Where’s the Manual for This Thing We Call Adulthood

I was having a conversation with my daughter the other day who I constantly feel like I failed. Not because I don’t love her and show and tell her that every single day so that she knows she is loved (which is something my mother never did). Not because I don’t do a good job of making sure she is taken care of first and foremost. But rather because I’ve spent far too much time sheltering her in the vein of wanting her to not grow up before she should have to, letting a child, or teenager, be and act the age that they are.

The problem with that has now come to fruition in the fact that she now clings to the sheltered life that I practically killed myself (metaphorically of course) to provide and she’s terrified of going out into the world and actually being an adult (despite the fact that she’s 19). I made her feel too secure in being taken care of that she doesn’t have confidence that she will be able to take care of herself. What do I do with that? I mean I tried to explain to her that there isn’t a manual on being adult, hell I’m still winging it as I go along.

How do I dispel her fears of adulthood when her fears are valid. Being an adult is definitely not all it’s cracked up to be and I had to be one far before I actually became an adult which is why I wanted her to enjoy the years that she didn’t have to be. But I may have completely hindered her which makes me feel like a complete and total failure as a mother. It’s a tricky balance between being the mom who wants to protect your child no matter what to being the mom that has to let go and let her child spread her wings and fly. It’s even trickier when that child doesn’t want to leave the nest. I’m just writing today to express my frustration with this new phase I’m in of being a parent to an adult child (because we all know you never stop being a parent no matter how old they are) and I’m hoping that there is someone out there that understands so that I’m not alone in this conundrum.

We had a talk yesterday and I told her that there is no manual for being an adult. Everyone is just trying to do the best they can with what they’ve got but the one thing she can’t do is not go out and try. She said she was terrified of messing up and I explained to her that she will absolutely mess up. I told her that she will make plenty of mistakes and she will learn from those mistakes and then make some more. I told her that being an adult is basically trial and error and you don’t know what works for you or if you’ve gotten something right without actually trying. It didn’t seem like it helped her, and I imagine when I was just entering adulthood it might not have helped me either but that was all of the wisdom I had.

I just want her to feel confident in this world and I don’t know how to get her there. I guess it will just have to be a day-to-day thing because what other options are there. I just really want to know, where’s the manual to this adulting thing that we were forced into. Well getting this little rant out helped a little and perhaps it will even help someone else out there. I guess we’ll see!

Until next time… #BePatient #BeMindful #BeCourageous

Jimmetta Carpenter

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What We Take Away From Our Childhood

This is going to be short (I hope) but I felt that I needed to share this today.  I was talking to Ms. L. earlier today and we were talking about (in short) expectations and what we will and will not accept from people, or as far as standards, period.  I had an epiphany in the middle of the conversation and it was something that I had always known deep down inside but had never brought myself to say out loud where someone else would actually hear it.  Now I don’t want to get too far into detail because it’s a little too personal but it had to do with things that were carried over from my childhood.  

Parents we must watch what we say to our children, but more importantly, what we don’t say to them.  I hear and read stories about children being bullied in schools, young girls becoming promiscuous, or children just acting like they have no respect for any adult, and when you actually listen to what they have to say you realize that the shortcomings are sometimes within the parents.  In my conversation with Ms. L I remembered about all of the things that my mother said to me and mostly what she didn’t say to me.  Those words, and those lack of words still live deeply within me today and they have affected my choices and my decisions and sometimes the rough situations I found myself in were a result of what I wasn’t told and shown when I was younger.  

I know we teach our children to be independent and that the belief has to come from them that they are smart, and beautiful, and that they are worth more than the hand they are sometimes dealt, and that they don’t have to just settle for what seems to be okay when they could have better.  But children need to be told this, and they need to be told constantly because it stays with them.  How many times do you hear when someone tells you they are the way they are because that’s what they were taught and brought up to know and do.  Now when they are speaking of something good and respectable we congratulate their upbringing, but we forget that that answer applies to those that do things that are not respectable as well.  

The children out here being bullied by other, or worse, bullying others and being promiscuous and disrespectful are doing what they are taught, and what was instilled in them somewhere.  Either they aren’t being told that they deserve better or they aren’t being made to believe it.  Our childhood does stick with us into our adulthood and while you quite possibly should leave some childish things in the past, the things that are ingrained in you, they stick, whether we want them to or not.  That’s my thought for today and I hope that someone gets something out of this.  Until tomorrow…Let your children know that they are worth, and deserve the very best! 

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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