Wednesday, April 13, 2022

ABC Post 10--How To Be A Fantastic Mom Of Adults

In this crazy modern world, I don’t know much about anything--succulents, deconstruction, collagen, Kingdom Christians, or Instagram reels. If you're my age, you probably feel a bit lost too.

But! There is one subject on which I speak with authority born of vast experience: how to be a mom to a bunch of adult children in their 20s and 30s. I have six of them, you know, and one daughter-in-law.

So, listen up! Here are 21 easy steps to becoming an amazing and unforgettable mom of adults and making them your best friends for life.

1.       Learn the vocabulary of young people. Tell them a situation looked pretty “suss.” Or “sketchamundo.” Or “lit.” Find TikTok on your phone and learn a popular little song, maybe a “sea shanty.” Use these words and sing that song as often as possible…for the next twenty years, like you still quote lines and songs from Jungle Jam and Phineas & Ferb—“When will he calllll me? How long is soon??” Also, say the letters L-O-L when something is extra funny. It means so much to adult kids when you try to speak their heart language.

2.       In addition, keep using cute words your children used when they were toddlers. Say “gackers” for “crackers” and “pudda budda” for “peanut butter.” Your kids will feel so special, especially if you do this in front of their grad school friends. Bonus points if you say “putter” for, you know, “passing gas.”

3.       Take lots of pictures and videos of your children when they’re around—at the table, talking, singing, hiking, everything. Post them online or share them with your sisters without letting the kids see them first. Don’t worry, they won’t mind. Also, write updates about them and post them on Facebook, especially if they start dating or for sure if they lose their job—just sharing a prayer concern, you know.

4.       Pump your kids for information. You want to know because you love them. Get tears in your eyes. Why can’t they be like their cousin Hannah? Your sister-in-law Arlene says Hannah tells her everything, like they’re best friends. Call your kids’ friends for information, or even their boss.  You’re just concerned, that’s all. If your college son visits your sister over Thanksgiving, call her after he leaves. Did he say where he’s going to church? Did he mention any girls?

5.       Pick up pretty and useful things for your children at garage sales—citrus juicers and mauve sweaters and The Prayer of Jabez. They will protest, of course, and tell you that they have a small apartment, and they’re Minimalist now. Press The Prayer of Jabez into their hands. “See? You need to ask God to expand your territory and get you into a house. With a nice husband.”

6.       Take on projects that are way too big to do by yourself. Put a big quilt in frame, pile up the living room furniture and start painting the walls, invite your Sunday School class of Primaries over for Sunday dinner and games. When you’re overwhelmed, ask your adult children to help. If they protest that they had other plans, use your Mom voice. “Seriously, you say you’re all into missions and you can’t give up an hour to play kickball with little kids?” Sigh. “Oh thank you, I knew I could count on you!”

7.       Drop lots of hints about dating, getting married, and having babies. They might never get it done if you don’t remind them. Casually mention your friend Anne’s nice son and how well he takes care of his mom. Buy a cute little outfit for your niece’s baby and send a picture of it on the family chat. Remind your daughter sadly of all the guys she turned down. "That short guy from Indiana was so nice." Go online and stalk anyone your children mention in conversation who sounds like a Potential. “Like” their pictures from three years ago. Accidentally send them a friend request. Figure out if you know their mom.

8.       Complain to your children about their dad. Kids love to feel like they’re getting the “deets” [see #1] on your marriage. They want to know all about your husband’s snoring and how annoyed he gets when you move his bottle of Tums off the nightstand. Confide in them how he spends his money and how he hurt your feelings when he told everyone at prayer meeting that it was your fault you were late. Adult kids appreciate this deep connection with their parents.

9.       Keep up the family traditions at all costs. Always hold hands around the table to ask the blessing before dinner, especially if they bring home an awkward new boyfriend. Even more importantly, remind them of multi-generational obligations. “You can’t go hiking that weekend. You know very well we always go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner, and then we rake up all the leaves in her yard.” “You can’t go teach in Africa! This farm has been in the family for six generations, and you’re our only son!”

10.   Refuse to learn newfangled ways of communicating. My goodness, they can pick up the telephone and call you. In your day, you had to write letters and send them in the mail. Eventually, tell them that, ok, fine, you’re coming around. Call them twice a week for at least four weeks and ask them to show you how to use WhatsApp. Use all the wrong terms, frown a lot, and stab at your phone with one long determined forefinger. Accidentally log out of WhatsApp. Forget your password. Talk with them on your husband's phone, on speakerphone, while you try to figure out yours.

11.   Let them know that they are still your whole life. You don’t have any other friends. Do they have time to go shopping this week? No? Oh, but you’ve been so lonely, and you’d love to go shopping. Also, make them feel guilty for moving away from home. “I’m so exhausted. I had to trim the roses today. I guess that always used to be your job.” Sigh. “I’ll be fine, really, after I get a night’s sleep.”

12.   Impress your kids with your successes. Let them know how many "likes" your dahlia pictures got on Instagram and how many windows you washed in one day. Tell them who raved about your chocolate cake at the potluck and who asked you to sew their bridesmaid dresses. They’ll be so proud, they’ll tell all their friends about you. You are just that amazing.

