When I was a kid, I thought that there was something pretty special about turning 18. When I pictured my future self, I imagined that by my 18th birthday, I’d be “Grown Up”. I would be independent. I would know the majority of what I needed to know to be entirely self-sufficient.
By 16, I was starting to have my suspicions that 18 might not be the golden number it was cracked up to be. And by the time I celebrated my 18th birthday and got ready to head off to uni, I knew for sure that not only did I not know it all, when it came to heading out into the world on my own, I still had a lot to learn. And I definitely still needed my mum.
As a 35-year-old adult, I still don’t quite feel like a proper grown up. And I am quite certain I’ll never, ever know it all, nor ever be truly self-sufficient. We all have our support networks. We all continue to learn and grow throughout our lives and that’s ok. In fact, that’s great!
Over the years, my mum has been there to offer advice, assistance (thank you for all the flat moves and countless hours babysitting, mum!) and even financial support when it was needed.
And when I say financial support I don’t just mean loaning money, but lending financial advice too. In fact, there are lots of time where my mum’s guidance was crucial, from renting my first house to launching my first business, so it’s really no surprise to me to learn of stats that showed that most parents still feel responsible for their adult children.
As JD and J’s mum and dad, Mark and I are working alongside their school to help arm them with the life skills and financial nouse they’ll need to get on in the world, so that by the time they’re ready to fly the coop they’re not completely stumped by how to get their gas turned on or what a direct debit it. But let’s be realistic, we’re absolutely expecting them to keep calling on us for help long after they move out – and we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Think back to the times as an adult when you’ve reached out to your parents, or times when your adult children have reached out to you. What conversations spring to mind? I know cooking was (and is) a big one for me – this blog wouldn’t exist had I not had such a great creative grounding from my mum.
These days, I love that that the reaching out for advice goes in all directions. My siblings and I support my mum, she supports my siblings and I, and we siblings all support each other. With advice, with ideas, with simply an ear to bend. That’s what family is all about!
So the day our children turn 18 won’t really change anything, nor will the day they turn 40 for that matter. We want to give them our time, knowledge and financial support whenever we can.
Of course, imagining our own kids at 40 got me thinking about my own mum and just how much support she’s given over decades looking after us, and it made me even more determined repay some of the unwavering kindness and support she’s shown me, today, tomorrow, and as and when she needs it down the line.
And just the same, Mark and I will be there for our kids until they start being grown up enough to be there for us. Maybe that’s what being grown up really is. It’s not becoming independent, it’s just about supporting the people you love.
It’s comforting to have a strong family support network in place.
At the end of the day, we parents love our children, no matter how young or old. Always have, always will. Once a parent, always a parent.