You probably clicked on this title thinking that you were going to read a rant about deadbeat moms or dads. While I think that legit deadbeat parents are the scum of the earth, I’m talking about a different category of parents—parents that plan to clock out at the age of 18 because their work is done.
This parenting attitude infuriates me if I think about it long enough. This may have been my skewed point of view, but my parents gave me this impression when I turned 18. I heard them joke about how they couldn’t wait until I left the house. I felt like it was my job to be a grown up and get on with it already to make their lives easier. Since then, my mom and I have come a long way to repair our relationship, and I feel welcomed and wanted by her again.
I’ve read on other Mommyish topics that some grandparents aren’t a fan of young children, specifically babies and toddlers. While that’s certainly their prerogative, and perhaps this could be communicated to the parents of young children in a healthy way to avoid a fight, I don’t like it one bit.
The moment I had kids, I knew I was signing up for a lifetime of service. I feel really, really passionate about this because of the childhood issues I described—for whatever reason, I felt unwanted. I have made a promise to myself that my kids and their grandkids will never feel like I did.
I suppose I understand that parents may want some time to themselves after their kids leave the nest, but I don’t think it is acceptable to expect your kid to move out the moment they turn 18. I suppose some grandparents feel like they have already done “baby duty,” but these grandparents need to realize that grandchildren are part of their lifelong commitment to parenting.
For new and prospective parents planning for the next 18 years, please don’t stop there. Parenting is forever. No matter how old your kid gets, they’ll still be your kid, and they’ll still need you to be their parent. Grandkids are part of the parenting package.
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