is said that once a mother, you are always a mother. However old your son or
daughter may be, they are always your children. This may be right, but it is a
blessing and a curse. Most of us cannot escape it.

The Nature of Motherhood

realisation came home to me a week or so ago when I passed a restless night,
even waking at one point in a clear state of panic.

don’t know what I was dreaming, but it was probably one of those dreams where
you can’t get to where you want to go. All I know is that I was visibly shaken,
and it took awhile to settle back down.

knew immediately that I was worried for my son. But why? Was he a new-born, and
was I a new mother who knows absolutely nothing and worries about every little
thing? Nope.

he just started nursery school, when you worry about whether they will manage
without you for the first time? No, not that either.

Was he
at the end of secondary school, when you worry about whether they will get into
the college or apprenticeship of their choice? Wrong, again.

I was worried about an interview he was having the following day for a job that
would make his life very much easier (due to its location) and set him on a
good ladder for his professional career. He is not new-born, nor age three or
even age 18.

is, indeed, in his late 30s, married, a father himself, and completely
independent. He doesn’t need my worry at all.


you more easy-going than this – or do you worry, like me, in such
circumstances? Do you feel it deeply when your no-longer-young children pass
through important life stages?

you worry whether your daughter will juggle a new baby with her developing
career. Perhaps you worry whether your son’s new girlfriend is entirely
suitable. Perhaps you see signs of mental instability or too much alcohol and
wonder what you should do.

are a myriad of circumstances and important decisions they will make, over
which you have no control.

I don’t mean worry in the sense that we worry slightly over loads of day-to-day
irritations. I mean worry in the sense that it is immediate and palpable to
you. You begin to be easily distracted when you should be thinking about other
things. Or lose sleep. Perhaps you even lose your appetite.

is a deep-down, umbilical-cord-still-attached kind of worry.

it doesn’t help that we mothers of middle aged children are the subject of
ridicule all over the world. I am sure we have all seen some movie where the
young hero has to stop an important business meeting to deal with his
over-protective and very annoying mother on the telephone.

is always shown from the child’s point of view, too. The mother should have let
go a long time ago.

Developing Coping Strategies

those of us who do worry, it must be said that we probably have little control
over the matter. The important issue is not what we feel, but what we do
about it.

We all
need to develop coping strategies for such moments. Go to the gym or for a long
walk. Talk to your spouse or partner. Or a friend. More than once. Read a
distracting book. Meditate.

main thing is not to put our problems onto the very sons and daughters we are
worried about. Avoid making a nuisance of yourself, however hard that might be.
And, most certainly, don’t make that phone call.

When interviewing women for my book on being a grandmother, one woman made a very wise a comment about giving advice on parenting:

“Every grandmother has to be issued with a zip [finger across lips]. There’s a fine line between help and interference and you have to learn it. Nobody can teach it to you, because everybody’s experience is different.”

same is true for other aspects of our children’s lives, however old they are. It’s
not easy and I don’t always succeed myself, but it’s good advice.


case you’re wondering, he got the job. I wonder what I will worry about next?

much do you worry about your adult children? What sorts of things have worried
you recently? How do you cope? Please use the comments below to share with our