By Heidi Fisher
I still smile as I remember the days when my little ones would crawl all over me or grab onto my leg when we were out, just to make sure that I was still around. I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom and spent countless hours answering their curious questions (apparently I used to be the smartest person ever), doing crafts ( I was also the most talented), or singing along with the latest Disney musical that played over and over again on our VCR (yes, I am that old). Everyone wanted to sleep in the same bed with my husband and me because their bedrooms seemed so far away from ours. They couldn’t get enough of us.
Fast forward. One just graduated college and is now back at home, while the other is applying to colleges. I’m working, and they’re living their lives. We occasionally see each other at home, but everyone always has someplace to go and someone to see. With four adults in the house, the rooms that seemed too far apart when our kids were young, seem too close for comfort to them now. As a matter of fact, when we got home from dinner last Saturday night, we thought our daughter was excited to see us when we heard her running down the steps, instead she asked, “What are you doing here? I have a friend coming over.” My husband and I just looked at each other.
These days, instead of being the all-knowing mom, I’m told that my generation doesn’t understand. Craft projects have been replaced with binge watching, and I don’t even recognize the songs they listen to now.
Why, at times, do I feel like I really don’t know much about these two adults who I’ve known all their lives? When did this cohesive, fun family become roommates who still love and care about each other, but are challenged by living under the same roof?
When I asked Joe Honsberger, a JCS Clinical Therapist, what I can do to get the harmony back, he said, “It’s looks like you’ve done your job of helping your adult children to become independent. Your role has changed as a mom, and this is your new normal.”
Here are some of Joe’s suggestions on how to develop and maintain a healthy adult relationship with adult children.
- Respect that your child needs space.
- Let them know that you will always be there for them when they need you.
- Try reconnecting in a different way through similar interests.
- Request one night a week for a family dinner.
- Continue to be a mom and give advice, but understand that it’s up to them to choose if they will follow your advice.
In recognizing that my adult kids have different needs than I am used to, I will work on shifting my expectations and my perspective. I guess I’ll have to wait for grandchildren in order to be thought of as smart and fun once again.
Heidi Fisher is the Communications Specialist for JCS
Marketing.Because children don’t come with an instruction manual, JCS offers a variety of programs, services, education and support for parents and families with children of all ages. Click here or call 410-466-9200 to learn more.