A Mother’s Day challenge was thrown out by Tamara of The Three Gerbers, asking us to list 10 ways our parenting has changed as our children grow older. I’m (gulp) a shit-ton of years older than she is, so my changes are probably more dramatic, but I’ll play along and give all of those young whippersnappers something to look forward to.
Here are some of my observations:
- All three of my “children” can (and do) teach me new tricks in the kitchen, but they still appreciate my familiar comfort foods. They used to get underfoot and drive me nuts, but now I love cooking with them when I have the opportunity. One thing hasn’t changed: I still get stuck with the dishes.
- I hate to admit this, but I’d much rather let them drive; they have so much more confidence than I. And yes, my kids’ hands shoots out in front of ME now when there’s a sudden stop.
- I can still embarrass my daughter, only now it’s on social media for everyone to see. The boys have stronger survival instincts and steer clear of Facebook and Twitter.
- I message my daughter for fashion advice. “Can I wear boots with jeans that are snug around the calf?” “What? I can’t wear socks with flats?” She knows this stuff, and I’m hopeless.
- Surprisingly, they really haven’t changed much. Their personality traits have just strengthened, if anything. From oldest to youngest: artistic/independent/affectionate, creative/sensitive/capable, stubborn/erudite/irreverent. And all of them are very witty. The boys are like a comedy team. Their sister can hold her own, but I haven’t seen all three together for years. I’d be an appreciative audience for that show!
- When they were younger, I felt that they were at least obligated to listen to my advice. Now I’m more hesitant about butting in. They may not believe it, but I really do hold back, because once I left home, my mom didn’t give me advice unless I asked for it – and the older I get, the more I appreciate how hard that must have been. (Just for the record, I’d give anything to sit on the couch with her and have her dish it out with abandon.) I’m afraid I can’t claim the self-control my mother had.
- I’m the one getting reprimanded for having a potty mouth.
- As they get truly settled (if there is such a thing) I find I’m worrying less. Finances, health, safety, it all swims around in my head, but I’m confident they will find their own answers. They, however, are probably beginning to worry more and more about the same issues—with ME. Wait . . . I’m becoming one of the aging parents everyone is worried about?
- The older I get the more temptation there is to just sit in my (beloved) recliner and let the kids come to us. Now I understand why my parents did that as they aged. But until I am unable to travel, it’s important to go see them, too – especially now that there are grandchildren involved. Out of my comfort zone? Oh well. We’re heading to California to see the two oldest kids soon, and I can’t wait. Our youngest lives nearby, and he prefers to come here because then he can mooch a meal. Works for me!
- I’m in contact with my daughter a lot – thanks to social media. (I really don’t like to talk on the phone for some reason.) The boys? Not as much. But basically, they are all independent and busy. I guess I’d worry about them if they had to call Mama every day. I know I’m loved, and I’m truly glad they are so self-reliant. Still, I think that mother hen instinct is always there, wanting to gather them all close and keep them safe.
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