I know I’ve talked about this before. And I know, not having kids, that I’m totally unqualified to speak about it. But what’s with parents providing daily, sometimes hourly advice and direction to their kids these days? I sit in a cubicle and am surrounded by parents. Most of them are parents of adult children, children who are off at college or working jobs and living in their own homes. Yet they seem to need to talk to Mom daily.
About every single little thing.
And Mom seems to be the one that orchestrates all decisions, events, discussions and sometimes even meals. Really? These kids can’t decide whether to sell their college books when the news semester starts without discussing it with Mom? They can’t go into their wireless carrier and straighten out a bill without having their Mom call? They need daily prompting from Mom to take stuff out of the freezer for dinner, or to arrange a time when everyone can get together for a holiday meal? They need Mom to negotiate between squabbling siblings?
Huh. I don’t remember ever doing any of that.
When I was in college we only got to call home once a week for a few minutes. And we’d never have called during the day because daytime long distance rates were off the charts. And no way would we have called a parent at work. Ever. For anything.
So as I watched the news last week about the hedge fund manager allegedly shot and killed by his 30 something son because he was contemplating lowering the son’s allowance and was going to stop paying the son’s rent I have to ask the question. How much accountability and responsibility is being given to these adult children? And are parents doing the kids or themselves any favors by being so involved in every single aspect of their children’s lives?
When do their kids get to be the adults?
On the other hand Wednesday of last week I also stopped by a funeral home to pay my family’s respect to the mother of a friend. She died right after the New Year, and was only ill a couple of months. You could see the adult children struggling to accept their loss. It’s a lot, the loss of a mother, for anyone no matter their own age. And as I was driving back to work that afternoon I thought about it all. The helicopter parents. The adult children relying so much on their parents for daily decisions in these times. The way things are so different now than when I was a young adult testing the waters of life. Life without parents.
And I knew for sure that there was at least one set of siblings that would give a lot for a little helicoptering right now from a mom that has moved on to her next adventure. Shoot, if I could I’d call my mom right now and ask her how long it took her to grieve her own mother. And the recipe for that broccoli rice casserole.
I turned out to be who I am because of the way they raised me. They weren’t helicopter parents, but that wasn’t the style in those days. Maybe if I had been born at the end of the last century instead of the middle they would have been coptering around me and my three siblings. Somehow I don’t think so. That doesn’t mean they didn’t love us, it just means they came from stock where you let the kids make their own decisions, good and bad. As long as we didn’t kill anyone in the course of growing up we were allowed to learn our own lessons.
Parents have lots of ways of showing love. Maybe parents of today just show it in a myriad of tiny minute decisions and shows of support. Maybe that’s not all bad. Maybe having a parent that cares is all that matters. Maybe kids will grow up when they have to, helicopter parents or not.
In the end who am I to judge parenting skills. Maybe I’m just feeling envious when I hear all those phone conversations between adult kids and their moms.
Maybe a little helicoptering would be welcome in my world about now.
Maybe I just miss my mom.
Yea, that’s probably it.
I miss my mom.