Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Perk of Failure

Over the years I have moaned on and on and waxed eloquent and sometimes not so eloquent about my failure as a mother. Or at least my failure as a mother in the success-driven, competence-glorifying, "you must do it right or else" culture that is my world. (

Last night, however, I was having a discussion with a friend about a phenomenon that is all too common. The perpetual mother. You know them. Perhaps you have one of them Perhaps you ARE one of them. This is the mom who, regardless of the age of her child, really has trouble letting go and transitioning to that adult to adult relationship.

Her child can be 30 and she is still hovering or chiding. We see it on sitcoms. We hear it from friends. We may say it ourselves. "She treats me like I am 13!" (Insert eye rolling here.)

Well, for once, I am pleased to announce that my pathology has a good side. I don't have that problem. For all my failure as a mom...all those structures I didn't impose, all those homework assignments I didn't assist, all those chores I didn't dish out (the list could go on ad nauseum)...taught me something important. I am no good at managing people. Especially little people. But really any people.

And when you are tired and when you are tired of being a failure (by the standards of the day, anyway), you take the first exit ramp at your disposal. That exit ramp came none too soon. My kids now range from 19-25 and I am oh, so happy. In spite of my feeble efforts, they are fabulous, wonderful young adults. I love being friends with my children.

If by some miracle they come to me and ask for my input, no problem. I am happy to share what limited wisdom I have scared up in 51 years on the planet. But if not? I love them. I am here for them. But I want to treat them like the adults they are. And what a relief that is.

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