No one I know feels "grown up". We're all 30, 40, even 50 and we're still waiting for the real grown ups to come along and sort us out. I can't help but wonder if our generation's weird fear of growing old has meant we don't want to grow up either. Remember my mother's wonderful quote? "Oh, Bronwyn, only your generation thinks that forty is young."
But while I'll confess to being well and truly in the perpetual-teen brigade sometimes, there are definitely areas of life where I think we could all use some maturing where it matters. Here are four things that really bug me about kidults.
What you look like isn't important and, please, have some respect
When conversation steers towards men making jokes about woman "letting themselves go" or when women spend longer than 30 seconds discussing the state of their thighs now versus their thighs ten years ago, I tune out completely. Not only do I not care what you look like, I also feel sort of sorry that you are still stuck thinking that appearance matters one single iota in a rich and full life. Don't you feel... stuck? I hoped we'd have much more interesting things to talk about these days and, just quietly, the fact that you're a man in his late-thirties making cracks about a woman's "rig" makes me worry a great deal about how your daughter is going to see herself in five years time.
Sometimes you have to do stuff you don't like because it's the right thing to do
Last week when a fellow school mum laughed at my commitment to things like the P+C, wondering why I'd want to spend a Tuesday night hanging out with a "bunch of nerdy parents" I walked away rather than punched her. But I should have punched her. We should go to things like the P+C because our school is a community which our children are a part of and therefore we are part of. Go because you respect the teachers and because you are interested in being a part the way they are structuring your kids' education. Go because the school needs parents to be actively involved and you are not the kind of person who thinks that others should pick up the slack. Go because you care about where the money you donate to the P+C is distributed around the school. Especially, it would seem, if the "nerdy parents" are the ones who would be making those decisions on your behalf...
Care about all kids, not just your own kids
Of course, you're going to care more about your own kids, but please still be on the lookout for all kids because their welfare is your concern too. You might look at me strangely at the playground because I'm the mum talking to any old child about waiting their turn and keeping hands and feet to ourselves, but I think it takes a village and that village sometimes needs a mayor. I will do maths and literacy groups in the classroom, I will serve your child at the canteen, I will teach her how to tie a bowline knot and how to be kind to others at the scout group. And, unlike the very vocal mother at the school gate last week, you bet I'll support the school academic, music, dance and sports extension programmes even though my kids might not be in them because I think it's important that a school offers that kind of opportunity to the kids who are.
Let go of the hurt
Just like my grown-up fridge, there is nothing in me that is past its due-date. I like to think that growing up allows us the freedom to no longer over-analyse the silly mistakes we made in the past, the wrongs that we didn't right and the rights we did so wrong. I figure that over the course of our lifetime, we've all got at least 100 rights to every wrong and that's got to be enough. Don't spend too long beating yourself up about things anymore, life happens as it happens and all you can really do is try to do better tomorrow. Trust that you're a good person, who means well and tries to do the right thing. Most of all, know that you don't need to hurt anyone, belittle anyone, judge anyone or demean anyone in order to feel good about yourself.
What part of you is all grown up?
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