13.   Act surprised when they complete adult tasks. “Oh wow, you baked bread? My baby girl!” Maybe they applied for a job or bought a plane ticket. “Awwww, look at you! I’m so proud of you!” If they’re living at home, take a picture to commemorate the occasion.

14.   Your kids are so busy with school and work, so do stuff to help them. Go in their bedrooms and gather all their laundry. “Oh, it’s no problem. I only had half a load of darks.” Fold everything neatly and lay it on their bed. Expect them to help you make dinner in return. Don’t say this in so many words, but hint meaningfully.

15.   Research all your children’s health issues and send them care packages with pills, oils, powders, infusions, tinctures, teas, and pages of instructions and recipes. Keep asking them if the potions are working. If not, send more. Call them up and urge them to crawl under their house with a flashlight and check for mold.

16.   Use the word “honor” a lot, especially if they make choices you don’t like--church, dating, career, clothes, money. “The Bible says to honor your parents, you know.” Sigh. Look sad. “I guess you don’t want to live very long then.”

17.   When you need the Crock Pot moved to a high shelf or the stepladder set up on the porch, always announce in a loud voice that you need a big strong guy to do a job. Your adult sons will be flattered and delighted to volunteer, just like when they were eight or ten years old.

18.   Make sure you fly into a complete panic if they hint any deviation from the religious and political beliefs they were raised with. Maybe they were raised in Eugene, and they complain about how much bother it is to recycle paper and tin cans in Texas. Maybe they were raised Mennonite, and you catch them admiring the jewelry display at Goodwill. Or you homeschooled them, and they tell you they're buying a house in a really good school district. Let them know that thinking about these things is just as bad as doing them. Eyebrows up, mouth in an O, loud gasp, and tears in your eyes. You’ve got this. They’ll thank you someday

19.   Keep all the stuff in your house for your children to sort and put to good use after you die, like your mom’s Amish bonnet, lots of sour cream containers, and the seashell from the trip to the beach in 1998 when their dad accidentally stole the pillows at the motel. Keep the hundreds of old letters, and all the books. They’ll want to touch and read it all someday, for sentiment’s sake. It’s going to mean the world to them, when you’re gone.

20.   Keep them up to date on all their high school classmates and cousins. Emphasize all the engagements, new babies, and new houses. Let them know how often their cousins come home to visit, and isn’t that thoughtful of them? Also, update them regularly on everything at church—the “sketch” [see #1] theology in last Sunday’s sermon, the mistakes in the bulletin, which woman didn’t say hello to you in the bathroom, Esther’s gallbladder surgery, and who didn’t show up for communion.  

21.   Worry about your kids. Call them late at night. “Oh, you’re home? I hadn’t heard from you in a few days and wanted to make sure you weren’t upside down in a ditch somewhere.“ “You looked so sad in that picture somebody posted of your lab group. Are you ok? Are you sure? You can talk to me about anything, you know, even if you’re pregnant. Or depressed. I promise I won’t have a conniption.” Pour a cup of tea, my friend, because they’re about to tell you everything!


See? That’s it! Having a wonderful relationship with your adult children is that easy! If I can excel at these, then so can you!

You’re doing great!


  1. This is priceless!! (ROFL) Anyone with adult children will completely get it!!

  2. I can so relate to these! Honestly, your sense of humor is delightful.

  3. "Press 'The Prayer of Jabez' into their hands" nearly took me out. Now I'd love to hear your young adults' version of life with cool aging parents. πŸ˜†

  4. Haha, but I want the real article now though! I bet you have some wonderful insights!

    1. I agree! Give us the real deets, Aunt Dorcas!

  5. Oh Dorcas, what a wonderful post, I'm forwarding this to my adult children! They just don't seem to accept a lot of these things so it would be nice for them to see that Aunt Dorcas is on the same page, maybe that will fix all the tension between us.

  6. I thought the title sounded suss. :D Thanks for the laugh!

  7. Priceless! You got me started L-O-L-ing (legit!) with your "Prayer of Jabez" bit!

  8. Oh, my! You hit the mail on the head here! I’m feeling like I am the PERFECT parent of adult kids because I’m doing everything right! πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

  9. The bad news was rolling in so I decided to escape via the computer. Oh my! I had to laugh so hard at these. I don't think I can live up to the expectations of my adult children. Thank you so much for lifting my spirits.

  10. This is hilarious! Sending this to several friends :)

  11. As a twenty something living at home, you really hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, my mom is not quite following all of the steps you've outlined!!! 🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣

  12. This is hilarious. Thanks for the laughs!

  13. I loved this Dorcas especially number 1. I can't even keep up with all these newfangled words and if your family is mixed ethinic background that's a whole other story! Like when I was a kid the word "dope" met illegal drugs. Now it means "awesome" or "good" or something of that nature. When I joined Instagram I felt like I was in a foreign land trying b to learn all these phrases the younger generation was using.😯

  14. I think think there was a typo in my last comment. I hit "b" instead of the space bar which I seem to do alot.

  15. LOL. And also feeling convicted. . .