Mindful Monday: Adult Children & Our Parents

Monday, March 30, 2015

As a wife and mother in my mid-thirties, my relationship with my parents has evolved into an even deeper love and respect.  I no longer only see them as "mom and dad," now I see them as people too. I can imagine them as young parents and understand them so much more. 

I have always had a great relationship with my parents. Yes, we have had a few run ins during my teenage years and a few more in my 20's, but nothing major. Even so, there were still plenty of times when I questioned their actions and decisions. 

Now as the tables have turned, I understand it takes work to have a great marriage and being a parent is hard. Like the saying goes, parenting is the easiest thing to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing to do. 

I am so grateful to have my parents in my life.  We get to hang out as couples, which is wonderful because they love my husband like a son, and I get to experience their unconditional love as grandparents to my daughter and my nephews. 

Of course, we are not perfect.  There are still moments when I feel misunderstood, or I put my foot in my mouth. I certainly acknowledge that for them being parents of adult children with spouses who now have their own children is a whole new balancing act. Being a parent never ends, our relationships just evolve. 

Here are some tips to help maintain a great relationship with your parents once the tables have turned:

Distance does make the heart grow fonder, but not too far - It is important to set boundaries and have your own life. This is especially important if you are married. Your life's focus should now be your spouse and kids.  Remember, they also need their freedom, but also still like to feel needed. In my case, I live 7 hours away, and this helps. I do miss them tremendously, but I am not dependent on them. I love that my husband and I have made a life for ourselves, and this has made our marriage stronger. 

Do not ask for advice, if you don't really want it - Just because they are your parents does not mean they are going to be in the same school of thought as you.  Therefore, if it is something you know you should figure out on your own, or you already made up your mind, then don't ask. 

Call them just because, not because you need something - By this, I mean, actually pick of the phone and have a good conversation with them. Set aside a good time and be present when you speak with them. 

Remember they already raised you, and it is not their job to raise your children - If you constantly depend on them to help with the kids, believe me, they will have a say as to how you are raising them because they will feel entitled. Parents of adult children usually mean no harm in this, but it can cause havoc. So if you are not willing to hand over parental control, then let them be the doting grandparents without having the responsibility of helping you raise your children. 

Tell them how much you love them & show them appreciation - Every single time I speak to my parents I tell them I love them. Even if its a random call about how to make posole, I still say I love you! Life is way too short. 

Check out Angelo Merendino's "Goodbye at the Door" series.  He took photographs of his goodbyes every time he left his parents house. It is endearing and will definitely make you think of Mom and Dad. 


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