Stop Calling Me MOM!!
At what point do you stop mothering your children? Maybe it’s like the answer to the question: how many licks does it take to get to the center of tootsie pop? The world really may never know.
For me, this has been the toughest job to quit. I understand that you don’t quit being a mother, but I wish the mom who’s been able to stop mothering would pass on the secret. In most cases, we do our very best to raise good humans to introduce into the world. We impart upon these humans the knowledge and guidance that we believe they will need to be successful, responsible, independent members of society. We may hug them as they go off to the military or help them move into their dorm rooms or even give them a car to move to a different state. We feel accomplished. We’ve done our jobs. We can move on with our own lives. And then it happens, we realize that we believe that they are not ready. So, we micromanage their adulthood.
We demand that they check in, 8 – 10 times a day. These check-ins include, but are not limited to, where you are, who you’re with, what you’re doing, why you’re doing that. Send me a picture of what you’re wearing, a copy of the ID of the person you’re with. What time will you be back and when you get here knock on my bedroom door so that I know you made it safely, even though I’ve not been to sleep – and that’s if they still live at home. If they’ve moved out, these things still apply but now they must include all information about their friends. Do they have jobs, use drugs, drink and drive? Who lives with them and tell me about those people too. Yes, parenting is exhausting!
At some point though, we really do get tired and promise ourselves that we are going to let them live their lives and now we’re off to live ours. FYI, that lie is equivalent to the one that says "I have read and understand the terms of this agreement". And since now they are living their lives and experimenting with the things of the world, panic takes over our entire being. We can’t sleep again, we’re not eating, we see or hear of an accident and pretend to casually call them, just to say hi, when we really need to make sure that they weren’t the ones in the car that flipped over on the freeway. We struggle with the urge that’s driving us to take a cruise around town to see if we can spot them. I hope you live in a small town because if the price of gas is around $5 per gallon, you’re about to go on an expedition that’s costly and not close to enjoyable.
We ride this merry-go-round until anger makes you stop, frustration sends you to a near nervous breakdown or you finally just get it! Let me know how that’s working for YOU. For me, it’s sporadic moments of “I’m going to live my life” or “I’m sick of this mess” or “it’s MY time”! You begin to do things that make you happy. Go out with your own friends, maybe meet some new ones. Stop jumping every time the phone rings while they are out of your sight (there’s that lie again). And slowly it happens, you begin to really let go, you find some peace, you finally get it. After all, your kid is nearing 40 years old. Back pats all around because you have finally become that non-parenting parent. And then it happens, you’re spending some casual leisure time together and one of them is guaranteed to trigger your alarm. They say the one word that undoes everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Now the work must begin again.
They call you Mom!!