Baby, I’m in a Dangerous Mood!

Baby boomer Liz Kitchens has written for us before, all about the joy of parenting her grown-up kids. But that was then; this is now. She’s not in the same mood any more. In fact, she says “Look out Baby, I’m in a Dangerous Mood!”

As a mother I am, of course, quick to point out that I’m crazy about my kids: Tracy 30, David 27. And I am exceedingly proud of them. They are virtually launched and almost off the family dole. My daughter is a high school English teacher with benefits, a pension plan, and a condo she is paying for. My son has attended some of the best universities in the country and is in the process of completing his Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology. Thus, I am abundantly endowed in the bragging rights department.

But… they call? Not enough! Do they visit? Not enough! Are they ever going to move back to their home town? Of course not! If they have children, will I be able to dash over and see my grandkids? Hell no! Am I bitter about this state of affairs? Of course not….well, okay….maybe a bit. My husband (their stepfather), their Dad, and I all wanted them to spread their wings and fly the nest. Now, I don’t completely regret encouraging them to travel and experience new places and cultures. But I did think maybe they would want to share these experiences with their parents.

We currently have a texting relationship and, most of the time, I’m grateful for these scraps of affection bestowed upon me. Today, however, was just one of those days, I resented the distance and lack of attention. As one of my husband’s favorite Blues song titles says, “I’m in a dangerous mood.”

I start thinking of the many thoughtful acts we bestow upon them our offspring — checks and gift cards in the mail; care packages filled with treats; flowers for special occasions and personal victories; car insurance payments; air plane tickets; Netflix subscriptions; and cell phone service. (That one makes me the maddest. I pay for them to have a cell phone and they don’t use it to call me? What is wrong with this picture?)

I think we Boomers are in a weird “tween” position. As ‘50s and ‘60s kids, we sought our parents’ approval and felt a need to “please” them. Episodes of AMC’s Mad Men confirm this supposition. Now, as parents, we find ourselves in the position of trying to “please” our kids. We want their approval and to be liked by them. Why are those of us in this “Tweener” position such pleasers? If anyone has a clue, please share it with a comment below.

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  1. But Liz, don’t they have almost a right to not contact us often? Aren’t they busy leading the lives we raised them to live? Don’t we want them to be independent?

    I do know about infrequency – one of my 2 daughters is negligent too, but I’m pretty sure it’s because she has 143 other things on her plate right now.

    I think that’s just how life is Liz. And, ok, I also think they should pay for their own cell phones now.

    Your article was a beautiful capture of our feelings of separation from our kids. But I think separation is good, don’t you?


  2. I think they want to please us as well. They actually like us and want us in their lives, but on their terms. Their terms are texting and sometimes Facebooking, which is why we, their parents, are now on Facebook. We can get a glimpse into their real lives. Our parents had to rely on the weekly Sunday night phone call and on what we were willing to share with them. Thank goodness for social networking and texting, as we get much more information than our parents did. Granted, it may not all be accurate, but did we always share everything exactly correctly with our parents?
    It’s not so much their approval that we seek, but their friendship. We are blessed to actually like our children, in addition to loving them. We choose to spend time with them and, when we buy the plane tickets, they enjoy spending time with us.
    I think we are really lucky to have wonderful children and am not ashamed to be a pleaser parent.
    Keep up the good writing, Liz!

  3. …and they want to know everything you are doing and why, but details about them are not so forthcoming. Loved your article – spot on. However, I have no clue why we’re that way.

  4. Liz, you sound like a great mom! I think you should start a new rule, though: If you're paying for your kids' cell phones, they must use half of their monthly minutes on the phone with you! Good luck with that! 🙂

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