Celebrating Women for the Real World



Life as a grown-up

This is one of those “reflection” posts.  You know the kind.  The kind when life catches up to you, you have a few glasses of wine, and a day from hell.  Well, make that a WEEK from Hell!

Girls, let’s get real.  When we were little, what was one of the biggest “pretend” games we used to play?  I used to play “dress up”.  We used to pretend we were adults.  For me, I was always the mom, with a ton of kids, a job, making dinner, playing house, etc.  I even planned my wedding.  I knew how I was going to walk down the isle, smile at the respective guests, be stunningly gorgeous.  Then reality hit!

Is married life what you thought it would be?  Is adulthood what you thought it would be?  Is motherhood what you thought it would be?

Fade back to reality! 

SuZan and I were talking about what it’s like to have sons that are 18 years old.  Adults!  They could fight for our country.  Yet, in our minds, they are still our sons.  Our little boys that were dependant upon us for everything.  EVERYTHING! 

Now SuZan and I are entering into a different realm with our kids.  Did I think this transition would be difficult?  Nooooo.  Is it?  Yes!  We still want to tell them what to do.  We still don’t know when to let go.  We aren’t entirely sure of how we fit into their lives.  Oh sure, I used to talk the talk.  The “not as long as they live under my roof” talk.  Guess what-it’s much harder in reality.

We still feel we know what’s best.  And most of the time, we do.  But sometimes we have to step back and let them fall.  Is it easy?  Nooooo.  They fall harder when they’re bigger.  Picture this, their first steps.  You walk behind them, hands on both sides, ready to catch them in case they fall.  Teaching them to ride a bike.  You hold on to the back of the bike and reluctantly let go.  You run along side it, as fast as you can, to catch them in case they start to fall.  It’s no different.  Now we have to do a different kind of catching.

Exciting?  Yes!  I’m excited to see what their next step will be.  Terrifying? Yes!  I don’t want to see them fall.

What made me start writing this?  A conversation with my boss.  His oldest daughter is a Freshman in High School.  He had one of those exasperated looks when I asked how his kids were.  We started talking about his daughter.  Now, he’s older than me.  He’s my boss for crying out loud.  But I felt that I needed to share some things that I wish that someone would have shared with me.  First and formost, I told him to except her for who she is.  Does that mean you let her get away with whatever she wants?  No.  That means to offer her guidance and direction, then let go.  Just like when she was learning to walk.  You were there for her when she fell, but you taught her and guided her and encouraged her to walk.  His job now is to guide her, encourage her, and let her know that he’s there if she stumbles.

Next, we made sure that the path was clear and free from anything that could hurt them.  But we knew they needed to explore.  As parents of teenagers, we need to create a safe environment.  An environment that’s safe for them to fail.  Does that mean encourage them to fail?  No.  Does that mean to let them do whatever they want?  No.  That means that we teach them, guide them, give them the tools to suceed; then back off and be there if they fall.  That’s the letting go part.  Even when we know that they may fail, we must let go.

Let me give you an example of what I mean when I say fail.  As I said, SuZan and I have adult children.  They are 18.  They can vote, serve our country, and be convicted in the court of law as an adult.  Spring Break was upon us.  My son and his Friends were planning a week long visit to the beach.  Instead of saying no, or planning it for him, I said OK.  I mean really, he is 18.  He could drop out of school without my consent.  I said OK, but I didn’t offer any planning advice – at all!  Now you and I both know that, if you don’t have hotel reservations for Spring Break by September, chances are slim that you’ll find availability.  Secondly, we know how much it costs to drive anywhere.  Finally, there are the expenses of reality, such as food!

I asked several times if they had their reservations, etc. to which I was told “Don’t worry about it.”  So I didn’t.  Guess what, Spring Break came and went.  There was no beach vacation as…..No one planned ahead and got reservations!  Lesson learned.  Now I could have talked til I was blue in the face, but I think the lesson got through louder and clearer finding out on their own.

Does this pertain to those of you with small children?  Yes.  I wish someone would have told me not to try to make everything perfect for them.  They have a school project.  help them?  Yes.  Do it for them?  No.  If they do the work and it’s not the biggest, baddest, prettiest little thing presented, so what!  They did it themselves.  If their’s is not the best, let’s hope that this experience motivates them to try harder.

Well, I don’t want to bore you any longer.  I hope I’ve encouraged and shed some light on the subject of child rearing.  Is my advice the best advice?   Probably not.  Is it advice based on my bumps and bruises along the way?  Yes!!!  I also learned that it’s OK to ask for help.  To say “I don’t know all the answers.”  To turn to your friends for strength, support and advice.  It takes a village.  So let this be our offer to you, to be part of your village.  We want to help, encourage, and stand behind you when you need it!

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Comments

  1. I hope y’all are part of my village when my spawn blows into this world. I’ll be coming to you two a lot.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  2. * Katie says:

    Somedays I don’t want to be a grownup.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  3. You have no idea how much that post just scared the shit out of me. Just thought you should know!

    xxx

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  4. * Shell says:

    Ummmm…yeah…that whole no children in my life thing is looking even better.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  5. * Kami says:

    That is why I call you guys. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  6. * Carrie says:

    My adult life is waaaaaaaay different than I imagined. See, I am not married to some super hottie, I do not have a mansion, don’t drive a ferarri and have no kids wandering around… talk about reality. *sigh*

    this was an EXCELLENT post!!! Love it! Excellent advice!!!

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  7. * Dixie says:

    Great post!

    Even better advice!

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  8. * Missy says:

    That was a great post. I have a 22 month old. I love the learning to walk analogy. I will keep that one in mind.

    And can’t wait to meet you at the BB.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  9. * Arlene says:

    I appreciate that, because there are times I need help!! Like now, with boys starting to like my 9 yr old!! It helps that I have such a great relationship with her dad and step mom, because they’re normally the first people I call when there’s a kid crisis 🙂
    I’ve always tried to let my kids learn on their own. When Ariel learned to crawl up onto the couch, then would scream to be let down, only to do the whole thing over again, I stopped getting her down. She first learned to roll down, which she didn’t mind much, then figured out how to back down. I’ve also sent them both on at least one occasion to school with their homework not finished so they could lose their recess, and realize that there are consequences. I have really good kids, and I like to think it’s a combination of them being smart, and me letting them stretch their wings and be comfortable in their own skin and with their own choices. I know this will all change as they get older, and I just hope I still know what I’m doing enough to change with it. I love my babies, and I want nothing more than for them to succeed and be happy 🙂

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  10. * Arlene says:

    Oh, and yeah, life is much harder than I thought it would be, and most of the time, not nearly as fun 🙂

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago
  11. This was a fantastic post! It’s giving me a panic attack for the future though 🙂

    Parenting is hard. Being a grown up is hard. But I still love it! Thankfully I have good friends to fall back on to help me through it.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 8 months ago


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