Grown Up Parent

By no means am I an expert at anything.  Let alone something as important as parenting.

I was clueless when I had babies, as I am now, having raised those babies.

But, there is something I have become very aware of.   Having babies and providing for them, and taking care of them…. it’s so easy when they are small enough for you to carry them.   There isn’t anything you can’t manage when they are small enough to hold in your arms, carry on your back, or even push in a stroller.  You have control of the world.  Their world.  You have the ability to keep them safe.  Provide all of the nurturing.  You role model the behavior.  You teach the ethics and the ABC’s.  You create the world you want them to thrive in.   Often times literally carrying them through the moments and the days.  Ain’t no one, no one, going to influence your child unless you give the stamp of approval.

So Easy. So Safe. I Got This.

Then it all changes.

It’s when they are older.  Out in the world without you.  Living life without you standing guard.  Tempting fates.  Interacting with people you don’t know.  Going about lives that do not have you as the bumper guard to life that you were for so many years.

There are some life lessons we can help them with.   Math, if we’re lucky.  Dating and the clueless understanding the sexes have of one another.  Saving money.  Paying bills, we can teach and guide and hope they pay attention.  But no matter what we teach them we always wonder if we covered enough ground.  Did we give them enough foundation, advice and guidance.   We are still a force to be reckoned with.  Though we are not omnipresent, unless we did the job we were entrusted to do when they were so much younger.   We hope to be a voice of reason, a voice of question, a voice of debate, in their thoughts and interactions.  When we are no longer present for every moment of their lives.   The less impact we think  we have, the more impact we hope we made as they grew.

The older they get, the less we can protect them.   Or help them.  Or do for them.

You think them getting older makes it easier to parent.   Or there is less worry.   I think it is just as much worry, if not more, because there is less you can do.  Less you should do.  But the worry and the concern and the desire to protect and prod in the right directions never leave.

I’m no expert.

God, I’m no expert.

But I’m always that parent.

42 thoughts on “Grown Up Parent

  1. very good – my daughter just had her first child….and I feel as helpless for her as I did when she was born…does that make sense? 🙂

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  2. Totally agree. I struggled a lot with this as my oldest went through adolescence- I wanted to protect him, but ultimately I had to back off and let him do it his way. It’s hard to learn how to keep your mouth shut and your worries to yourself! I’m more hands-off now, but I’m not sure that you ever stop feeling “like a mom”.

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  3. It definitely gets harder as they get older. I’ve been dealing with this a lot this week; really having to learn to step back and let my son become more independent. That is terrifying! But it’s something we all must do eventually. Life is so much safer when they’re still in diapers.

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    • The diaper years are so easy by comparison!

      Good luck with the stepping back. Be prepared …. I suspect you will step forward on occasion. We all do. 😉

      (By the way, when I saw your response I wondered why I hadn’t seen a post for awhile. So I went to your page and had somehow not been getting your posts! So I refollowed).

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  4. I totally agree with you! I thought it would get easier as my daughter got older, but sometimes I think she depends on me more now than she did when she lived at home. And that’s fine, but it seems parenting truly is never done.

    Nancy

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  5. As I am in the child end, I could see how parents never stop parenting, and the worry too. It makes sense. All they ever ask is that we are happy.
    That is a great picture, it looks like that was a very fun day, and I am impressed two at once. Yikes! One strong mama 🙂

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  6. With both my girls… I wish so much to still be able to guide,protect, especially with K. Parenting… Is the hardest job from the moment they are born, to the day that we die. Love this post Colleen. Hugs to you.

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  7. What a good parent you were and are… I know the girls you have raised and I must say they are pretty awesome..and are Awesome parents themselves bc of the wonderful role model they had to parent them!

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  8. Oh, this is so very true! I remember first feeling this full force when my oldest child started Kindergarten and I realized that I no longer knew all her friends and all her friends’ families, like I did when she was in preschool.

    And now, my poor eighth grader is navigating those treacherous and awful middle school waters and all I can really do is offer advice when she asks and hold her when she cries. It’s heartbreaking standing there and hoping she figures it out. Wondering if I’ve said the right thing to help it click.

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    • Oh MyBrightSpots, this breaks my heart and brings back such the same memories! It is so difficult not knowing if what we say makes that ‘clicking’ noise for them. I remember talking and talking and talking some times I was so worried I wouldn’t say what they needed to hear. And I can’t tell you how many times when all I could say was “I love you”. Sometimes it’s still all they need.

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  9. You know, you are teaching me so much. You write in such a beautiful and positive way. I’ve said the same with a whole bunch of sarcastic humor. But, I’m that parent too

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  10. I love this photo and your big smile and the ones on the wriggling kids,too! So much fun and energy. Not as easy as it looks, right?! Good post filled with positive thoughts and some misgivings, written between the lines, too.

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