When The Mother Becomes The Child.

So quite a while back, I came to the realization that I was slowly becoming my children’s child. I think every parent child relationship reaches this turning point. I vividly remember the precise time I realized I was becoming my mother’s parent.

In the beginning, it starts very gently. It is that moment that you, as a child, realize that your parents are in actual fact…..human!! They don’t know everything….cannot fix everything ….cannot protect you from everything and, up to that point, have pretty much just done the best they knew how, and prayed they had done enough.

It is just the circle of life really, and every parent and child reaches that turning point. If you do not recall experiencing this, either as a parent, or as a child, it is just that you were not consciously aware of that pivotal moment. It happened….trust me.

It is both terrifying and empowering at the same time. This is true for both the parent and the child. The child realizes oh crap, I need to think for myself now, as well as, maybe I should have realized this sooner, but YAY I am actually the Master of my own destiny!! The parent thinks, wow, look at this strong, smart and independent child I raised, as well as, who is this little pipsqueak to question my authority and decisions??

There is, of course, a transitional phase, where the child thinks they are way smarter and more empowered than they think they are, and the parent still harps on who is this little pipsqueak to question my authority and decisions??

Then, eventually the child comes back down to size, and the parent calms down, and realizes that their authority has not yet been completely usurped. This is the first phase….which, as a parent, turns out to be the most temperate phase. 

Phase two is when the parent realizes that in actual fact they do not know everything….cannot fix ANYTHING….and cannot protect their child from everything. The child on the other hand realizes that they very often are smarter, wiser and braver than their parents.

Phase three is just the most pitiable and heartbreaking phase. This is when the child becomes the parent and the parent literally becomes the child…physically, mentally and emotionally. It is not a phase where any parent or child wants to reach, but unfortunately, this too is the circle of life.

As I mentioned previously, I vividly remember the precise time I realized I was becoming my mother’s parent. I had just finished Grade 12, my parents were getting a divorce, and my mom was looking around for a new place to stay. Being the mother, I left this entirely in her hands…..until I didn’t. I realized that she was under huge emotional strain, and her judgment was a little skewed. I took over the entire project from start to finish. I only realized that I was doing the correct thing, when she failed to terminate my unilateral appointment as director of operations. That was my phase one moment.

Cut to my moment as the parent. Well that happened some time ago, and to be honest…two sons….dull brain….everything else in between, I do not remember the first moment, but a few snatches of moments for each child.

Prior to Corona (a manner in which, I suspect, sentences are going to begin for many years to come), I had a morning job, an afternoon job and a weekend business. The aim was to collect money from as many corners as possible. The goal….first and foremost, to pay for my children’s education. After that, to pay for whatever was the priority at any given point. This is how I continued….for fifteen years…..undisturbed…..until……well….COVID!!!!!! 

So now I have a business (in the hospitality industry……*&^*%$), one job where my hours and pay have been reduced and the other which is continuing as before. In my mind, though, I argue that I have one job continuing, one job with the potential of earning what I earned before, and a business, with the potential of getting back to what it was before. So, essentially…in my mind…I am truly grateful, and, more importantly, I have HOPE.

So, last night my oldest son, Pepper, asked if we could go for dinner. You might think….how sweet of young Pepper to ask his mom to go for dinner. Well, Pepper will stop at nothing just to not be quarantined and shut up in the house. However, once we sat down for dinner, Pepper and I had the following conversation……

‘’Mom, you need to subscribe to LinkedIn.’’

‘’For what?’’ I asked, browsing on my phone.

‘’Mom!!!! Can you put the phone down so we can talk? Nothing can be important enough to disturb our dinner…let’s chat,’’ he said, most annoyed at my lack of focus on the moment.

‘’You need to put yourself out there and maybe you will find another job,’’ he suggested.

‘’Let’s just wait and see what happens, everything is so uncertain right now,’’ I tried to explain….me…..adulting the child!!

‘’You are just scared to admit the truth,’’ he continued, now realising he had my full attention. ‘’It is just safer for you to trust that everything will go back to normal, when you know it is highly unlikely.”

Well knock me over with a feather!! This little prawn cocktail was adulting me!! What does he know…he’s a kid…..he might think he is a big shot adult, but he is just a kid, I annoyingly thought to myself.

‘’Think about what you have to offer. Think about what you have accomplished. You could be such an asset to yourself, if you would just recognize this.’’ Okay….paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it….. not quite as eloquent as his mom, is my Pepper.

‘’Do you have a CV?” he asked.

”No, why would I have?” 

”We need to draw you up a CV. I will help you. You need to be proud of your achievements, and learn to sell yourself to people,’’  the annoyingly adult child explained.

Okay, so he’s right. But again, what does this little muppet know about the real world?? He has just started his life. The future is bright, the opportunities are endless, the perspective….. so naïve and short sighted….shame….poor Pepper!!

Anyway, must rush….just need to find that big shot, who the bloody hell does he think he is, too big for his boots brat child of mine to help me compile my CV, and we need complete focus!

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