Home » Family » On Being a Mom (of adult children)

On Being a Mom (of adult children)

I’ve heard moms ask, on different occasions, “When do you get to stop worrying (about your kids)?”

The truth is — you don’t. You signed up for a lifetime commitment when you became a mom.

The worrying changes, how you handle it becomes tricky.

You can hold your toddler back from running into traffic. You can tell your preteen that you don’t like their choice of friends and you can take away privileges. You can put them in timeout when they’re young and ground them when they’re older. That’s how you teach them safe from unsafe and right from wrong.

And then they turn eighteen. Maybe they think they’re ready to be adults. Maybe they’re smart enough to realize that they need your wisdom. Then they start the process of becoming adults. But they’re still your kid, right? Yesterday they were seventeen and today they’re eighteen. That’s the only change you see. You hope that the lessons that you taught them stay with them. You know there are no guarantees.

But the process begins then. Your child faces some of the same struggles that you, as a mom, face, only from a different perspective. They have to start making some important decisions on their own and you have to let them. They begin to make mistakes and you can’t step in and fix them. Sometimes they make choices that  you don’t agree with, but you have to step back and let them travel their own journey to adulthood.

And gradually they become adults, real adults with real careers and real adult obligations and they handle it all. And you wonder when it happened. I mean, weren’t you just kissing boo boos and reading Little House books to them?

Guess what… They will always be your children. You won’t always like their choices, but if you’re wise you will keep your opinion to yourself unless asked. You’ll sometimes wish they traveled their journey down a different path, but if you’re wise you won’t let them know unless they ask. You’ll always wish you could fix their mistakes, but you can’t. You will always want them to have the most perfect smooth life, but you just can’t. And sometimes that’s the hardest part of being a mom of an adult child.

And you will always always worry.

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6 thoughts on “On Being a Mom (of adult children)

  1. Laura, can you tell my mom this? Seriously. I’m in my 40s and she still does not understand the “you’ll sometimes wish they traveled their journey down a different path, but if you’re wise you won’t let them know unless they ask” part. She gives advice like I’m still a preteen. And I’m her OLDEST kid! I love her to death but honestly she’s never gotten it through her head that I know when to drink more fluids or fill the gas tank. This is especially maddening when yoi consider I’ve been an adult for more than half my life, and have navigated a lot of big ugly “grown up” problems in all this time, even if I don’t have a husband and children. She forgets that I DO ask her advice on big things like managing a problem with an employee, deciding whether to relocate, or finding a better way to supplement my business and move my “new” career forward in a less-than-stellar economy. I will happily seek her wisdom on a lot of things, but she really doesn’t need to micromanage the day-to-day stuff that we all deal with on automatic pilot, on a regular basis.

    OK, I feel better now. 😉

  2. Pretty good, from Melanie. The only thing I tell my daughter is about her business, which is thriving, and that is “Don’t be afraid to sell it.”She just grins and says “Yes, ma.”

  3. Beautifully written, Laura. I have a 27 year old daughter so this resonates deeply – I say little (if anything) unless asked. I’m lucky to be close with my girl, but still I tread carefully around how involved I get in her life. Ah.. the joys of being a parent! 🙂

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