Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Challenges of Motherhood

I hate the helpless feeling that I sometimes get as a mother and grandmother.  My children are grown.  That doesn't stop me from being a mom.  I hate feeling helpless when I know that my children are going through struggles.  I hate to hear that a grandchild has had a serious earache or a lingering cough or a high fever.  I hate to hear the voice of a child, who is an adult but still my child, who is sick and just not feeling up to snuff.

I hate to see what I consider to be bad choices being made.  I want to point out every pitfall that I see.  Yet, I don't want to encourage adult behavior that is more juvenile than adult.  After all, how did I learn?  I learned from my mistakes.

As a family, we've all been through so much emotionally.   I can barely handle it when my children also are physically ill with colds or the flu.  I think of those women during the flu epidemic who lost children, spouses or fought the flu themselves without antibiotics.  I marvel at their fortitude.  I wonder how I would have handled it.

I've often said that I tried to give my children roots and wings.  I have to admit that I have a very hard time with the wings bit.  I know that children must leave the nest and establish their own nests.  I celebrate that, but way down deep inside, I also have a very hard time not being a mother hen.

I used to joke that I wanted to hand in my mom badge.  I really don't feel that way.  I just wonder if a mom ever stops being a mom?  Is this a good thing, or is it really over the top to worry and feel helpless when we see our children suffer?

Life is real.  Sickness hits.  Serious illness causes great pain.  Divorce happens.  Financial problems can strike.  Jobs are lost.  This is all a part of life.  As a mom, I hope I have prepared all my children for the adversity they will face, but oh how I hate to watch it happen.  It makes me feel helpless.

I also know that they are capable and able to solve their own problems, seek their own medical care, and build their own support systems, make their own choices.  I am here for them, and they know it.  I know I also have to be careful not to be too much of a mom.  I sometimes have to step back in order not to cross the line and act like the mother hen that I am.  Do you ever struggle with this?

19 comments:

Linda Myers said...

When I watch my children struggle, I sometimes wonder if I taught them what they need. Neither of my sons is good with money. How could I have taught them better. Both of them make foolish, ill-considered decisions. How could I have taught them better? For much of the time I raised them as a single parent, and I didn't have a lot of energy beyond providing for their physical needs. I think I expected they'd pick it up by osmosis. Some things they did, and of course those things I take for granted. It's hard.

Kay said...

I do think that every mom can relate to this post. I sure do. It weighs very heavily on me when my kids and grandkid is going through any difficulties. My daughter even tries to shield me from things and goes straight to her father. It doesn't matter because he tells me anyway. I don't like being in the dark either.

DJan said...

Worry? What, me? Although I have lost both of my children, I still worry constantly about my sister, her children, and now little Lexie, I worry about her (my sister's only grandchild). But I think it comes with the territory. I remember when I wasn't a worrier and my grandmother said if I didn't, someone has to! :-)

Mare said...

Parenting comes with no set of directions, and is a forever bond is my thought. I remember seeing a saying: The decision to have children is to accept the fact that your heart will forever exist outside of your body.
Certainly not for the faint of heart.
I sometimes refer to myself as 'Mama Bear' to my son.

Olga said...

Yes, this a post a mother can relate to (to which a mother can relate--have to remember to whom I comment here). I worry, but I did a great job with the wings. All our children are INDEPENDENT--and were from a very young age. I like the people they have become as much as love them for being my children.

becca said...

parenting doesn't come with a handbook of rules and guidelines. all you can do is your and hope your child makes it through. hugs

Cape Cod Kitty said...

I just love this post, Sally....I am forever telling people, "mothering (parenting) never ends."
With all that has been happening in my life this past week, I got a call, just as I was leaving my office last nigh, from my 48 yr old daughter...would I please drive her to the hospital as she was in terrible pain and could barely move. Off I went and after 5 hrs there, surrounded by VERY sick people in the ER, I was wiped out. Daughter, is now home and dealing with a sciatic nerve issue. Oh, dear. I've been there and know how it hurts.
Day to day, I could run their lives....but I refrain and hope that better decisions will be made, better parenting will take place, etc. This does not apply to all my children, just one, but it is a demanding issue. When to draw the line?? I have to take it incident by incident and be grateful I am here to be a part.
Thanks for writing about it as I am sure it will strike many chords for readers.

Linda said...

I don't feel any guilt for worrying over the big things. I think that's to be expected of mothers and I think our kids appreciate our concern.

My problem is worrying over the small stuff. Kids really don't like that. I'm working on it and have made some progress but it's an every day job to give them the freedom to live their own lives without my input.

KathyA said...

We never stop being the mom... (My mother, now 86 tells me this, too).

I Wonder Wye said...

I don't know a mother with kids of any age who doesn't struggle with these issues...it doesn't seem to matter if the 'kids' are adults or not...you do the best you can and step back to try not to interfere while letting them know you are there for them...I am beginning to fear the hardest job is 'parenting' aging parents who still consider you the kid, though...

Deb Shucka said...

You have such huge and loving heart. To care less would mean you weren't who you came here to be. Is this harder for you having lost a child do you think?

Lynilu said...

Oh yes, I certainly do. I think we never stop being mothers and wishing to make our children's lives "right." I've tried to be the sort of mom my own mother was .... there if needed, but not sticking my nose in unless invited. It's so often difficult to maintain that posture. So very difficult.

Joanne said...

Mine are still young and I find it hard to imagine a day where they wont need me everyday...you are doing a great job...they know they can count on you if the going gets really rough. Blessings, Joanne

#1Nana said...

At my granddaughter's fourth birthday party none of the children invited from her preschool came. Even the two who had RSVPed that they were attending, didn't show up. Megan didn't seem to notice. She enjoyed the family and the presents and the BBQ at the pool. Her mother (my daughter) and her other grandmother and I were all distressed. Do you think a child can be scared for life from her fourth birthday party? Yeah, I related to this one!

Jeanie said...

Oh, Sally, this post truly resonates. I'm not even a mom by birth, but after 15 years with two boys, I feel like it -- maybe only a tad more objectivity. Maybe not. I love what you said about roots and wings -- I think Rick and I are experiencing this with the oldest who really needs to fly, yet seems so terribly unprepared. Yet, perhaps he needs to take what is coming to him in the world -- good or bad -- and we have to get out of the way and let it happen. That said, easier said than done.

Sightings said...

Nice post, and I like what Mare says: "The decision to have children is to accept the fact that your heart will forever exist outside of your body."

I remember thinking, when my wife and I decided to have kids, that it was an 18-year commitment. I thought -- I can handle that.

Little did I know!

Laura said...

Oh yes, how I can relate to this post!

Jeanie said...

I am lucky, I think, to share "momming" with Rick, his ex-wife and her husband. We all worry, get frustrated, try to guide them and help them learn how to make the right decisions -- and when they are ill, we work together. I never thought that would happen during my early years with Rick. I can't say they are all that fond of one another, yet the boys' mother and I get on well enough to count on one another if we need it, and in doing so, the guys are there, too.

We're going through challenges with the oldest -- he's the one who had cancer and our artist -- most gifted kid I know and he can't focus to save his soul. We worry about him -- but what can you do. We're trying to learn how to let go and it's a lot easier said than done! This is a wonderful and thoughtful post -- it gives me much to ponder.

KleinsteMotte said...

Ah yes it's familiar. Our girls are still single and attached to home but we think they ought to head out more now. Our Buddy is with us and we worry a lot. His health issues are a daily problem. We have trouble finding him the help he deserves.