Thursday, May 6, 2010

Help please. . .

So now we are adults. "Grown-up" - that stage that we all longed for as kids: that magical land where bedtime was our choice and we could have sweets before supper, and ice cream for supper. But now we know adulthood is not what we thought. (Disappointing, isn't it?!) It is fraught with difficulties we could never have imagined as kids. We have to work through these with whatever tools we can find, so there is a lot of blind guessing; trial and error and general blundering going on. So I thought I would try to find some answers in one special area that bugs me. And for that, I need your help. Here's the deal. I struggle to know where the lines are for my adult kids in terms of my involvement with them. Especially adult sons! (And this includes my in-law kids, of course) Where are these lines, people? # When does "helpfulness" (my take) become "interference" (their take)? # At what point does "not interfering" (my take) become "lack of interest" (their take)? # And with daughters-in-law, when does motherly friendship begin to look as though you are trying to take over from their own mothers? And when is it too much: and when too little? This is the first step to compiling a "Handbook for Momming Adult Kids" or some such title. Your role is to answer a small questionnaire for me. It should be fun - you can vent. Which is always fun. 1. Name things you like about the way your Mom handles Adult-You. (By the way, if your Mom is no longer with you, your memories will still enable you to participate, kay?) 2. Name the things that drive you nuts about the way your Mom handles Adult-You. 3. Tell me what you like in a mom-in-law and what you don't. (I'm looking for the relationship between the Mom and her children here, NOT stuff to do with her relating to, or helping with, grandchildren.) And if you have little stories to back up your likes and dislikes, I'd LOVE to hear them as well. Perhaps you can enlist the help of husbands, brothers, sisters, neighbours and friends as well? (Specially the opinions of guys, since they are my particular mystery!) Make it a game for this wet wintry weather: ask people to write down their answers and give them to you. And you can send them to me at datpro@global.co.za together with your own. All opinions will be gratefully received. Who knows - maybe it will be a best seller and you could be listed in the acknowledgements!

5 comments:

Anne Binos said...

1. Name things you like about the way your Mom handles Adult-You.

Answer: She never interfered, only gave advice when asked – more like a friend


2. Name the things that drive you nuts about the way your Mom handles Adult-You.

Answer: she never drove me nuts except she was too independent!


3. Tell me what you like in a mom-in-law and what you don't.

Answer: a) Please don’t offer advice – only if asked.

b) Don’t speak to siblings about me/husband/children

Anonymous said...

. Name things you like about the way your Mom handles Adult-You.
She stayed emotionally independant and she respects my growing up, adulthood and did not interfere in any of my personal things. She is still very interested in my and my husbands life and always takes her son-in-law's side!!!

2. Name the things that drive you nuts about the way your Mom handles Adult-You.
Still sends me everywhere to fetch and carry things, but I think she is allowed to at the age of 93!
3. Tell me what you like in a mom-in-law and what you don't.
Must support me, without interfering in my day-to-day life.
Same in my husband's life.
Must not be emotionally dependant on the children.

allie said...

Thanks Anonymous - thats good stuff. Seems emotional independence is a big deal.
Important point.

M said...

Here are some thoughts:

Clear the cache: if i tell you things about my partner, friend, kids etc - it is a snap shot of a moment. so clear the cache before we talk again.

Balance: mostly we talk about the negative cos thats when we need an ear, when things are positive we mostly don't need an ear - so remember there is a bigger picture.

Listen: listen and nod. really listen. only listen.

Try keep advice to a sentence. and let me ask for more. No long paragraphs or sililoques required.

Laugh. Lots. And reach out and touch with the hand rather than too many words.

Don't hover.

Have a full life. Don't make your kids your only interests.

Stretch your mind and learn someting about your sons interests - so that you can follow their conversations with some degree of understanding. Even if it is golf or sport scores.

Learn to be a guest. No need to be a host in everyones house.

You can stop facilitating now ;-)

Be you - don't try too hard to be easy. it can be exhausting (especially from a new mother in law).

x x x x

allie said...

M - I wish you were not anonymous. You sound like someone I would like to know.

This is so good! Much that is helpful to me personally.
So, if you visit again, this is to say 'thanks a million'.