As I sit here debating on what I should write about as my very first post for the OC Mom Collective, my twenty-year-old son walks in from his bike ride. Firstly, I can’t believe that I actually have a twenty-year-old kid…. But I guess when you get married at twenty-two and have your first child at twenty-three, that is how that happens.
Secondly, I sat at my computer for about an hour whirling around ideas in my head on what topics to talk about. I thought about talking about my matchmaking services, and how much of a hit it’s taking now that I can’t have my clients meeting in person. Or how many lonely singles have called me lately wanting to talk about relationships. Or the fact that my couples are having a hard time now as well, especially the newly-formed couples.
But it turns out my son walked in at the perfect time because it started a conversation (and a small argument) about whether getting out of the house is smart during this COVID-19 pandemic, even if it’s just for a bike ride.
Like every other mother out there, I scan the blogs and read the news articles for updates on this virus.
I also read what every mother is posting on social media. We all have the same challenges right now: how to keep our kids safe, healthy, fed, and entertained so they don’t drive us and themselves mad!
And depending on the age of the child, there are various issues and subsequent challenges that arise.
I am watching my friends who have toddlers and very young children (from afar and through social media) as they navigate napping schedules, trying to take turns working from home while entertaining the little ones in between, worrying about their food supply, and keeping calm while going crazy on the inside.
But as I watch those whose children are older – teenagers and college-aged adults including my two sons (a freshman in high school and a sophomore in college) – I see a whole new set of problems and dilemmas.
Now that most schools have adapted to online curriculum, I find my high school freshman being incredibly busy during the week, and usually sitting in front of his computer most of the day.
I can’t tell you how much it bothers me that all of their curriculum is online!
I have never liked technology very much and am usually one of the last people to adapt to new things, especially computers, apps, and social media. So watching my son having to sit on the computer all day is frustrating for me.
He has developed a pretty good routine which includes multiple breaks throughout the day, doing his track and field workout in the back yard, giving his eyes a break, and relaxing with a Brooklyn 99 episode here and there. (We’ve already binged through The Office, Parks and Rec, Lost, etc). However, it still seems like way too much work to me.
With my twenty-year-old, there are other challenges involved.
Being that this is his last semester at Saddleback College, he is almost done with school before he officially leaves our nest for UC Santa Cruz late this summer (or so we hope). Although he is doing all his classwork on the computer too, it seems to be a lot less work than my honors student in high school. How can that be, you ask? No idea!
My challenge with the oldest is trying to keep him home and away from his friends.
I am sure I’m not the only parent going through this with a teenager or a college-aged child. Technically he is an adult, and we can only discipline him so much before he starts to remind us that he is in fact an adult.
According to him, we are “the only parents that get on their kids this much about staying away from friends.” I am a Russian Jewish mother, so he should be used to me being ‘on him’ for everything by now. We don’t know the difference between too much or too little as it pertains to our children.
It’s either Beverly Goldberg (from ABC’s The Goldbergs), or nothing.
Well, no that’s not true, it is always Beverly Goldberg. In other words, I am always smothering, but this pandemic has made me into a whole new level of smother….
My point is this, how much freedom can we give our adult children right now while they are living under our roof?
He states his case this way: they have been around each other for months now. They don’t go anywhere. They all stay home and occasionally go mountain biking together. It’s not violating any governmental rules or guidelines set forth by the CDC. Stop being Beverly Goldberg, mom.
None of the other parents are worried, so why should we be?
That logic seems reasonable, but it does not sit well with me. Especially after I wrote a long email and had many conversations with my clients about keeping their distance from potential mates. I even went as far as setting up virtual video dates for them so we can all try and flatten the curve.
Now my own son is defying my orders! It is hard to process and harder to deal with. All I can do is continue to show him the numbers, the scientific proof, and guidelines set in place by local government.
Or…I can just lock him in his room. Seems easier to me?!
I would love to hear from other parents of older children. Are you a Beverly Goldberg smothering your kids with love and concern?
Let us know how you are dealing with young adults wanting to socialize or continue spending time with friends. Stay safe and healthy!