I loved this essay. You were reading my mind! I was a foster kid and I had no parental supports, no safety nets. I had to get things the best way I knew how, and when I messed up, it was all on me (to include getting pregnant and married at 18). In any event, I was determined that my kids would not have the experiences that I did, but they would not live off of me forever. I worked hard on giving them the tools to be self-sufficient throughout their middle and high school years. I always told them I would help them through college and then they had a certain number of days to have a job and get out. When they moved I promised they could take whatever they needed to start their new lives, but I staying with me past college wasn’t an option for a variety of reasons.
#1. Raising kids takes a lot of time, effort, and money. I didn’t want to be giving all of my resources to kids who would only take advantage of me, and never be in a position to aid me as I aged. Teaching the to be responsible would save me money.
#2. College was to help my kids be able to sustain themselves. They had far more support and education than I did, so I had no guilt in pulling the life support. I made sure they participate in all of the programs the college had to offer on flying solo, made them go to job fairs, I made sure they finished on time (failing was not an option at my house unless they were paying for it), and I aid in job searches, apartment hunting, resume prep, etc. all in an effort to help them fly. I wanted my life back.
#3. You can’t live and be grown with your grown kids in your home. I wanted to walk around my house naked. I wanted to eat my own food without worrying about feeding others. I wanted to have peace and quiet without my kids’ friends always coming over hanging out. I wanted to have sex without having to be quiet. I wanted to spend my own hard earned money for just me sometimes. I wanted my bills to go down, get rid of cable, and all of the other luxuries kids don’t think about. I wanted to not pay their car insurance, pay for their gas to hang out, or use my last few pennies to pay for expensive college books instead of being able to go out to eat a nice meal not prepared by my own hands. It’s a lot of sacrifice, with usually nothing in return but a thanks. The least a kid could do is to get their shit together and move it along without asking for more in return.
It’s like an calf who drinks the cow’s milk until they don’t need it anymore. The calf turns into a cow (or bull), but still continues to suck its mother’s tits. They are old enough to graze on their own, but they won’t. Out of love, the momma cow allows them too, even though it hurts. That’s what it’s like when adult kids won’t unlatch from home. It hurts. We love you so much we can’t say no, but it really hurts us.
Kids have no clue of the sacrifices many parents make in order to aid them in becoming self-sufficient. I made sure my kids knew about every sacrifice. I also made sure they knew I made them because I loved them, sometimes more than I loved myself. We do too much for kids today, for too long, and it’s going to bite some of us in the butt at the most inconvenient time down the road.
My friends thought I was so mean. Now all of my sons are self-sufficient, educated, and were on there on without 4 months after graduation. I have friends who have a revolving roller coaster of adult kids (and now grandkids) at mid-life and they dread it. They made those beds, now they must lay in them with their adult kids, and it’s not good at all. It’s put strains on marriages, and I even had one friend who’s boyfriend left her because her adult kids, decided she didn’t want to adult anymore. Too much help definitely hinders. Saying no is a good thing. I’m happy you were finally able to see how blessed your were. Many ungrateful children never seem to get it. They see their parents as ATMs instead of aids to self-sufficiency.