Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Repost: When is parenting done?

I've contributed to the Orlando Sentinel's Moms at Work blog since 2010. The blog is changing content management systems and my old posts will no longer be available to the public, so I'm reposting them here, in the order that they were originally posted.

Sept. 21, 2011

The toddler in my household is determined to show at nearly every moment that she has a mind and will of her own, so at particularly frustrating moments, I sometimes find myself fantasizing idly about what I'll do with my time and life when I'm done parenting.

See, in my imagination, that's when my husband and I will get to travel widely again. We'll be able to sleep in late. We won't have to drive anybody anywhere. If I want to have popcorn and a glass of wine for dinner, I'll be able to do that without worrying about setting a bad example for anyone. We'll be able to while away an afternoon reading bestsellers, quilting or just generally enjoying life -- without interruption.

Again: in my imagination.

In reality, when I think about all my own parents still do for me, I recognize that parenting won't and can't end when kiddo goes away to college. In recent months, my mother or father has stepped in to care for my daughter when my husband and I were unexpectedly trapped by last-minute work obligations, helped overhaul my wardrobe, helped with spring cleaning at my home, been my cheering section when I needed a little extra support, provided valuable parenting advice and nagged me -- gently -- about taking better care of myself.

They're not parenting me the way they did when I was my daughter's age, but my folks definitely still occupy a unique position in my life. I guess a parent's work is never done.

Do you think there's a certain time when you won't have to parent your child? When will that be (or when was it)? What do you anticipate your role will be in your child's life at that point?

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