When Your Adult Children Don’t “Get” Your Jokes Anymore

I am reaching the age now when I should be careful how I joke. I’ve always been told I have a great sense of humor and I know I have a dry wit. I’ve made jokes with my kids all their lives. Suddenly every joke I make is met with a look like they don’t realize it’s a JOKE, and they wonder if I know what I’m saying.

It started several years ago when I had a good job, but quit it to go to grad school. I had my children in my thirties so you do the math . . . about how old I was . . . when two of them came home from college for Christmas and I announced at the end of the school year (I was teaching) . . . in late May or early June, I was quitting my job, moving to the beach and going to grad school. Oh, the look that passed between those two college kids of mine was priceless. It got even worse when I said their baby brother was happy about it. . . yeah? Their baby brother was fifteen years old! What did he know? And there went that look again.

Well, I did quit my job, moved and had two of the best years of my life going to grad school full time and living at the beach. My baby boy and I both graduated the same year. Him from high school and me from UNCW. I didn’t think to notify the newspaper, but a few years later, I saw a story about a mother and son who had done basically the same thing – one graduated from high school while the other got a college degree the same year.

Tonight my oldest came by for a surprise visit. I didn’t even know she was in the area until I took the dog out and there was her car! Oh, what a nice surprise! We went out to dinner and as we left the restaurant and she began complaining about having to go to work tomorrow . . . I said for her to call her boss and tell him she’d come to see me and I was sick and she had to stay a day or two! She looked at me and said she’d need a doctor’s note. Well, I suggested Dr. Mike would be glad to write one. Oh, no . . . there went that look again. Dr. Mike is our vet. She told me that. With that look in her eyes, she said, “Mom, Dr. Mike is a veterinarian”. Yeah, I know that.

At a certain age, I guess the joking has to stop, but I don’t think I can quit kidding around with my adult children. I enjoy their company and when they’re around, I’m almost giddy.

My baby boy lives in China now. We skype from time to time. When I tell him about how his brothers are worried about my mental capacities, he said they’re worried about Alzheimers. Yeah? Well, that will bother them more than it bothers me. (I’ve helped care for an Alzheimers patient. She seemed far less concerned about her condition than her family was.) My youngest laughed when I told him that. Well, that time I wasn’t kidding.

I guess as long as I know they think I’ve lost my mind, it’s safe to say I haven’t.



Mothers are depicted on TV as bothersome creatures whose mere existence torments their adult children.

Mothers are viewed as doddering old creatures out of touch with the reality of today’s society and having little use, except to be a nuisance.

One thing about mothers . . . once you’ve become an adult, your mother has lived long enough to study and be hurt by and to see dangers and delights in society that you haven’t discovered yet. They can save you some pain and trouble, and that’s what many mothers are tryinig to do.

If your mother says you work too long and too hard, chances are you do. Hard work and long hours are often regretted in subsequent years.

If your mother says you’re not eating right or not taking care of your health, teeth, body . . . you probably are guilty of those things as well.

Perhaps adult children resent their mothers because they realize there are still some things they don’t know. Or perhaps their mother’s views contradict the current beliefs of their peers and society?

Whatever the reason you may choose to shun your mother, remember this . . . IF your mother was supportive of you and cheered you on, if she tried (even though at times may have failed) to help you as you grew up . . . she still has your best interests at heart and only wants the best for you.

Calculate how many days? hours? minutes? you give to your mother each year . . . she’s keeping up with it. She may never say a word about feeling neglected, but her heart acknowledges it and she will become more reluctant to say or do anything for fear of causing you to spend less time with her.

If you love your mother, however distasteful the thought of spending time with her, you might want to do it anyway. “Time waits for no man”  (first appeared about 1395 in Chaucer’s Prologue to the Clerk’s Tale). It won’t wait until it’s a convenient time to spend time with your mother. If you’re waiting for her to change, chances are that’s not going to happen either. Take her or leave her while you can. I just hope you don’t regret your choice later.



Motherhood has not turned out to be the wonderful experience I expected. I wonder how everyone else is enjoying their role as “Mother”?

I sacrificed so much for my three children. I don’t know if they don’t realize what I went through and what I did to help them, or if they are just callous people who don’t really give a damn?

If you want to come see me, so you say, and I say I will be home every day except Tuesday or Thursday, why would you choose Tuesday to come by?

If you come into my house, why would you ask if you could have this, that or the other because a friend you are staying with, who doesn’t like me (and the feeling is mutual) might want it? No. You cannot have it, and she can buy it for herself, if she wants one.

Why do adult children pop in and pop out so quickly? Why do they even bother to come by, especially at times you’ve said you won’t be home?

Am I the only mother who feels used by her children?

