Midlife Mom

Navigating the teen years… and beyond

Moving up the parent ladder

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Recently my husband and I went to a birthday party for two very adorable one-year-olds.

The twin daughters of our good friends, we were happy to be part of their celebration. Like so many couples today, they postponed starting a family. So even though they aren’t that much younger than my husband and I, we are way ahead of them when it comes to raising children.

And that’s a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.

I’m finding myself very content to be where I am in life, with grown (or mostly grown) children. I like the fact that they’re independent and doing their own things. I like the fact that they’re becoming productive members of society. I like the fact that they’re mostly responsible for themselves (except financially, of course!).

Sure, being the parent of older kids has its challenges and stresses. The stakes are higher should something go wrong. Many of the decisions we’re making have greater consequence than the myriad of daily decisions we made for the kids when they were younger. Helping to shepherd the college decision, for example, is more stressful and crucial (in my humble opinion) than deciding whether to sign your child up for T-ball or figuring out which nursery school is the right fit. Of course, the last thing I’m suggesting is that parenting young children is easy. It’s hard work, and I know it. It’s just different kind of work. Parenting younger children is more tiring, physically; parenting older children is more tiring, mentally.

Kids who are older and independent may find themselves in situations that are more fraught with peril — we can no longer control their environment, their friends or what they’re doing. That’s scary for any parent.

But it’s their life to lead. And their decisions to make.

For parents like me, it’s the best test of whether we did a good job raising them.

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