Mothering – It’s Nothing Personal

“Mothering, it’s nothing personal”, I mumble under my breath as my son rolls his eyes at a question I just asked. Maybe I already asked him this question, or maybe he’s just not in the mood?

I’ve written about this mothering thing before.


After a hard few hours of cleaning offices (my day/night job), I walked into the kitchen and saw my adult child. I don’t believe I’ve seen him today, I thought to myself, so maybe I should engage him in conversation. But then again maybe not. He answered but I heard the tone that says I really don’t want to be bothered right now…by you.

I walked to the garage to get my cleaning equipment out of the trunk of my car and said to myself (aloud), “It’s nothing personal. He really didn’t mean to be snippy. He’s tired too and doesn’t want to be bothered… right now…by me.”

Have you been there?

Do you have an adult or soon-to-be adult child (better known as teenagers) living in YOUR house?

I mean it when I say it’s nothing personal because it’s not really about me the person anymore than it’s about you. It’s more about me the mother, so it’s nothing personal.

Before we become mothers, or even while our kids are small, we have such aspirations of how we will parent. We read the books and decide if we want to be go the “attached parenting” route, or have a more traditional  mode of raising our kids. We do our research and a bit of soul-searching and discover our true parenting identities. Life will be good and this parenting thing? No worries, I got this. Oh, the folly!

We oftentimes take the approach that we’ll do what our parents did when raising us – only better.

Or, if our childhood was particularly unhealthy and dysfunctional, we’ll just do everything the opposite of how we were raised. Botta bing, botta boom, no sweat.

Or maybe we even choose a more middle of the road attitude in our parenting style, or perhaps we just wing it as we go along our merry way.

I’m not saying there’s any one way to parent. In fact, quite the opposite may be true. People are individuals with likes and dislikes all their own. Mix that up with the different temperaments and attitudes we come into the world with and BAM!

There is no one size fits all manual when it comes to raising kids.

As much as we say our kids will never_____(you can fill in the blank with whatever you want), or we will have this ultimate, close relationship with our children, or whatever; what it comes down to is kids are kids and they’re going to roll their eyes at you every now and then and/or use the tone, even if you do have a great relationship.

I know these things are true and no matter how many stories I tell of how cool I was back in the day, they just don’t care. Still they roll their eyes and use the tone.

This mothering thing…it’s not for the faint of heart or one without thick skin.

Mothering is a very personal thing. We spend our lives, minutes, hours and days to make sure our kids grow into healthy functional, joyous human adults. We pour and invest ourselves into these little people for many, many years, even before they enter the world.

Mothering is very personal.

The next time your kid pulls the tone on you or rolls their eyes, just tell yourself it’s nothing personal.

When in fact, it’s the most personal thing in the world.


3 thoughts on “Mothering – It’s Nothing Personal”

  1. I think it transcends “personal” as they grow into their own lives and space. Then, you can be friends by choice.

  2. The transition between childhood to adulthood and the move from active mothering to being a friend to your adult child is a long process, and for me, mother to three grown children, it has been a painful and very uncertain time. They are pushing away, no longer interested in being part of family time and everything “out there” is so exciting and new, while you are left thinking about what you did to make them want to leave so quickly? This is just the way it works, although I believe in earlier cultures there was not so much rudeness involved. There was not “the college experience” awaiting them; many worked in a family business and gradually took on their role as an adult participant in the business, and there was just more identification with the family of origin even as children became adults. People lived close to their families after they married and kept in touch more often. The norm was small communities than large cities. I am sure it held some pain for mothers even then, but not as much pain as we might experience today. When mine were leaving, I was told not to take it personally, but in my heart it hurt. Thankfully, it is better now, but I can still feel a tug at my heart when they are leaving or when the house is too quiet. We can have lots of lunches or dinners as you go through this stage of life!


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