Adult Children & Parent Relationship

Brooke - posted on 04/10/2012 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Mother at 18 and Grandmother for the first time at 39! At the age of 43, I now have two Grandchildren. I loved being a Mom and I love being a Grandmother.



I started young and therefore I feel like my entire life has revolved around my children. As a single parent it did revolve around them for the most part.



By the end of 2011 both of my children had to move away (my son for work and daughter got married)



Until the last year I was very active in my children’s life. Saw them regularly, had the grandchildren regularly, basically when they needed me I was there and when they didn’t I was there too.



When they left all within a four month period I was devastated. I assumed that was to be expected. However, almost half way through this year I am finding myself getting very depressed.



I have spent hours crying and have been experiencing mood changes etc.; in fact I thought I was going through menopause. Had all of those items checked and I am not in menopause at any level.



It all makes sense I went from being a very active Mother/Grandmother in both my children's life to almost zero participation other than a few visits and phone conversations I would have difficulty adjusting; I just didn’t expect it to last so long.



What complicates the issue is that I was raised by Grandparents that acted as my parents. And my Grandparents passed away before my children were born. Therefore, I don't have a reference point for what is too much input to my children.



I don’t want my children to feel responsible for my emotional well being. So, while I share with them that I miss them I don’t go to long efforts to explain the depth of pain I feel. That would not be the right thing to do.



All families are different but I am looking for a general consensus of what adult children need from their parents as they enter their adult lives? Specifically, when you don’t live in the general area so most conversations happen over the phone or during a few visits each year should you be lucky. Should I always wait to be asked my opinion on topics? How often should I call without being a pain? How can your parents still help you in this part of your life without being the parent you don’t want to go see or talk too because it’s too overwhelming?

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Rita - posted on 05/14/2012

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I am 31 and I rarely go a couple days without talking with my mom, and she lives just 15 minutes away. We visit each other once a week or two. Not a whole lot, b/c we have both have busy lives; she also rarely visits when my husband is home b/c she doesn't want to be intrusive. My sister who is 29 doesn't talk to our mom nearly as much as I do, but my 20-year-old sister and 25-year-old brother do. I think it just depends on your relationship. A decade ago, I didn't live so close -- a state away -- and we weren't nearly as close as we are now. My husband is not as emotionally close to his family and they of course operate differently, but sometimes they come across as a little intrusive (like showing up without calling) or like they're only interested in the grand kids. I think it's important to be sure to have a strong, secure relationship with the adult children before you try for one with the grandchildren.

Teresa - posted on 05/14/2012

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I am 42 and speak to my mother EVERY day. It may not always be a two way convo on my part but I know she has callled. I get advice when I didn't ask but I am at an age, ANd so is she, that I cherish things. She will not always be her and I dread the day she's not. She's going to visit my sister in Alaska for a few wekks and I'm already dreading that. Every child needs their mother no matter how old or how independant, which I am. Just because you might feel like they don't want you in their lives doesn't mean it is so. My mom is lucky that I realize that now and love when she calls me and forgot why. I love that. She still introduces me as her oldest baby, used to make me cringe, but I love it now. I love my mother so much now that when I look back, I'm glad she "bugged" me with her frequent calls. NO ONE loves you llike a mother.

Chesnie - posted on 05/14/2012

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Hi, thank you for responding. I feel bad I avoid her but it's her calling every time she has an idea. Her personality has changed with this liver disease and encephalopathy. I almost lost her twice. I know she is tired all the time, gets confused, has memory problems n all but she can shop n grocery shop n spends money all the time so I have told her to go volunteer her time. She is on disability n can't work so I want her to do something productive besides call me n depend on me for her entertainment. I sound cold hearted but this has gone on for 2 years and my other sister won't help her. I just feel resentment because I'm the only one left to care for her and my husband doesn't like me going to her house when I should be home n he's nasty towards me. I don't have a support system n I want to finish school n raise my daughter n hubby but Im stressed to the max. I'm just in a rut.

Brooke - posted on 05/14/2012

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Chesnie,

I am very sorry to hear about your Mother; and for the exact same reasons that you say it can be difficult is exactly why I haven't shared with my children how hard of a time I am having with them gone. But, I am not in the midst of a horrible disease; while I don't you or your mother I will certainly pray for you both.

However, I have shared with my children that I love them and I miss them. I have asked "how much communication is too much" and luckily both of my kids said call whenever you want. My son had to leave home to find a job; and he did and now he works 12 hour days 5 days a week and I work so our time is limited. But, I make sure to call him once or twice a week now. Even if it is at 9:00pm at night when he is driving home. I talk to the daughter in law and grandchildren about once a week. I notice if I call her to say hi more than that she stops answering and I expect that is her way of giving me limits. We don't have a stressed relationship; in fact I think we get along great. But, she is a mom of two small children and that takes time and lots of effort; I will respect her limits.

