Writer Chris Dean had her babies young, so by the time she was in her forties, the kids were all grown up. What happens when they still want you to solve their problems, but you are done with parenting them? Read more from Chris on her blog, Pixie C.D.
When my first baby was born, I was 19 years old. When the last of our four offspring turned 18, I was 42. And I was DONE.
Oh, I don’t just mean I was done with the whole reproduction thing, I’m talkin’ something in my brain snapped and I was ready to be done with the on-call 24/7, ready to swoop to the rescue at the drop of a hat, I’m the Mommy hear me roar routine. I was DONE.
Every time one of my kids called, “Mom! Could you…” I had to swallow the urge to cut them off with, “Guess what? You’re 18 now, a legal adult. Why don’t you work on this thing called your problem solving skills, because in the eyes of the law I am no longer responsible for you, bub!”
But I didn’t. I’d get up at 3 in the morning to deliver a can of gas to Middle Son, who’d had his tank syphoned while he was at work. I’d be there to settle disputes over whose turn it was to use the car and find ways both parties could get to wherever they were DYING to go. I’d loan money to help whichever dumbass had accidentally overdrawn their checking account, so their next paycheck wouldn’t be eaten up in overdraft fees before they even got it.
I still made Urgent Care runs and babied whoever was projectile stomach-bugging and all the other things we do for our sort-of adult Offspring. Because, well…Mom. But it wasn’t with quite the same pep-in-my-step as 10 or even 5 years earlier.
Part of it was due to the fact they only seemed to need me in times of emergency. But the dirty little secret that nibbled away at the back of my mind, was I was ready to try out just being Chris again. Hell, I was only in my mid 40s. There was still some time left for me to work on those carefree 20s I’d spent changing diapers and walking around with a baby hanging off my hip and another dangling from my breastacle.
How about my 30s, when I was supposed to be coming into my own, career wise? I spent those years giving the, “This is your body on hormones,” speech and trying to keep track of whose drama was whose. I’d never really thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up, so maybe it was time to work on that for a change.
Now in my 40s, I’m at the age where most of my friends are in the early half of their own parental odyssey, looking for kindred souls to commiserate with over potty training, stubborn toddlers, and the whole grade school experience. And guess what?
I’M. STILL. DONE.
There are now days that I wake up and hide from my phone and computer, because if I have to read another status, tweet, or advice anything about parenting, there’s a pretty good chance my head will explode.
Does this make me a bad person? Some days, it feels like it. Does it make me an honest, human person? That one’s easy; YES!
The truth is, no matter how hard I fight the inevitable answer to my own predicament, it always comes back to one simple truth. I am a Mother and once you become a Mommy, you’re a Mom ‘til the day you kick that last diaper-bucket on your way to the long sleep in in the sky.
Oh, there may come a time when your nest is empty and the pitterpatter of feet is just the sound of your own running for the bathroom again, because pregnancy isn’t a friend to anyone’s bladder control, no matter how many years it’s been since the last one. But all it takes is one phone call or text asking for help, advice, or a can of gas at 3 AM and BAM! you’re back “on.” Because once activated, you Mommy-senses never turn themselves off.
If it comes down to the nitty-gritty, my 20s were carefree, spent climbing after toddlers on playgrounds and sliding down slides without the worry of my current achy joints. My career driven 30s were spent in the pursuit of helping four heathens grow into the intelligent, fun-loving adults they became. (All in all, not too shabby a resume.)
I’ve also found a way to make a tentative peace with those, “Mom’s DONE!” days. Now, when they come to me with problems or questions that need me to once again spring into Mommy-mode when all I want to do is trade in my uterus for a one-way ticket anywhere, I take a deep breath, look at them with love in my eyes and a heart filled with pride, and say, “Go find your Dad.”