* because I said so …

Posted on January 9th, 2010 by melinda in my not so normal family

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It’s late, I’m tired and I can’t sleep. Parenting is typically not something I struggle with … that isn’t the case right this minute. I’m not sure if struggling would be the correct word or if I should use some word I really don’t know … but either way, I am having a hard time with this adult – adult child thing at this particular moment. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had moments of indecison and disagreement with both of my daughters concerning our differences in opinion about a decision they are about to make. My problem is this, they are both adults. One of them lives in my house, the other in an apartment at my dad’s house. They are great kids, and I truly mean that. I am a lucky mom. Which is most likely part of the problem now, I am not accustom to them having an opinion that differs from mine, or at least not one they are typically willing to express. But the truth is, they are growing up and I need to learn to let them go, let them make their own decisions and deal with the consequences of those decisions … good or bad. By the time I was Chrisi’s age, I was a mother, I was married & had another baby on the way. For the love of all that is good in this world … thank goodness neither of them have babies or husbands or. or. or. anything that requires the cleaning of a behinds or underwear that doesn’t belong to you. I know some of you have children, some of you have teens and some babies and some of you have grown children, so I need some advice. How do you ever learn to let go and let them be grown ups? I am still financially responsible for part of their needs, although they both work and go to college full time. I still know if they are home at a certain time or not … if they were away at school, I wouldn’t know. They don’t lie, they are either dumb enough or respectful enough to call, even if they know I am not going to agree with what they are asking. And they do ask, they always ask. Should I tell them “no” or should I simply say “make your own decision” and then worry myself sick because it’s what I do best? It’s not that I don’t want them to be grown up, I am enjoying them being big girls … I like that we can have meaningful adult conversation, I like that they are smart and responsible, I like that they typically don’t ruffle my mama feathers. But what I don’t like is not understanding the balance between being a butthead and being a caring mother. Simply put, I don’t know my role. I could use the “it’s my house and you will do what I say” policy, which tends to be my favorite … but one day, they won’t be at my house and if I haven’t allowed them to spread their wings a little, how will they know how to function on their own? But, we have rules, and rules are meant to be followed (holy cow, I just turned into my grandmommie) the next thing you know, I will be voting republican and asking for a Sarah Palin book.  I need to find a happy medium.   Richard would say “you are a control freak, let them be adults” and then he would throw a fit the first time they weren’t home at a respectable hour.  This is one of those times I really really wish my mama was here.  I could use her advice.  At this point, I am thinking a roll of duct tape might come in pretty handy. 

I would really appreciate any helpful hints.  If you have older children, what was your strategy?  If you have younger children, do you have a plan, what is it?  If you don’t have children … would you like to borrow mine for a few years?

And, I am curious … how old are they when “because I said so” is no longer effective?

me.

8 Comments on “* because I said so …”

  1. Frannie....

    You never stop being a mother.
    BUT, the Sarah Palin thing has me laughing my big fat but off….

    • melinda

      i am ever so glad i made you laugh! and i’m glad you haven’t decided to quit being a mama, especially since you have to mama me now too!

  2. Emmy

    Let me know what you figure out as i’m sure i’ll be able to use the adice in a few years or sooner lol!

  3. Wendy

    It seems like you will always want to be Mama Bear….I know I do. Hanna is 18 and my boy Patrick Lee aka Pudge is 16. While they are still pretty young, I find myself in the position that you are in pretty often. I wanna be in control, but I also remember how I felt when I was their age with overprotective parents. Using what I know, I do try to give them the benefit of that….lol…. Lots of advice. But I take each situation and think how would I have felt? Is this a safe situation? …. Once they reach 18, and are still living under your roof, you can still boss them if you want. But it would be best to give them advice using your wisdom and talk them around to your way of thinking. Then they think that THEY made the right decision. But seriously, You can only give them your opinion and your advice and then they choose whether to use this advice or not. These kids are one day gonna have to make all their own decisions and sadly as you know, will one day not have you to ask about it. You have brought them up with the right morals and beliefs, and sometimes all you can do is pray that they stick by these. Hang in there Melinda, I know that our parents struggled with some of the same things we are…. signed ” Mama always in my kids business”

  4. Jodie

    Amen!!! Wendy said it all.

  5. Marjorie Markham

    My choice was to send them to college close enough for them to visit me, yet far away enough I don’t know or want to know what they have done. If that meant them having a loan to pay when they graduate, so be it. Nothing if free in this world. Bryant came out with $20,000+ in loans (low by the way) and has a job making over $40,000 right out of college. He can afford to pay his own loan. Britt ended up with about the same amount of loan, but didn’t have a good enough job to really pay a lot on it. So..instead of me bailing her out, she called them and asked if she could have it stopped for 6 mos. During that time, her job picked up, she became an assistant manager at a clothing store and is working full time. She has an apartment in Charlotte and can pay her own loan and feels proud to do so as she is building herself a good credit rating. Kayla is almost finished and I will wait to see what she does. Kevin on the other hand is the one I worry about. He may or may not be going off to college. If he doesn’t, a part of me wants him to get an apartment with some other guy, work and maybe take a class or two. He needs to see what real life is like and I really don’t want to know what it is he wants to do. I do know if he stays here there will be rules that the other 3 didn’t have cause they didn’t live here. So….its really up to him. If he goes to college, I won’t always know what he is or is not doing. If he stays here, he will have rules. If he doesn’t like that, then he needs to figure out how to move out. Does that mean I won’t help him if he does this? No. But it is a way for him to grow up and realize, one day the money won’t be coming from me or anyone else. Am I ready for an empty nest and being alone? NO! But I am also not a hotel or anything else. When a kid out of high school wants to do stuff they don’t want us to fuss about, then its time for them to find a place of their own, knowing we still love them and will be there for them. This is a road I will soon be crossing too.

  6. Dinah Austin

    hey Me. Well, I guess I have a different perspective. Since my boys and I moved back in with my folks, I still call my daddy before I leave to come home and he still expects me to be home at a respectable hour. I don’t always abide by his rules, but I know what they are and I respect them, and I’m 41 years old! But my daddy says that the reason my boys don’t always behave (and that’s really a rarity) is because I haven’t showed them who the mama is….. I’m a lot more nurturing than bossing…. just my nature I guess. But I know your girls, and you’ve done good, and they’ll be fine. You know we both had to sprout wings and so do they. And they’ll always be your little girls, but for some stupid reason, we can’t teach them some of those really hard lessons. They have to learn them on their own! Love you!

  7. melinda

    I truly appreciate all of the advice, idea’s and experiences from all of you. I have read thru them several times and take different things from each of them. Emmy, I am sad to say, I don’t have a plan but I’m sure that comes as no surprise to anyone. I never have a plan … for anything. Margie, I knew what your thoughts would be because we’ve discussed these issues many times and even though we differ on some of our opinions, I think we hold many of the same ideals to be true. Wendy, first of all, I am so glad you’re here! second of all, we probably parent very much the same. Dinah, of all the people who commented, I imagine we were raised the most alike … and even though I don’t live with my dad (cause he kicked me out) I still call before I leave work or the house, there is seldom a time that he doesn’t know where I am or what I’m doing, and he too would say I need to be more in charge from time to time. Evidentally, I have issues with cutting that proverbial umbilical cord in either direction. You know, I think this is one reason I love our blog so much. I get to learn from and communicate with all of you … it makes me feel blessed.

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