“What’s your schedule like next week?” my daughter asked as we were fixing supper together. Cooking together is often a way we bond. She and her son were over at our house for the evening and we were enjoying some girl time while “Papa” and J were playing.
Since I was cooking supper, I had no idea what my schedule was. My daughter is an entrepreneur and has a very fluid schedule. I, too, am an entrepreneur with an equally flexible schedule. It can work well for both of us, or it can collide.
I suggested we compare calendars after supper when we could look at the week ahead. I have been one to rearrange my schedule for her pretty consistently, as she is a single mom, starting her own on-site hair and make-up business for weddings.
However, I am beginning to realize that I can get overwhelmed by merging her schedule with mine and can get resentful if I don’t stop to look at the bigger picture. Slowly, I am beginning to ask, “How do I feel about this schedule?” “What is mine to do?” In the past, these questions would not have even occurred to me. I would have just plowed full speed ahead, because “she needed me.”
Luckily, she, too, is getting more sensitive to the big picture. When we realized everything that was going on in the week, three days in a row with our lovely grandson would not be good for us. He’s a terrific, lively two-and-a-half year old that loves playing full-tilt with us. We love having him, yet we don’t get anything else done when he is here, nor do we recoup any energy when he is here. We realize why young people have children. Ha!
As we talked, she was able to rearrange her schedule and move one day of care for him into the following week. That helped both of our schedules a great deal, both traveling out to our home (she lives 50 minutes away) and conserving energy for us.
What I loved about our conversation was the lead she took and the care in looking at the big picture. This two-way responsibility continues to forge bonds for us. I realized:
- We had to sit down with our calendars to see the big picture.
- She saw answers I didn’t see and was flexible.
- The solutions arrived at were satisfying to all of us, based on good communication.
- For me, it felt much more equalized, because I wasn’t just saying no to her request. It was a give and take conversation.
All of this communication takes time, practice and a willingness to listen and be flexible. Lo and behold, I don’t have to have all the answers. Imagine that!!! I am enjoying this forward movement in our relationship. It also helps if we are face to face, instead of texting.
What about you and your adult children? Here are some key questions I am beginning to use for myself:
- What is mine to do? What is my daughter’s (or son’s) responsibility?
- How do I feel about what is going on? How much do I need to share or just keep praying about? What is really any of my business?
- How do I best affirm and love my daughter, regardless?
- How do I best set her free to be the lovely adult person she is becoming?
I would love to hear the questions you are asking yourself as you forge the bonds with your adult children. It’s challenging, hard and rewarding. After all, we did raise them to set them free, right?
Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach. She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope. She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you! You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress. It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.