When Do You Stop Being a Parent?

No matter how much you love your child, this question would definitely have crossed your mind if you’ve been a parent for a few years. There will be days when your child drives you up-the-wall, round-the-bend, over-the-top crazy, and unbidden, the thought comes to your mind: “When can I get off this parenting rollercoaster? When can I be me again? When can I get my life back again?”

I’m sharing 3 stories by way of an answer.

A friend of mine has 2 children: a boy and a girl, who often scrap with each other. She is the kids’ first and last court of appeal, and they keep badgering her till they feel the other has got his / her comeuppance. My friend’s mother, who lives with the family, tries to restore peace. She does this for one reason only. In her words, “I love my daughter. Of course, I love my grandchildren too, but they trouble her so much, that I can’t bear to see her going through this nonsense for hours every day. I’m sure I’d be able to get them to stop, if only she’d allow me to spank them, but she doesn’t!”

This lady has an adult daughter who is herself a parent, but she still feels for my friend – her child. She hasn’t stopped being a parent.

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On www.getorganizednow.com, a reader sent in an organizing idea. She wrote: “My handicapped son was in his wheelchair ready for the bus to arrive. I had his jacket on and tried to zip it up when the zipper pull broke off. Not having time to take the coat off and put another on, my husband asked for a plastic bag tie. He slipped it through the hole where the zipper pull had been pushed it in half way then twisted it to make a great temporary pull. I pulled the zipper up just as the bus arrived.

My husband and I are in our early 70’s. Our son is 57 and attends a day center for 5 hours every day. This is our respite time. We visit friends, shop, and sometimes we have lunch out. We have to be home every day at 2:45 to get our son off the bus.”

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A friend who quit the corporate world to pursue his childhood passion for photography had his first solo exhibition recently. At the launch, I was speaking with his father. “What awesome photographs!” I said.

My friend’s dad who is in his 70s, replied, “Yes, he’s really good” – and stopped.

I was incredulous. “Good? He’s way better than good!”

The gentleman seemed to be struggling for words. Then, “You see, he’s my son, so I don’t want to say too much.”

“Why not? I have a daughter, and if I feel she’s doing a great job, I have no compunction saying so to anyone, including herself.”

“If that’s how you feel, let me tell you what I think. I am amazed, bowled over, and so, so proud to see his work. I always knew he was talented, but seeing his work exhibited like this – solo, at a gallery – has simply blown me away. And he’s following his heart, his passion – what more could a father ask?”

***

There are times – many times – when your children get on your nerves, and you wish you could get a break from them. But that’s really all you want – a little break, a breather.

You never stop being a parent – and that’s just the way you (and I!) like it. 🙂

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