Have I Taught Her Enough? Preparing my Child for Adulthood

Have I Taught Her Enough? Preparing my Child for Adulthood | Houston Moms Blog

I’ve been coping with the fact that my daughter will be graduating from high school in May in the healthiest of ways – denial. I could have happily continued this course of action, but my plans were foiled this week by the delivery of the dreaded graduation announcements. I remember when I placed that order back in the early Fall thinking, “We have a long time before this actually happens.” Well, the long time is up – this is happening.

It’s a very odd feeling when your first child prepares to become an official adult and leave the nest. Now, she isn’t flying off the day after she receives her diploma, but it’s coming. I am partly ready and partly scared to death. The days when her attitude is large and in charge I think, “Moving day can’t come any sooner”. A larger majority of the time, though, I am in a state of panic, thinking, “How did this happen so quickly? She was just a baby!”

She was my first big responsibility. It is because of her that I earned the title of “Mom” and received my first set of stretch marks. I give myself a big pat on the back for successfully keeping her alive for all these years. She fared so much better than that Tamagotchi baby I had in 1998. Then I stop and think, “Have I taught her enough?”.  

That question has kept me awake at night. I thought I was doing so well, passing down all of my wisdom to the next generation. Then, one day Shelby shared with me her realization that you do not always have to use a debit card, you can actually use cash to pay at a fast food drive-thru, and I quickly started making a list of things I want her to fully grasp before leaving my home.

Have I Taught Her Enough? Preparing my Child for Adulthood | Houston Moms Blog

How to Manage Money

Since I’ve clearly taught her how to always use a debit card while picking up a burger, I think it’s best to confirm that she truly knows the ramifications of spending more money than she makes. Does Shelby know how to budget out her paychecks,  so she can make her money last for longer than a week? Does she grasp the reality that mom is not here to float her a loan every time she needs a new pair of jeans? My husband, Matt, fears we haven’t done enough here and is trying to be the “good dad” and also “pay your insurance bill on time dad” and it’s rough. Better to be late now than when rent on her first apartment is due!

How to Keep a Job

Now, this is one place where I may have failed, since Shelby has only had her first job for seven months. It probably would have been wise to push her out into the employment world a bit sooner with babysitting and small jobs, but we can’t go back now. I do hope her work ethic is more apparent for her employer than it to her mother. Does she know that the best way to keep a job is to keep your commitments? You can’t go in promising your employer you will be on time, work hard, and then slothfully drag yourself in the door a month later. I am not saying she does this, but does she know that she shouldn’t?

The Basics

Shelby has one chore in our house; I know I’ve completely slacked. She is responsible for loading and unloading the dishwasher. And when the piles of laundry are so large that she can no longer see her bed, she does her own laundry. Though, I do wonder many days if she knows how to fold clothes.  Does she realize that she will need more than scrambled eggs and Ramen to survive? Does she know which products to use to clean a toilet? What about how not to mix cleaning supplies and how to read labels?

How to Deal with All Things Car

Having an uncle who owned an automotive repair business made me one lucky vehicle owner in my late teens and early twenties, but left me lacking so much knowledge. I want to confirm that Shelby knows where her spare tire is located, how to change a tire, and what do it if that spare tire is missing. Does she know what to do if she has car trouble on the highway? What if she gets into an accident and she is no longer living in my bubble? Does she know how to handle the situation without a parent there to mediate?

How to Be Safe

My mother was always the queen of driving home the “stay safe” message with true stories, like when she was almost abducted at the age of 21. Luckily, her beehive wig caused a distraction that allowed my mother to foil the creep’s plans. I started hearing that story as soon as I could drive, and it still reminds me to always lock my doors as soon as I am in my vehicle. Does Shelby know how to trust her gut? Does she know that there is usually always a reason when you feel scared or indifferent in a situation? Does she know how to leave a party that is going south, or how to successfully end a very bad date?

We are Always Here

I have a very lucky daughter. She has four parents {biological and step}. She has five sets of grandparents and countless extended family. All of these people love and adore her. They would also all go out of their way to help her. Does Shelby know that she can always ask for help?  Does she realize just how unconditionally she is loved? And that if she called any of her parents day or night that we would help her no matter the situation? Well, unless, the help she needs is buying a new pair of jeans because she spent all of her money in the drive-thru – that’s not the type of help I am talking about.

I will Always Be Her Mother

A mother’s job is never done. Hopefully, Shelby knows that I will always worry; it’s a hereditary trait passed down from my mother who got it from hers. Does she know that she needs to at least respond to my texts once a day {or maybe I’ll give her two days}? Doing this simple thing will keep her from having a panicked mom who shows up at her work or at her college to make sure she is alive. Does she know that no matter her age, I will always pray for her before I am able to fall asleep at night? Again, she was my first big responsibility, and the habits that have been instilled in me from being her mother will never easily go away.

This chapter is hard and I am not sure when it will get easier, but I have to remember that I haven’t done a horrible job parenting. Shelby is an amazing young woman and she has excelled in far more than I was able to at her age. She is going to be an awesome adult and it might just be pretty cool to be the mother of an adult.

Have I Taught Her Enough? Preparing my Child for Adulthood | Houston Moms Blog

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