What Moms Of Adult Children Long For But Can’t Always Have

I’ll just cut to the chase. We long for togetherness.

Am I right?

We want the family together for holidays. We want a new family picture with everyone in it and SMILING each year. We want Sunday dinners together and we want to sit beside our kids in church. We want them in our laps in the rocking chair if they’ll still fit.

We spent so many years doing everything together and now we’re not together. I think it’s safe to say that even nothers who have broken relationships with their children still long for sweet togetherness with them. It’s in our DNA. We miss our kids and we long to be with them.

But you know what? That’s okay.

We’re supposed to miss our kids! You don’t miss what you never loved.

They’re supposed to be on their own, living their own life. Regardless of whether they chose the path we wanted for them or not. Think back to when it was time for you to leave home. I think it’s safe to say most of us wanted that same freedom.

What our kids don’t need from us is guilt. We don’t want that from our parents and our kids don’t want that from us. Yet, so many moms fall into this trap of piling shame onto our kids for not meeting our needs and calling it love.

Love is never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight!  Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.
1 Corinthians 13:5-7 (The Voice)

This scripture is most often used in weddings but it’s a perfect verse for us moms of adult children to keep in our heart’s pocket.

Do everything out of love… We raised our kids doing everything out of our deep and committed love for them. We did what was best for them. We gave them what they needed.

Why stop doing that now that they’re grown up?

We fed them at 2am then. They don’t need that now. Although, they might need us to feed their baby at 2am (which we grandmothers will eagerly jump at the chance to do).

We kissed their boo-boos and tucked them in at night. They can buy their own Band-aids now and chances are we’re snoring in the recliner before they suck in their first yawn.

My adult children don’t need me. Not like they used to anyway. When this realization catches me off guard, I remind myself that we raised our children to be independent so I shouldn’t be surprised that they are independent. They have a life of their own and it’s a life that is not always going to include me.

I remember after my dad retired that he said, “They (his company) don’t owe me anything.” He said that his company had given him a paycheck all those years and a few adventures thrown in. He was able to provide for his family well and they didn’t owe him anything. It was a lesson that I’ve carried with me. One that reminds me, in this entitled world we live in, that no one owes me anything.

Nothers, our kids don’t owe us anything. It’s a slippery slope with a straight and spiraling path to disappointment when we start thinking that they do. We chose to have them. We chose to raise them. And now, we need to choose to let them go without strings of guilt attached. We did our job unselfishly for all those years. Why would we start being selfish now? Parenting was not about us. We were parents for them. Whatever we get back from our children is a big fat bonus. They don’t owe us anything.

What’s that you say? But I gave them my best years??

Did you, really???

What if these are our best years?  What if these are the years that we get to become who we want to be. To dream a new dream. To do what we want to do. To nap whenever we want. To eat whenever and whatever we want. To read a whole entire book in a day and even have an uninterrupted bathroom experience.

In all seriousness, I fully realize that some of you reading this are not feeling all the good feels right now in these nother years. Sure, you might not have to hide your chocolate but your waking moments are filled with worry and your sleeping moments, which are few and far between, are wrecked with wondering if the ringing phone will reveal your worst nightmare.

For all of us, no matter if our kids are flying high, living the life of a prodigal son or hovering somewhere in between, we all long to be together with our children. The thing is, is that they don’t always long to be with us. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t love us.

We moms long for togetherness like there’s no tomorrow. I feel it in every ounce of my being right now as our two oldest and their families are an ocean away. But we moms know full well that we don’t always get what we want. The sacrificial love we gave in the early years of motherhood never ends. It only changes forms. No matter how much we want to, we can’t rock them forever.

We Can't Rock Them Forever

My goal in this post is to encourage each of us in notherhood, myself included, to focus on being grateful for whatever we get and enjoy the stuffing out of it. Oh, it will never be enough. I know that. But just as our love held for all of those years, our love needs to let go for the years to come.

How can you best love your adult children today?

If you’re having trouble letting go, ask yourself why?

Just for fun, share one of your favorite “together” memories.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or over on the Notherhood Facebook page. Let’s chat. Let’s dive in this adventure together. We need each other’s supportive “me too” and words of encouragement.

Photo credit: Jo-B Pixabay.com

10 thoughts on “What Moms Of Adult Children Long For But Can’t Always Have

  1. Thank you for sharing and encouraging Andrea! Most of my favorite memories occurred around the dining table. We ate dinner as a family most nights (without TV or other distractions) and many nights ended up in uncontrollable laughter. If I could list the one thing I wish for more of now, it would be time around the table. 🙂

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  2. So true are your words. Yes, my favorite times are when we are all together, planned and unplanned times. But mostly they have to be planned. From 2006 to 2016 our son worked lots of restaurant and convenience store hours. Our daughter and her husband work days like us. So we are getting used to having weekends were we can get together. But alas, it helps when it’s planned. We each have our own churches, friends and favorite activities. The oldest grandchild is in 1st grade now and is getting his own social calendar. Yes my rocking chair is open for anyone wanting a little more time.

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