I just want to encourage moms everywhere to feel proud and enthusiastic when we can because it makes our jobs so much easier! I am so glad to hear how proud you are of your kiddos! Doesn’t that just bring you so much joy? Love it.

    1. Karen,

      You are so welcome! This mom gig is no joke, for sure. And none of us want to miss out on a single joy that God has for us or our kids. Much love.

  7. Although I agree with what you are saying and have tried for the most part to be supportive of my children’s choices, its been a stuggle at times to be without them. I miss them terribly and do have regrets now that they are gone. I did not spend as much time with them as I could have, I didn’t teach certain skills and the list goes on. The relationship changes drastically once they are not under your roof. It’s very bittersweet. I love that they are finding their way and now being a mom of two adult children and still having three at home has changed me as well. God gives them to us for such a short time and now I am making changes in my life for my three younger children to be more involved and even more approachable. I have missed so much with work and the little things that drag me from my children. Empty nest is no joke. It’s liberating and strange.

  8. Jamie,

    You are so right in that is IMPORTANT to for US (not time) to slow down and make the most of each stage while they are with us. We all have regrets about things done or not done as a parent, and that is very real. You are not alone. It sounds like you are very much focusing on the positive though- making choices to savor when you can, embracing the richness of relationships with your grown children. I know we all can learn from you what you have shared here.

  9. I had a conversation with a friend about how our kids are growing up and adulting so well not long ago. I myself made the comment that I was “sad” over mine growing up(Shelby recently graduated college, got a job and moved out within 2 months of graduation). It was hard for me to comprehend and adjust too so quickly and her too! My friend made the comment that it wasn’t “sad” and that struck a nerve with me at that moment and I’ve thought about it a lot since that conversation. They were right! And so are you! It’s a sign that we must’ve done something right as parents for them to feel secure and able to do those adulting things and for that I’m very proud! And it just so happens that I feel my relationship with my daughter is so much closer since she’s made all these changes in her life. It’s a blessing to see how much she’s grown. Best wishes to your daughter in her new adventures!

    1. Melinda,

      Those are a LOT of changes all at once! And believe you me, I have struggled with the best of them… even when I thought I was doing so good at letting go… then I learn all the ways I am still holding on. So, I completely understand. But I am so thankful for all the times when I can watch my kids soar and feel so proud! Makes me remember why we ‘mom’ so hard like we do!! Bittersweet is such a true description of letting them go.

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