I am trying so hard NOT TO BE MY MOTHER. You have no idea how much that idea scares me. But I also don’t want to be such a push over that my daughter, now almost 19, feels she can disrespect me either.
So how do you parent an adult child? I mean they do have some freedom that a minor child does not have. However, they choose to live under your roof, eat your food, don’t pay rent, are on your health insurance and so on. Is there a line? What does that line look like? Does it change every year as they get older? Or should it be based on what they contribute to the household?
First let me explain, I am BLESSED with a very good daughter. She decided it was dumb, yes dumb, to have a boyfriend in high school because odds were the relationship would end and the drama was too much. My daughter got good grades, stayed out of trouble, picked good friends and her senior year got a part time job. I honestly was very lucky and didn’t have to lay down law and enforce a ton of rules.
Then she turned 18, graduated high school, had a job (very part-time still), now has a boyfriend a few years older and somehow believes she knows a lot more. She stayed out until 5 am one night, well morning technically. I have a GPS on her phone but to be fair she can see the GPS on my phone and my husband’s anytime of the day. I gave her the option of paying for her own phone under her own plan if she didn’t want to us to have that kind of access. She of course didn’t want that kind of financial commitment. Again, to her credit she was not under the influence of anything and wasn’t doing anything “bad” but scared the hell out of her stepfather and myself when we realized she wasn’t home yet.
You see my parents were very strict. I had a midnight curfew after 18, even when I moved back home and technically was a mother. My parents, well mother, wanted to control everything she could, including my friends. I have never wanted to be that parent. So I think at times that I might be overreacting. So I did a bunch of reading and came to the conclusion I wasn’t completely overacting. The agreement was that if the other two adults, I and my husband, could not just stay out until whenever with no communication than neither could she. That from now on she had to state approximately what time she would be home and if it was later than she would have to contact us.
The transition in my adult child was crazy. She all the sudden was saying, “I know, I know MOM” whenever I seemed to tell her things. But when it is about doing things around the house she has become helpless or ignorant. No one has shown her how to do things or she doesn’t see that things need to be done. Which was either not true or just her not even trying anymore. I still have chores for her and her younger brother to do. They take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes a day. I do understand that when she has college classes and works, that day is pretty full. However, she can be off for days and too busy to do anything but talk to her boyfriend or stressed out to do anything. It doesn’t seem to matter that I work full time and deal with extra stuff. Or that her step-father works full time and has two auto-immune diseases.
I AM trying to remember what it was like at her age. I had a different mother though. I moved out at 18 and took care of everything myself. She knows that it costs too much and all the benefits of staying home. I honestly don’t blame her and want her to take advantage of those benefits while she is in college. However, I am beginning to feel like a hotel worker instead of a family member.
Today I just broke it down for her as she is working like 16 hours at work and no school for another week. I need her to help out. Her becoming an adult has not meant that we all the sudden pay less money for her to live here or help her out less. She pays for her gas money and when she goes out with her friends – nothing beyond that right now. She is an adult but isn’t living fully as an adult yet. I don’t think reality has set in quite yet.
I am not trying to be that mom… but man do I feel like I am THAT MOM today.