Motherhood and what you can’t control

When you’re a mom, you want your kids to turn out okay. Of course, what “okay” means is different for every mom.

What it means to me is that I want my kids to be happy and to become productive and self-sufficient adults. And right now, my two adult kids are in the floundering years.

Just after my oldest came out as transgender, she got fired from work. It wasn’t related; she hadn’t asked to be addressed as female at work yet and it was a pretty LGBT-friendly office. She was actually fired for cause.

But it’s brought back a lot of anxiety and helplessness for both of us. She thinks she can get unemployment but hasn’t filed yet, even though it’s been a week. I can see that she’s struggling and I can’t really do too much to help. She doesn’t want financial help and feels bad that she’s struggling.

She’s been through this once before, though she quit the other job. I know she’ll flail a bit and eventually get back on her feet. But at this point in time, I’m just helpless to watch and wait.

My middle child is also flailing, having graduated high school a couple months ago. He still doesn’t have a job. I think he got discouraged because he put out a bunch of applications and resumes earlier this summer and didn’t hear back on them.

He did get the money from his lawsuit and I think that took away some of the feeling of urgency. Now he needs to get his driver’s license and a car. He’s about ready for his driving test but it keeps getting delayed. He says he’s waiting until he has his own car to get a job so he’s not depending on anyone for rides.

They’re both struggling and there’s really not a damn thing I can do about it now. When your child is a legal adult, you can’t compel them to do anything. I can encourage and reassure them that they can do it but I can’t really make them do anything else.

I have to keep reminding myself that everything will work out eventually. My oldest went through a very rough time when we moved here, even dropping out of school. I was so worried about her for so long and it didn’t seem like anything was going to change.

Then, one day, it did all change. She got motivated. She got her driver’s license and then a car. She did great for almost two years at that job, but fell apart when I was in the hospital and quit.

I keep reminding myself of what I was like at their ages. I definitely didn’t have all my shit together, either. I really believe this is something they have to work out on their own. Pressure from parents isn’t going to be effective.

I may have a time limit where we’ll start having more serious deadlines for various activities. But experience tells me that if I wait, things will work themselves out. It’s just so hard to watch and not interfere.

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