When do the real grown-ups show up?

Do you ever look at your kids and have a moment of clarity where you think, “Oh my gosh, I am in charge of you. I’m responsible for keeping you alive!”  This happens to me a lot (and I suspect my husband feels similarly).  So, when do the real grown-ups show up?

The day our twins turned 2 we celebrated their birthday, but my husband and I basically high-fived on keeping a total of 3 people alive for 2 whole years! This birthday was nice because I was not anxious about developmental milestones (my mama gut felt everything was OK there), and I could just focus on my girls.

winery holding hands
Exploring a vineyard in Sonoma on vacation in California.

I keep waiting for someone to knock on my door and say, “Okay lady, you’ve had your turn, we’re going to take over from here.” I know this isn’t going to happen, but being in charge of three little lives is a BIG responsibility and I didn’t have to do anything to qualify for this position… no application, no tests, no license… when leaving the hospital with these little creatures I crossed the threshold of double doors thinking, “Okay, we’re really doing this, we’re taking you home… no one is stopping me!”  CRAZY.

I can look at this from the point of view of “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m doing this adult-grown-up-I’m-the-parent thing,” or I can reframe and think, “Who else would be better at raising my darling girls?” Answer: NO ONE, only me and my husband truly qualify, and we ROCK at this.  I feel very grown-up and fuddy-duddy when I think about how I have a car payment, car insurance, mortgage, home-owners insurance, health insurance, life insurance, a will, a personal investment portfolio and my own retirement plan (outside of my employer’s plan) and three separate college savings accounts for my three daughters (which we contribute thousands of dollars to each year)!  I’m just noticing there’s a lot of insurance involved in being a grown-up.  I guess having lots of different kinds of insurance means you’re a grown-up.  Even so, these are all very grown up things I didn’t really think about or understand when I was younger, or even in my early 20s.

pit stop on a hike
Taking a snack break while hiking through Muir woods, I’m responsible for feeding and clothing these little nuggets every day!

As a mom, I feel like I’m looking over my shoulder for the real grown-ups to show up, but then I also find myself in very grown-up situations which must mean I am the grown up.  I have a lot of “after-school special” moments with my kids where I’m giving life lessons on how sometimes we have to do things we do not want to do and talk about where babies come from.  And I’m proud of what I share with my 4 year old because it makes sense to me and I don’t want to tell her lies about what a period is or life in general.  Yeah, sometimes things are going to be tough, but you’ll find a way to be OK and maybe even be happy you had the tough experience.  One friend warned me, “Be careful, you don’t want her to be the kid who tells everyone at school where babies come from.”  My thought on this, “It’s not my responsibility to make sure the lies other parents tell their children grooves with the truth I tell my daughters.”  So fair warning, my kid may be the one to teach the other kids what a uterus, sperm and egg are.  Now you know.

As I ramble I just have to think, yes having small people I am in charge of is super surreal, but then again, they are MY small people and I’ve waited my whole life to be the one in charge. I can decide if we’re having veggies and chicken for dinner, or frozen yogurt from the local shop (which happens more often then I care to share).

I think I like being the grown-up… it’s growing on me.
Ice cream for dinner. Why not? I'm the grown-up!
Ice cream for dinner. Why not? I’m the grown-up!
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2 thoughts on “When do the real grown-ups show up?”

  • Michelle I’m so proud of you! You really GET IT. We have to TELL THE TRUTH to kids. All this “let them have a childhood” stuff is not going to give them a good base of knowledge for them to base their futures on. (I’m not sure where I stand on the “No Santa Clause or Easter bunny thing”…I don’t think those ‘damage’ the kids…at least to a certain age.) but telling them how the body works are so important. It gives them an understanding that taking CARE of the body is so important! (I was raised by a mom that didn’t explain this stuff to her daughters ) I like your view when other mothers say, “They’ll tell the other kids…” You’re right! It’s not YOUR JOB to keep other less-enlightened parents lies going.
    I think you are VERY grown up but one WITH WISDOM. You have the most imporant job in the world – raising kids. Thank you for putting THE REAL WORK into the job by making thoughtout decisions! BRAVO!

    • Kym, thanks for the comment! I actually don’t have to worry about Santa or the Easter bunny because we are Jewish! I guess it’s one less thing. I agree with you, the truth is a lot less alarming than some of the crazy things we tell kids. It’s our own preconceived notions which makes certain subjects taboo or “hush hush.” I’m trying to make these topics very matter-of-fact because a lot of the time it’s just basic biology.

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