Motherhood is not just for raising the under 18 crowd. In fact, I can’t even honestly say it’s any easier. There are different challenges, for sure. For starters, they drive away to college in cars versus toddling across the room. They may even scream ‘You’re ruining my life’ in a tone as shrill as if they cried out for a 3 am feeding. And for a given timeframe – and it’s different for each adult child – you lose any sense of intelligence needed to make decisions, at least in their eyes.
And then they come around – somewhere in their 20s. Of course, they live miles away and you catch only a glimpse of it from time-to-time.
My mother gave me one of the best pieces of advice in parenting “adult” children (I use that term loosely to define anyone legally an adult) shortly before my daughter was born. She asked if I was going to return to work. I had no intention otherwise. When I told her all the reasons I wanted to work and have a family, she didn’t lecture me about why I should or shouldn’t; instead, she told me how proud she was of me and knew that I’d figure out how to juggle a career and motherhood.
That was my first lesson in learning to parent your adult children. You learn to listen; they don’t always want you to fix things. They just want a safe place to de-stress. If they ask or if you can offer advice without pushing your goals or ideas, you offer. Sometimes it falls on fertile ground and other times in a bed of thistles. And then you pray that you’ve given them all the tools they need to make the best decisions. But more than anything, you remain home base. The place where they always know they are safe and loved.