Adulting is one of my favorite “new” words. It seems to capture the essence of watching our grown children taking on the responsibilities that we used to take care of for them (so seemingly effortlessly). We see them discover that being an adult is hard, frustrating at times, and just when your kids think they have it covered, that inner teen can pop out to remind them that they aren’t there quite yet.
Our daughters have finished their education and advanced degrees. They have found challenging and often rewarding careers that benefit their communities. They have found their life partners, who are young men we admire, and we are proud to welcome into the family.
Now, they are both house shopping at the same time in two different cities that have much in common. Nashville and Austin have so many parallels, it is sometimes eerie to shuttle between them, but beyond ever-increasing traffic, rising costs of living and housing, varied music venues and great food places, they also have beautiful surroundings and lovely people to draw both tourists and new residents. They are challenging markets to buy a first home.
As is the case throughout their lives, our children are handling this huge step in adulting in different ways. Daughter 1 talks through each stage, asks for input and advice, and we generally have a pretty good idea where she is in the process. Daughter 2 has analyzed and often made an offer on something before we hear about it, and it won’t surprise us if we receive a housewarming announcement before we even know she and her husband have found and bought their first house!
Knowing and accepting the differences in your children and how they handle this often challenging process of adulting is a huge advantage. It gives you insight on what to expect and perhaps more importantly, what not to expect.
I have seen many relationships strain and even part for a while under the mismatches in expectations that can occur between parent and child, and even grandparents and grandchildren and it is sad and often so preventable.
What is the secret? You probably guessed communication and you would be right, but you must add “being the adult.” YOU are the elder, the senior, the mentor, the person who should have learned these lessons including the one about holding your tongue and advice until it is asked for. (SO HARD.)
If you can manage to separate your ego from your parenting and maintain your adult status (yes, I struggle and am working on it all the time) the rewards are immense, both to you and your family.
Good luck, I am pulling for you.