My daughter and I have started talking about twice a week. Again, I work; she works a different shift so trying to find that hour that we can talk is not that easy. But, I we are making progress.

I did ask my daughter in law about Skype; we are in the process of making that happen.

And, I went to my doctor and finally came to terms with the fact that I am depressed and wasn't getting over it by myself. So, for a period of time I'll try wellbutrin. Hopefully, that will help my chemicals get more in balance and I can get past these feelings of sadness.

Honestly, it is difficult being an adult and making adult decisions. I can’t always act on emotion if I care about the ones I love so much; it isn't fair to "blame" them into feeling like I do. My goodness, I am truly happy they are "thriving" in life not just surviving. What I have been doing is just saying that I love them and trying to find productive ways to feel my time.

Yes, I have okra, tomatoes, strawberries, herbs, lettuce and an entire new flower garden. But, it is a start in the right direction.

Nothing will ever replace the love and need for my children. But, for their emotional well-being and mine too I have to find a good start to this chapter in my life. For goodness sake, 43 just isn't that darn old. Maybe, I'll adobt.

Love the ones in your life worth loving; we can't be everything to everyone but we can be something special to those we cherish most.

It will probably be years before I truly learn how to have a long distance family relationship; but, I'll keep trying and as a family we will find our balance.

This forum has helped me understand a few points of views from different perspectives........thank you all very much.
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Chesnie - posted on 05/13/2012

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Well, in my case..I have been always been close with my mom. I am married (4 years and we have a 3 year old). My mom has liver disease and I am her main person to help her when she née help, is confused and needs something. I manage her money/bills and her pain pills because her thought process and decisions aren't good. She lives alone. I am lucky she is till doing well but she is more needy than I wish. She is overbearing ,pushy, dramatic and passive aggressive. She calls me every morning to check in but then it's at least 5 times a day sometimes 10. It's never anything important she is just bored and lonely. I have told her I have a husband n kid to take care of I can't constantly talk on the phone about nothing. We only live about 10 minutes apart soi see her a lot. I get angry, stressed n depressed n she never hides her feelings. I avoid her calls at all costs. It's always just drama or complaints or pity ness. I have a therapist I see on occasion but it's not much help to me.



I'm sorry I'm not much help..just call, stay positive and maybe just every 2 or 3 days give her a call..



Btw I'm 34 and my moms 59. She has 3 other caregivers but I'm the lucky one who gets to hear it all...lol.

Chesnie - posted on 05/13/2012

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Well, in my case..I have been always been close with my mom. I am married (4 years and we have a 3 year old). My mom has liver disease and I am her main person to help her when she née help, is confused and needs something. I manage her money/bills and her pain pills because her thought process and decisions aren't good. She lives alone. I am lucky she is till doing well but she is more needy than I wish. She is overbearing ,pushy, dramatic and passive aggressive. She calls me every morning to check in but then it's at least 5 times a day sometimes 10. It's never anything important she is just bored and lonely. I have told her I have a husband n kid to take care of I can't constantly talk on the phone about nothing. I get angry, stressed n depressed n she never hides her feelings. I avoid her calls at all costs. It's always just drama or complaints or pity ness. I have a therapist I see on occasion but it's not much help to me.

I'm sorry I'm not much help..just call, stay positive and maybe just every 2 or 3 days give her a call..

Btw I'm 34 and my moms 59. She has 3 other caregivers but I'm the lucky one who gets to hear it all...lol.

Sherri - posted on 05/06/2012

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I talk to my mom/dad at least once a week and I see my parents on avg. at least once a month.

Emma - posted on 05/03/2012

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It depends on the relaationship you have, Personally I talk to my dad every few months, and I talk to my mom once a month or so, even though she lives nearby.

Desiree - posted on 04/12/2012

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Every family is different. I moved back with my parents because we had no one to look after my son when we're away at work, so there's no emotional pain related to separation on my side of the family. My husband's parents are divorced, and we very rarely see his father who has since remarried (like, only during birthdays and some christmases). His mum lives alone in a neighboring city but she's so active and mobile--always going on road trips with her friends, trying her hand at mushroom farming, etc--that she's rarely home anyway. But about 3-4 times a year we'd stay at her place for a week or two (to be honest, the commute to my office is easier from MIL's house), and whenever she calls and says she misses us we'd squeeze in a visit if we can, even just to have lunch together or something.



