This idea of sharing between generations in this Mileposts blog goes both ways. I’ve learned a lot from my son and daughter, their friends, and my younger co-workers. For example, I would not have realized what mom-jeans were without the fashion advice of my then-teenage daughter.
She could not wait to take me shopping, and yes, she picked out things I never, ever would have selected for myself. And that was kind of the point. There was a period in my life when I thought comfort and fashion were simply incompatible, and I chose comfort. No, I never went all out Birkenstocks (and no judgment here if you do), but I was a stone’s throw from being mistaken for a refugee from a time machine that was permanently set to the 70s. Hopefully, I exaggerate, but probably not. I’ll let you judge for yourself. This is my sister and I in matching mullet hair-dos in the mid-1980s. I’m pretty sure I’m sporting mom-jeans, but fortunately, I’m sitting down and it’s hard to tell.
It can be humbling to take advice or to learn from those who are younger, or perhaps newer to something than we are. Sometimes, though, those fresh eyes see things we miss.
When I first heard about Meetups, I thought the idea was absurd. Show up to do something with a bunch of strangers? Possibly show up by myself? But with encouragement, I gave it a go. The first one was not horrible, but it I didn’t return or make any future friends. Still, I broke the ice for myself, and got a little more discerning about selecting groups. And today some of my best friends are people I met through Meetup. We even started one at work, for social events outside of work.
My friends and I have probably made the most strides in our workouts and nutrition advances from our adult kids, too. Understanding that whole “eat less, move more” or “abs are made in the kitchen more so than in the gym” was the beginning of truly life-changing habits for how and what I eat, as well as how I approach fitness.
I think it helps any relationship to have give and receive like I’ve described. No one has all the answers, and most of us appreciate when someone wants to tap into something we seem to have a handle on.
All this sharing is great, but I’ll offer a word of caution if you’re a single mother wanting to talk to your daughter about dating. There is still a bit of an “ewww” factor from your daughter’s perspective if you cross a certain line. You’ll figure it out, but you might want to dip your toe in before forging ahead with dating fun-facts or questions.
The same applies to mothers and daughters doing things together. Most relationships take a bit of negotiating. How much belongingness and how much aloneness do we each want? There’s nothing wrong with anyone who prefers either circumstance. I’d avoid words like smothering when the other one wants more together time. And I’d avoid labeling someone antisocial or a loner if they require more solitude than you. Our past creates a lot of patterns and habits that make us who we are. We react automatically, sometimes, to familiar behaviors that used to mean something, and may not mean the same thing in this time and place. It’s a good idea to check in when you’re feeling overwhelmed by togetherness or abandoned by alone time. It may not be what you think. It usually is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” Really, though.