The Bravewriter Facebook page posed an interesting question a few days ago. I posted my response but also wanted to elaborate more here.
A question for moms with grown kids:
How do you keep up with everyone? How frequently do you talk to your kids and by what means?
As regular readers will know, we are a crazy-blended family with ages from 11 months through to 31. Most of our children have left home to pursue their adult lives. Only Falcon is left and he is 16.5yo, completing Yr 11 at home. Strangely enough, Falcon is the only one we use Facebook with. I generally send him a PM to remind him of activities, chores or to ask him to make me a cuppa. Bumples lives with us and he is 11 months old so there’s a while yet before he launches into the wider world. It’s all happened so quickly! One year I felt like our house was ridiculously busy and the next few years and they’re all gone!
Just as my relationship with each child was different when we homeschooled, so it is now that they are adults. And so we have different ways and times with each of them. I hear from one adult child about five times a day. These times of communication are equally initiated by both of us and we use many means : phone, facetime, SMS, email and Pinterest. Another adult child I hear from a few times a week and then yet another only about once a week. I’m fine with it all. They are each off in the outside world finding themselves and their purposes and I’m proud of them for making it on their own. I can’t complain. We raised them to become independent, free thinkers – and that’s who they have become!
It is a balancing act with some of them though. I don’t want to seem like I’m nagging or harassing them by texting or calling too much but I want to let them know that I love them and am thinking and praying for them. I don’t want my kids to dread picking up the phone or to only call me out of a sense of duty or obligation. So I have repeatedly told them that I only want them to call if and when they want to, although it is nice to hear, even via text message, that they’re alive and well. I’d rather hear from my son once a week when he calls willingly than a few times a week out of obligation. I’ll often send them a quick message saying that I love them but I don’t always expect a response. I’m thankful for the times they do connect with me and that they want me to share in a little part of the lives. Being a parent of an adult child is a wonderful opportunity and I’m thankful for the times that they do connect with me and share a part of their lives with me.
What’s My Motive?
I’ve often had to consider my motivation in expecting communication. Am I needing it for my own self or do they need the communication? The last thing I want to be is a needy, smother-mother. Once we consider our own motivation we are then free to allow our young adults to set the frequency and mode of keeping in touch. And that can be a tricky maneuver, especially for parents who have homeschooled and been with their kids almost 24/7. However, we spent the first part of their lives serving them, training them and being an example and that doesn’t need to change in itself although aspects of it certainly need to. I can still serve them and I can still be an example. It just means that they have needs and I’m not the only or even the main person who will meet those needs. And that’s a good thing especially when we’re a part of the Body of Christ.