I love my adult son. At almost 30 years old, he’s a great guy that I’d be friends with “in real life” if he weren’t my son. But I’m done being a mother. He’s known it for quite a few years. And it’s not only “Okay” – it’s healthy.
Women love their “roles”. Lover. Wife. Mother. I think many people identify more with their roles than their actual “selves”. I am not one of these, and I don’t think that makes me a bad mother.
In all of nature, as far as I could tell from “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”, a mother’s job is to teach her young to fend for themselves and then to, well, LET THEM. That’s what my son is doing.
From his childhood he understood what “first and last month’s rent” was, and that he’d need to have it some day. He moved out just after his twentieth birthday and has finished college while working and supporting himself since. He works. He cooks. He does his own laundry and never brings it home to me. No, he’s not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I don’t remind him to do his income tax, turn his clocks back, or call anyone on their birthday (Father’s Day, etc.) because I am done being a mother.
I will always be his family. I will always love him. If there is anything I can do for him that will make his life better I will, after consulting with him, happily do it (rather than assuming I know what he needs and wants). But that’s it. That’s all folks. He’s an adult and I’m done mothering.
I built a nest, and taught him to build his own nest. I fed him and taught him to feed himself. I flew and taught him to fly. He’s flown away, built his own nest, and feeds himself.
I don’t worry about him. I can’t honestly say that he enters my mind every day of the week. Nor do I expect that I enter his. We are just plain old human beings who, by coincidence, have a unique relationship because he came out of me. I don’t own him. We don’t have any claim on one another. We are two random people trying to find our way through the world. That’s it.
I don’t feel like a bad mother because I’ve equipped my kid to be a fella who can and does function without me. Nor do I feel like a bad mother because I can function without him. In fact, if you can’t function without a relationship with your offspring, then doesn’t that make you, as the parent, the burden? I don’t want to burden my young.
Perhaps as a result, we have a wonderful friendship. I see my adult son more than most of my peers. We actually LIKE each other. We don’t owe one another anything simply because we are mother and son. Imagine a relationship with family that is chosen, rather than expected – one that is a privilege, rather than a right.
I am not saying I’ve got it all figured out. But this “parenting” thing has worked out rather well for both me and my progeny, despite being different from the media propagated “Once a mother, always a mother.” Not for me. I was a mother for 20 years. Now I’m just a friend and it’s a real joy to be friends with this young guy.