How to Navigate the Challenging Space of Being a Momma of Young Adult Children

young adult children

Mommas of young and adult children,

Can I share a truth right now? Thank you for saying yes.

So here’s the thing. I’m a mom of three kids in their 20s. If you have young kids, you may think to yourself, “wow, how nice to be done with mothering and to have all that extra freedom and emotional space in your life.”

And I’d nod my head in agreement ever so slightly. But then I’d open my mouth like I am now and say, “Actually, this season of mothering is also HARD. Like real hard. As in, I’m drowning over here h.a.r.d.”

Then I’d walk away leaving you feeling confused and hopeless.

Not really.

Because talking about this ‘being a parent of bigs’  or adult children space is important. I dare to be vulnerable mostly because I want to put up the caution sign for those of you not here yet. Apparently I missed the memo about yellow lights flashing into an empty nest.

I also share because I need an outlet and I could use a warm cyber hug. Sigh.

This space where my used to be little ones are now my adult children is hard because:

You have to watch your kids fail and make poor choices

You have to see them suffer and learn from their mistakes that gosh darned, if they’d only done things differently, then…

You are often caught off guard by a left hook or a punch to the gut when they bring up all your parenting mistakes from the past as ammunition for their own mishaps.

Your faith is tested beyond measure because this stage really is the ultimate ‘let go, shut your mouth, only encourage’ season—which can feel impossible at times because our love for our kids can be unruly in its fierceness, especially when we can see bad things coming

The growing pains of finally letting go of our adult children and them racing into full blown independence are taxing for both sides. Stressful for the child who wants to believe in himself, feel confident and capable, and in control. Stressful for the parent who worries whether they’ve done enough to set their child up for success.

If you are an insecure mom like me who has made incredulous mistakes over the years, then the messy moments of this parenting season can take a toll. You can fall into the trap of feeling responsible for every bad thing your kid experiences—doubting all the choices you made or didn’t make. Wondering what could have been if this or that…

Such insecurity is fertile ground for disappointment. And disappointment makes way for spiritual warfare to unleash its fury.

Mommas, don’t let the lies that say you weren’t enough, didn’t love enough, didn’t do the right thing enough infiltrate your heart. If you love your kids and do your best, that’s what counts. We are all perfectly imperfect human beings. As our kids move into independence, we need to trust in what we’ve provided and let God take care of the rest.

Where we’ve fallen short, screwed up, and failed, God fills in the gaps and makes things new in our children’s lives. They’ll recognize this and reap the rewards of Gods guidance, instruction, and blessings in due time.

Until then, we continue loving and praying for the strength we need to be the best for our kids and ourselves going forward. To find a healthy balance. To believe all our effort and sacrifice mattered. To fall into the Grace we so desperately need and offer the same Grace to our kids in return.

We walked in a version of their shoes once upon a time. Someday they’ll fit their feet into a version of ours. Until then, we push forward until we find common ground, letting love lead the way.


To read more stuff about this wonderful and wacky motherhood gig, join the family at ©️ When you subscribe to *Grace Notes* you’ll get all kinds of love and some words sent to your inbox once a month. Be LOVE And if you are dealing with all kinds of momma emotions, you might like the book, “How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don’t need to say, ‘I’m fine.’)”

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Shelby Spear
Shelby is a sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and pro-LOVE, Jesus adoring mom of 3 Millennials writing stuff & doing life with her hubby of 25 years. You can read her stories on her blog at, around the web, and in print at Guideposts. Shelby's new book, co-authored with Lisa Leshaw, is now available: How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.")