Relationship with Mother as an Adult:

Updated on January 28, 2013
E.D. asks from Olympia, WA
12 answers

Hey ya'll, I'll try to write more later, and give this some context.
For now, some questions:

What do you think a mother's role should look like once her children are adults?
What sort of relationship do you want to have with your mother?
Do you have that sort of relationship?
What sort of relationship do you want to have with your kids when they are adults?
If your kids are adults, do you have that type of relationship with them?


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answers from Baton Rouge on

My goal in raising my daughter was to have her grow into the type of person I would want in my life, even if she wasn't related to me.
When she was growing up, I made it clear that I was the adult, and I made the rules, but that if she thought a rule was unfair, she could say so, and we could discuss it. That didn't mean that it would change, but if she presented a strong enough case, it might.
I left her a lot of space to find her own path. I didn't insist that she believe or profess to believe the same as me, whether it was politics or religion. She was free to speak her mind and form her own opinions.
Now that she is grown, we enjoy each other's company, one adult to another.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Portland on

Interesting one again Ephie.

For me, ideally, the role of the mother of adult children would be as a the mentor that knows you, that 'gets' you. Someone who you can turn to for advice, to vent, to share-- part friend, part advisor, part sounding board. Someone who understands and remembers the traditions that you want to remember, and who is flexible in understanding that you'll want to form your own traditions too. Hopefully, the mother is able to enjoy the good things in their adult child's life right along with them, and who would want to augment the child's life and relationships (for example, to get along with daughter and son in-laws and extended families, enjoying grandparenting, etc.) without taking away from it with drama or their own unmet needs.

Please know that I'm thinking, too, of a middle-aging mother, not an elderly mother. I don't really know what that looks like, or what the expectations in those relationships need to be.

I do not have any sort of real relationship with my mother at this point. She and I have issues from our past which she doesn't want to address, and due to the nature of those previous issues, being in relationship with her is pretty emotionally dangerous for me. I feel very fortunate, however, in that I have seen people I truly admire as parents grow into the role of being a parent of adult children. I am encouraged by the camaraderie these moms have with their adult children, their way of caring without being intrusive or helicoptering-- it's lovely.

My son is five, so no, we don't have that sort of a relationship in the same way we might when he's 25. That said, I'm laying the foundation for that sort of relationship now: being honest, answering his questions when he has them in a simple way, trying to own my own emotions when conflict arises, listening a lot, doing simple things for him to show him I am paying attention and that I care. Letting him know that I like him and that I do very often enjoy his company. Finding out what he's interested in and participating in some of those things, even if it's just sitting and coloring a picture with him. I want to be like that comfy pair of sneakers for him when he's an adult-- someone he can trust, feel secure and accepted with, and who he can let his guard down with. That would be great.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

My relationship with my mom was a nightmare, much better since she died.

With my kids we have this thing, we reach out when we need, we reach back when someone is in need. I raised two great adults there, I let them be those adults.

Right now my daughter is working through her career choice. It is not what she expected and I told her it was not going to be what she expected. No I told you so, just what do you need. Mostly she wants food choices. :)

Yeah a lot of frustration and then what should I have for dinner.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My mom is awesome! My friends think she's the bombe, too. At this point, she's more like a friend than my mom, but a friend who offers unconditional love, guidance, and assistance. Of course, she's still my mom, and I'm still her daughter, so there are times we might annoy each other a bit. There are also certain boundaries of things we really don't discuss. But, I love spending time with her, talking to her and having her as my mom. That's definitely how I'd like my relationship with my daughter to be the same as my moms's is with me someday.

Last night I happened to see an email my mom sent to some of her friends about my daughter and me. In it, she told her friends that I was the most generous and compassionate person that she knows, and that she knows that I'm teaching my daughter well. I thought it was such a huge compliment to know that's what she says "behind my back," even though she says similar things to me directly too. It was validating for me.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Oh man, this is a can of worms. Without context, I will answer quite briefly:

I don't have the kind of relationship with my own mother I would have wanted. She's not that kind of person.

I want to have a friendly, loving relationship with my own kids when they are "adults" (I view that time as sometime close to or over 30 -- I know that the 20's are for exploration.) My kids are technically "adults," but all still too young to want to hang out with mom much -- they just got away from me. It's as it should be. If they were nerdily hanging out with me all the time, I'd want them to go find some friends their own age.

