Not sure if this post is going to be more of a rant, advice (like I have any haha), or just a brain dump to release all of the built up emotions I have regarding my soon to be 22 year old daughter who I love dearly and who is currently in the process of adulting.
Everyone has advice on how to raise a child from ages 0-18, but no one tells you what to do with them once they are adults or what I like to refer to as adult children. What I’m talking about is that transitional period from 18 to about 25ish and beyond when they vehemently refer to themselves as adults who should be respected. Yet they still lack the common sense and maturity to actually successfully adult (whatever that is).
Now don’t get me wrong, my daughter is mature beyond her years. She was a very successful athlete throughout her youth which kept her very busy, never a party-er or big on the social scene. We had a great relationship throughout her teen years and I thank my lucky stars everyday that we didn’t go through a lot drama because frankly I don’t think I would have the energy to thwart any major catastrophes.
Things changed pretty dramatically in our relationship once she reached adulthood and I quickly had to learn the difference between a parent/child relationship and our budding adult friendship/relationship. I will tell you that trying to balance the strong desire to continue to parent your adult child, and the need to allow them to make their own way in life and ultimately make their own mistakes without interference has been a struggle to say the least.
It’s so hard as a parent to decide when to step in and give advice and when not to. I try and remind myself all the time what I was doing at her age which was a big fat nothing. But for some reason my advice and opinions just come out as word vomit anyway. And this is obviously met with hostility as of late from my daughter.
I have made it my life goal to make sure they get to adulthood successfully, child-free, and hopefully with a college education at the end. But no one told me it was going to be so hard to let go. Literally I feel like she was a Freshman in high school and then I blinked and I was watching her walk at graduation.
Fast forward 3 almost 4 whole years and I honestly wouldn’t believe we are here if the calendar and my aging skin didn’t tell me. The last few years have been extremely enlightening and transitional at times. Both my kids no longer need me to tie their shoes, or pick out their outfits, or even get them up in the morning. And it’s really a rude awakening and reality check into what is to come in the future.
I always knew they would adult eventually, but the emotions surrounding it actually happening are what I didn’t know to expect. And maybe I am still trying to coddle because I long for the days of needing to be needed. I do however struggle everyday to realize I have done my job and done it well enough that they are thriving even with minor set backs.
As a parent when it comes down to it, I think all we really want is for our children to do better than we could have ever imagined ourselves possibly doing. We don’t want our kids to make the same mistakes that we have, or experience the heartache and misery that sometimes comes along with those mistakes. But one thing I am slowly realizing is maybe they have to make those mistakes? I mean really if we didn’t make mistakes or make bad choices, or if we all followed the same path, then how the heck would we ever learn and mature on our own? So I guess trying to coddle our children and protect them ALL the time does more harm than the good we think we are doing.
I will never regret my choices as a mother, but the one thing I would tell anyone who has children is to cherish every last second. Spend as much time being present as you possibly can and really loving them unconditionally even when you are exhausted.
Some day they will want to adult and may or may not want your advice or need your helping hand. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the second that phone rings with a “mom I need your help” I’ll be running to solve their problems and help in whatever way they need me. And I will of course continuously learn to evolve and take a step back when asked to as my role has changed….word vomit and all. 🙂