I’m parenting a grown up and it can be a challenging path. Chloe has been driving a while but last week I got all tetchy in the car with her. I was telling her to watch this car and that. I knew I was doing it and was telling myself to stop but the words were still tumbling out.
We have also had an issue at school and I want to dive right in and have my say. I have (in no uncertain terms) been told to leave it. I have been told that I can raise my concern next week at her final (ever) parents evening. But I want my say now, I have the conversation in my head and I want to wade right in. Yet I am trying to respect how Chloe wants me to deal with things.
It is so hard parenting an adult!
There are things I want to say and now more than ever there are things that I want to protect her from but yet I realise I have to trust her. I have made and created this independent woman. I have to believe that I have done it well and given her the tools that she needs.
I have taught her resilence, I have taught her to speak her mind. I hope I have shown her what she is capable of and that I have empowered her to trust and believe in herself.
Yet it worries me because this world is still unfair. That this world still favors men, and that women have been taught to accept this inequality. That she needs to be on her guard on nights out because she is vulnerable. That everyday misogynistic behaviour is still commonplace. You only need to see and hear the stories coming from Hollywood, from the BBC and other sectors to know, that sexist behaviours are commonplace.
I quesstion whether I have taught her how to handle this. Given her the words she needs. Prepared her for adulthood.
I want Chloe to have equal pay in real terms, not to just dream of that in her daughters lifetime like I have. I want her to be able to wear what she wants and not judged for it. Even when that includes the see-through I top I wince at. Instead, I hear myself telling her to be careful when out, to make sure she stays safe.
I encourage her to text me to let me know she has got home. I listen for her key in the lock. The bedroom culture is still alive and kicking for girls. I wonder if I will be the same when Dyl is 18, will I worry that he is not safe, could be taken advantage of?
This past weekend I helped Chloe and her friends book their post A Level holiday. Another rite of passage. One I told her about years ago, it was me saying you will want to go on holiday with your friends. It was me saying it is the right thing and something she will want to do. It is booked, the accommodation a lower standard to what she is used to on our family holidays. She is excited and I am floundering. I popped on a brave face as I helped her research it. I remember my own post A Level holiday and smile.
On one hand I am helping her fly from our nest. The nest I have feathered for over 18 years, the one I built piece by piece. It has been my absolute doing for the past 18 years and now when it feels snuggly, warm and comfortable I am encouraging her to leave its safety and start collecting her own twigs and branches.
Parenting older teens is different. Not easier, different. The worries are different but I have to let her do it all.