The ever-changing role of “Mom”

One thing that I never really anticipated was how arduous would be the task of figuring out how to fulfill the Mom role beyond the time the kids left home. I knew it would be required. I knew the direction I did not want to go.

In light of how my mom seemed unable to ever switch to relating to her kids as full grown independant adults (as separate and distinct from herself rather than extensions of herself), I knew I didn’t want to do that to my own sons. But how to do otherwise, is something I am still figuring out. Trial and error! Lots of trial. Lots of error.

There were things I still needed from my parents as an adult, and I want to still be someone who contributes to our adult kids lives. I’m not the wisest, but I would love to at least pass on what lessons and whatever wisdom I have gleaned. Even keeping in mind everybody has to learn life’s lessons for themselves, I still want to offer my insight for what it’s worth.

How does a parent maintain ties, and continue to provide guiding light, while somehow divining where the lines are that our adult kid would not want crossed. They’re all individuals with different boundries. I have tried to know my kids, as any good parent does, but sometimes it can feel like a minefield just talking to them, (if I can even wrangle contact and attention to start with). The less conversations had, the more awkward and intimidating it gets feels, and the harder it seems, to have communication.

Maybe it’s that I didn’t become a parent until my thirties. The world changes so fast now that maybe the proverbial “generation gap” is becoming a greater chasm to breach than ever before.

I just hate to feel like it is an uncrossable divide. Maybe it will feel less that way when they get a little older, or further along in life, marriage and raising families of their own.

One of the biggest misconceptions of life is the expectation that living and learning results in it getting easier to navigate life. Nope. New day, new lessons. All the way through.

Being a Mom of just boys has come with a sense of being an outsider in the family as it is. Maybe it’s a matter of a combination of things; having no allies of the same gender, plus the basic differences in how men vs women think, feel, emote, and express themselves, plus the fact my husband and one son are men of few words- quiet introverts, while the other is talkative but of course still a male, and therefore compartmentalized. I have always said if women were purses, I would be the hobo bag, aka “feedsack”. Thats a purse with no dividers, pockets or compartments, not even a zipper. So we have not just the male/female differences, but 2 out of 3 of my guys are on the non-communicative extreme, while I am on the opposite extreme, being of above-average need for communication on the female end of the spectrum.

In regards to how I relate, I am an open book. Conversation-wise, I am very open one-on-one and I also think on and broach many things at once when I talk so I think I often confuse people (whether in person or writing emails, texts, letters). In person, you can readily correct a misunderstanding. In writing, I may never even know anything got misconstrued, whereas electronic communication allows for immediately addressing misunderstanding, I find 99% of efforts to clarify, only gets things more muddled. It’s a ver unfulfilling mode of communication, very flawed. I miss the days before the smartphone more all the time.

I often feel utterly starved for personal connection and when it happens I guess I try to get into too much at one time. In a way, I have given up on having that kind of connection with people including, or maybe especially my boys, in this blasted e-communication society, but I guess my hunger for it is still there, getting me in trouble, possibly even more so for trying to deny my need and suppress the effort.

Probably that’s why I write here, huh? Hoping some day they will read and maybe understand me. I want to understand people. Everybody wants to be understood, I think, right?

Fewer people want to understand others though. And I think that someone seeking to be understood sometimes doesn’t recognize when someone is trying to understand, mostly because it is kind of rare to encounter someone that really wants to understand.

That’s what my husband says, anyway. Most people aren’t willing to be real, nor are they interested in you being real. They don’t want to know if they hurt you, or offended you. They don’t want to hear your pain or worries.

I don’t know how to be less real. I don’t have the stamina to hold up a brave front. My face can’t produce a convincing fake smile. I have tried it. It looks like a grimace.I have caught a glimpse of me trying to smile when it’s socially expected, and even when I thought my face was smiling, the corners of my mouth were downturned in that weird “sad smile” way. Rebellion, I guess, against a world, even in church, that expects you to smile whether you feel it or not.