But my family is entirely different. We're a very close-knit family who literally get sick if we're apart for too long. So we bought a house in the same neighborhood and even ended up moving back in with my parents to make it easier for us (not to mention saving HEAPS in bills and childcare, and income from renting out our house). Needless to say we do share the bills in my parents' and help out around the house.



Some years ago I lived in Sydney for a year to pursue my studies and even then I had daily phone conversations and exchanged long emails with my mum. We'd take daily pics of my son to be sent by email to my mum Being apart for the year made me realize that I need to be close to my mum who's also my best friend, and that contributed to our decision to buy a house near my parents' even though that meant a daily 20 mile (each way) commute.

Brooke - posted on 04/11/2012

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Thank you for the comments; I really needed to hear how others adult children feel.



I am going to look into Skype; that sound like a great way to communicate with them both verbally and visually. That may help me a lot.



This is said 100 times and a 100 differant ways but children really to grow up very fast. I remember stoping frequently and enjoying them and feeling so blessed to have a healthy, caring and loving family. We had all the same drama as everyone else does during the teen age years but we were always together and always a family.



I did teach my children to be independant and they are doing a great job.



I honestly never in a million years thought my children would need to move away. It was the one thing I didn't plan for and therefore I just wasn't prepared.



If I had it to do over again I probably would have given more thought to how I would handle and communicate with my family long distance if need be.



Thank you so much

Brooke - posted on 04/11/2012

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Thank you for the comments; I really needed to hear how others adult children feel.



I am going to look into Skype; that sound like a great way to communicate with them both verbally and visually. That may help me a lot.



This is said 100 times and a 100 differant ways but children really to grow up very fast. I remember stoping frequently and enjoying them and feeling so blessed to have a healthy, caring and loving family. We had all the same drama as everyone else does during the teen age years but we were always together and always a family.



I did teach my children to be independant and they are doing a great job.



I honestly never in a million years thought my children would need to move away. It was the one thing I didn't plan for and therefore I just wasn't prepared.



If I had it to do over again I probably would have given more thought to how I would handle and communicate with my family long distance if need be.



Thank you so much

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The fact that you asked this just shows that you are a wonderful and caring mother! My husband's family and my family happen to live right beside each other. We actually met in college and got married just weeks after graduating. Six months after getting married my husband got a job offer 1200 miles from our home. My mom doesn't hide her feelings. She constantly asks when we're going to come visit. She has called crying about missing me and about stress in our family saying, "if I only I were there..." She has even gone so far as to say to me that living far away is killing my grandparents. I have two children now. I understand that she is sad and misses us, but it is extremely upsetting to me to hear these things from her. Neither of us want to live here, but my husband has a good job and this is where we have to be right now.



If you were my mom I would tell you to call me whenever you need to. Whenever you think of me and definitely on special occasions like my birthday because I miss you on those days even more. Maybe try not to call more than once a day though unless you really need to :). I usually call my mom and dad a couple times a week. Sometimes they call me, but that happens less often. I'm not sure why. I never really thought about asking her opinions on things. Normally we both give our opinions during the conversation. When they visit my mom is super happy in the beginning and becomes obviously depressed the last few days. I think this is one of those times where I need her to be strong for me. It hurts me to see her so sad and I feel like it's my fault. It's hard enough trying to raise my girls with little support since I don't live near any family. Hubby and I haven't had a date in 3 years. My mother-in-law is very supportive of us. I know she wishes we lived closer, but she never makes us feel bad for living here. She's always thrilled to skype with us, visit us or even talk on the phone. My advice would be to be strong for them. Support their decisions. Be respectful of their parenting choices (like don't try to sneak your grand kids things you know they aren't allowed to have lol). Visit as much as you can and enjoy their visits with you without worrying about the impending goodbye. Know that it's ok to be sad and I'll bet they're sad too. Heck, ask them! I would love it if my mom would ask me these things. (((hugs))) I know it's hard living far from loved ones!

Medic - posted on 04/10/2012

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I am 26 my dad is 64 and my mom is 52. My kids are 5years and 2years, just so you have a reference point. We moved away from my parents when our son was 2, like 2 states away. My dad called every night at 630 to talk to my son because this is what he did before. They also Skyped 3 times a week. For us this was normal because when we lived close they say eachother or talked every day. We were gone a year and every other month we saw them, either they came up or we went home. Now that we only live an hour away they still talk most nights before the kids go to bed and they see eachother every few weeks at the least.



I talk to my dad every day, it is odd for us to go a day without speaking at all. I need my dad to just listen to me and laugh at the funny stuff and tell me he understands when I am tired and stressed out. He always jumps to help when I need it. He stays back when I don't. I think it is easy for me to always talk to him because he NEVER over stepped his boundries as a parent and grandparent so I do not feel the need to assert my independence and prove myself as an adult and parent.

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