I think a mother's "role" should always be to be a bit of a mother -- kids have enough friends, but only one mother. I don't ever expect to be the exact equal of a "friend" to my kids.

I know that no matter how old I get, I have to work hard to maintain my own life, because my kids shouldn't be burdened with being my only social outlet, even if they adore me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

A mom, to me, "should" be like a best friend that you can trust with anything - one step beyond best friend. My MIL and my older sister are like this. This is the relationship I want to have with my child. My bio-mother, not so much. I don't and don't plan on having this type of relationship with her. 20 years ago I would have wanted it, but that dream died a long and somewhat painful (at first) death.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

To answer your questions:

1. Mother's role is to still guide but to be a consultant when asked. Don't give aor offer dvice.

2. I can't answer as my mom passed when I was 9. But she was a good role model and teacher. She instilled a lot of self-preservation in me and how to cope with things early on.

3. My children are adults and I treat them as adults. I speak to them in terms adults use. I don't go meddling into their affairs. You tell me when you want me to know something.

4. We have open communication. a) My son calls about once or twice a month as he is married with family and a high stress job. If he has a question he will call and ask for advice or how to make whatever. b) My daughter calls about every day or so. She told me when she was in high school that I was her "best friend" an honor I take very deeply.

When my children were little I told them that I would support them in what they did. I would NOT live my life through them (doctor, lawyer, ballerina parent dream). They have thanked on several occasions for being there for them and for backing them with support and encouragement. Did they fall down yes. But they learned how to pick themselves up and keep on going. Now my son has the experience and knowledge of how to deal with his son and the antics that he is trying with the "been there done that".

I hope these answers help you.

The other S.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think my role as a mom is to guide my children along when they ask my opinion on things. If not asked then my role is to emotionally support them and give them unconditional love. I'm older and wiser however they are entitled to make their own decisions and deal with the outcome. If it turns out poorly then it's my role to not say anything negative; just to help them pick up the pieces and move on.

My relationship with my own mom has kind of flipped to where I'm almost the parent of a teenager who is 75 yrs old. So my life has gotten easier with my own kids as they've grown and harder with my mom as she's grown. Ugh. Oh the problems of we the sandwich generation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

my mom is amazing :) as a kid/teen she was tough most of the time, fun sometimes too. now that i am an adult and a mom, she's my go-to for everything. my best friend, really. i have found she is funny, smart, has a great heart and always tries to do the right thing. i am thankful for her every day. without her i have NO idea how i would know how to be a mom! my hats off to all moms who didn't have a great role model. that makes those moms 2x the mom i am.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My relationship with my mother is good. She's never been the nurturing, hug you/kiss you type. I guess because maybe her mom was not like that with her. However, I am very physical and nurturing with my daughter. We're a hugging family, always say "I love you", etc. I would want this to continue as she got older.

When she's an adult, I still want her to be able to come to me as "mom" when she feels she needs to. I am not going to try and be her best friend, she has enough friends, but only one mother. I don't plan to govern her life when she's an adult (like I go now while she is age 14. LOL).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I have a fantastic relationship with my mom. I always have. We've always been extremely close and are best friends as well as mother and daughter. I live 2 states away but that hasn't changed a single thing. I hope one day to have the same type of relationship with my own children. My mom is not intruding and is always supportive even if she doesn't necessarily understand my stance as a mom or as a woman. We are very similar and yet of course very different people. I pray that I will be able to carry on that type of relationship with my own daughter.

I believe a mother's role never ends and in the life of grown children she should always still be there for her children and allow them to come to her as a mom when needed. Just because we all grow up does not mean we no longer need our mothers, or fathers for that matter. No matter how old I am I will always need mine in my life and I hope to be able to always have my children in mine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I have a great relationship with my mom. We get along, we can talk about mostly anything and I trust her. I feel that relationships are based on trust and respect. I get along with my mom so much more now than when I was a child---We both had alot of "heart work" to do as adults and once we healed some past trauma (not with us, but my childhood, her marriage etc) it was so much better.

1 mom found this helpful
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