An Open Thank You Note to Moms of Adult Children


Dear Moms of Adult Children,

Are you tempted to think that your time of influence has expired? Do you feel sidelined, as you watch your adult children play the game of life without your constant instruction and supervision?

Sometimes you watch your adult children take a swing at life and hit the ball out of the park! You couldn’t be more proud! Other times, you see them strike out, and you wonder if you should say something or casually pretend you didn’t see anything…

Do they care that you are still cheering them on from the stands? Does it mean anything to them that you are their greatest fans still to this day? I am here to assure you that it does matter, that you still matter, and your role as a mother has always and will always matter. Thank you for all you do! And here are a few things I want to tell you on behalf of all adult children who are blessed with moms who care…

1) Wow! You made it this far! There should be a trophy just for that…

There may have been bumps along the way. You may not have done everything perfectly. But, wow! If you are still loving on your adult children to this day, then you are really crushing it!

Most people in our adult social circles like us because we earned their favor. You are one of the only people who treats us with dignity and respect even after seeing the very worst of us. Of course other people think we’re quality individuals—we’ve never stained, ruined, or destroyed all of their possessions, ideals, and plans!

You, on the other hand, think highly of us even though we have made your lives miserable at times. Dirty diapers, terrible two’s, awkward phases, break-ups, rebellious stages—you saw it all! And regardless, you still choose to respect your adult children as capable, competent individuals. It’s quite impressive really! Your ability to forget the past and bounce back from our crazy stages and rebellious phases is truly remarkable! What can I say?! Miracles exist!

2) Thanks for loving us unconditionally, yet with ever-evolving methods…

Your love has been consistent yet so flexible, changing to meet the needs of individual children in their differing phases of life. Each time your kid grew up a little and entered the next phase of development, you committed to re-learning and re-discovering the best ways to express your love to them all over again, whether you felt ready or not. I can only imagine that this created a few difficulties, uncertainties, and inconveniences for you. So thank you! Thank you for a love so unwavering yet still deeply unique and individualized for each kid and each season of our lives.

3) No one can love us quite like you can…

I’ve always sensed that there is this God-given need inside of us all to be loved like a child—not belittled like a child, not treated like a child, but loved like a child. The only individuals who can really do this for us are God, dads, and moms. We all deeply desire to be loved and cherished by someone who is so familiar with our neediness yet somehow esteems us so highly. I think this is part of why losing a parent is so detrimental. This kind of love can’t be replaced. It is only found in glimpses through our earthly parents and in fullness through our Heavenly Father. So moms, so long as you are here with us, we will treasure being loved like this, whether we can recognize and articulate how much it means to us or not.

4) We still need you…

Just because we are grown, does not mean you have nothing more to contribute to our well-being. Just because we no longer depend on you, does not mean that we wish to live independent from your support, encouragement, and love. Your mission and calling as a mom and your time of influence over our lives did not expire when we turned eighteen and moved out. That being said…

5) You still have a role to play…

But wait, there’s more! You didn’t really think you could retire once we flew the coop, did you? Nope, the fun times continue!

But seriously, once you have mastered the dirty work of our adolescence, there is a sweet new dynamic to be discovered. The relationship is still there; it just looks completely different. You may no longer be the primary care-taker, but you can be a forever friend and mentor!

So long as you respect the freedom, boundaries, and individuality of your adult children, you both can enjoy a deeper measure of closeness. They still look up to you but now also can relate to you on a similar level. As an added bonus to this, they are likely to develop more compassion and empathy toward your imperfections and mistakes, because they are now in your shoes, facing the same choices, fighting the same battles. Congratulations, we are finally starting to get it!

So moms of adult children—whether or not your offspring are articulate enough or vulnerable enough to express it, your role as mom still really matters! Your influence still matters. Your support still matters. Your love still matters. You still matter to us! You always have and always will. Thank you for all of the sacrifices you’ve made and the prayers you’ve prayed so that we could make it to where we are today. As for this game of life, you are not just a fan in the stands; you are a real M.V.P.!

Much Love,
The Adult Child of a Mom Who Cares

Elizabeth Whitley
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