I was delighted when I found out I was pregnant . . . all three times. I see posts on facebook by other mothers of young children who seem so happy to be mothers. Does the feeling wear off? I’ve always been happy to have children. It was what I wanted most in life.

I am a little under the weather and feeling bad, sad and unhappy and just plain sick. That may be why I’m wondering if I died, would my kids come by, even though I’m no longer here, and take the things they want now, but that I refuse to give them?

Would the one in Asia waste money on a plane ticket home? What’s there to come home to, once I’m gone, but my things?

I’m a senior citizen now, but I’m still trying new things. I have a youtube channel. I don’t think they watch my  videos, but they do tell me I should make one a week. I told my oldest today that several people have asked me to make a video of my cat playing the piano. He just said, “Really?” like he didn’t believe me.

I used to be able to do no wrong in their eyes. Now I can do no right. Or it’s only if I do the things they want me to do that it’s “right”. One wants me to take the old car he lent me a couple years ago (I finally got myself another car last September) to be inspected. Oh, and the taxes on it are due . . . Why is that my problem? I’ve had my own car for almost six months. Why is what his old car now needs my responsibility? I told him the freeze plug was leaking again. I don’t want to drive it in that condition to have it inspected. He doubts the freeze plug ever was leaking and thinks the mechanic ripped me off the two times I’ve had it repaired in the past few years. I don’t. I’ve had a leaking freeze plug with a car before, and I saw his car leak and then not leak after it was fixed. The change in weather seems to cause problems with the coolant leaking.

It’s an old car – 1995 Ford Escort Station Wagon. I wish he’d sell it. I was glad to get it, although I had to pay $1200 for the repair that got it driveable from halfway across the state. I’ve spent a lot of money on it keeping it running while I had it.

How much is too much to do when your children are grown? I know other mothers who still buy furniture and appliances to help their adult children.

How do other mothers feel about their adult children? If you are a mother of adult children, how about leaving a reply? I seriously want to know if anyone else feels like I do?


Helicopter No More

I was probably what would be described as a “Helicopter Parent” to my three children. It left me exhausted many days.

I think, no matter what I did when they were young, they were determined to find their own ways.

That’s what has happened now.

They’ve scattered and I seldom get asked for help or advice.

The helicopter engine has been turned off.

I’m resting and accepting what is and what will be, without flying over it.


Adult Children

It’s an oxymoron, isn’t it? Adult Children.

Adult children are people who are in your life that you’ve nurtured and cared for since before they were born.

When they were teens, you expected the rebellion and the non-belief of things you’d tell them.

As “adult children”, you are not prepared for the skepticism and lack of respect for your view on anything in the world.

You can only hope that by the tmie they appreciate your wisdom and advice, that you are still around to give it.


Perks of Being Older

There are many perks of being older. The older I get, the more I notice.

One of the best perks of being my age is that my children are grown and are making their own path through life. I never had definite wishes for my children. I just wanted each of them to be happy. I wanted them to discover their own talents and make their own marks on the world.

None of them have taken straight paths. None of them have taken the same path. They keep me feeling young and they keep life interesting.

All of my sons have gone to college. One went to Western Carolina University. Although I’d lived in North Carolina my whole life, I had never been to the NC mountains until I drove him to Western. I made several trips back over the next four years. Another son went to NC State University. He went because he wanted to be an Engineer and NC State was said to have the best engineering program in the state. He graduated and while there also picked up a degree in Psychology. My third son went to Western Carolina University, East Carolina University and Hiroshima University. He has spent much of his adult life in Asia. I’ve gotten to see Asian countries through his eyes. Yesterday was the first day of the Chinese New Year. I have more appreciation for the celebration as he has shared with me over the years what an important and special celebration this two week long festival is for Chinese people.

Now my sons are in their late twenties/early thirties and they are looking at where they are, where they have been and where they want to go. None are married or have children and they can focus on themselves.

I am in the same situation. I’m no longer married (thank you, God!) and I have no small children to take care of. My teaching career, as it was, has ended. I am free to explore whatever interests me. I’m looking at writing, making youtube videos, and traveling. As I try to work on all my interests, I also often go to my adult children for their help and advice. I’ve been told that for my age, I am very computer savvy. This comes in part, I know, from working in a Magnet School of Technology in Durham NC for seven years, but it also comes from having sons who grew up in the new, scary technological environment, and who took time to teach Mom along the way about how technology works and how to use it.

So, if your nest is emptying and your tears are threatening, just remember that the best is yet to come. When your children “leave the nest”, they return with very interesting experiences and ideas to share. It’s one of the perks of being older. All the time and energy you poured into your children pays off and you get to see the rewards.