Please Accept My Apology

Kara Gebhart Uhl, who blogs at Pleiades Bee, published a great piece a couple of weeks ago that resonated with thousands of readers. She issued an open apology to all parents she had judged so harshly during her child-free years.  I, like many of the 47,000 others who shared her post, had the proverbial been there, done that moment.  But as I hover at the mid-century mark of life I, too, feel the need to issue an apology to all women who crossed my path for the past five decades and in the quietest, never to be uttered part of my brain I thought, I would never dress like that, act like that, eat like that or treat my kids like that and, here is the kicker, if I were her age. Well here I am, officially her age, and now it all looks, well, so completely different.

So my apologies.

I humbly apologize to every woman over fifty, hell in my teens it was probably every woman over thirty, who wore a pair of tight jeans, looked great and yet my youthful self found fault. It’s not hard to look hot at fifty, it just may not look that way to a nineteen year old. This apology covers everyone who I silently accused of trying to dress like their daughter as well as those who didn’t look great in their jeans because we should all wear what makes us feel good and the onlookers be damned.

My feelings of contrition extend to every middle aged couple whose public displays of affection brought a contemptuous sneer from that black place in my brain. If you are lucky enough at life’s midpoint (or in fact at any point) to have someone who can’t take their eyes or hands off you then just remember when others whisper behind your back, it is the jealousy speaking.

Then there are those who I felt shouldn’t have another: fill in the blank. Another drink, another piece of cake, another husband. Who died and left me to be mom???  And where does that nasty voice come from?  It is those of us who truly know how to enjoy life who in the end have won the game. I am pretty sure there are no awards bestowed at the end for sanctimonious self control.

Finally, when I was the mother of young kids, I presumed that after eighteen, twenty, twenty-two (the target kept moving as my kids got closer) that our children no longer needed us.  I thought parents who were still helping kids after this point with money and other assistance were not doing them any favors.  It turns out that raising children is a much, much longer process than I once thought.  And I cannot tell you how glad I am that it is.

So please accept my apology. Life looks awfully different when it is half over and you hope the fun part, the great clothes, eat-what-you-want, discover romance again, part is just about to begin.

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Parenting from the Empty Nest
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12 Responses to Please Accept My Apology

  1. rin580 says:

    Absolutely love this—so true.

  2. bohemianspiritedmom says:

    great post. we all have that nasty voice that needs to be ignored. Sometimes I think the hardest part of being a woman is other women

    • Where does that voice come from? Thanks for reading.

      • Freedommuse says:

        That voice is a compiled “tape” of what your mind absorbed from ages 0-7, it’s not you and you don’t have to listen to it. My minister calls her’s Aunt Rose, and she thanks it for sharing and then it shuts up. I like Landmark Education’s term for it – “the already always talking”.

  3. I am much more accepting and forgiving at middle age, just like you. “Live and let live” is a great way to go about my day!

  4. I’ve found that everything is better at the half-century mark…well, most things; my knees are not. I am definitely wiser and more mature. I had to apologize to all mothers who use the tv as a babysitter…until my nephew stayed with me for a week. Suddenly, there was nothing wrong with letting the kid watch tv while I took a nap/read the newspaper/quieted my brain.

    Eleanore Wells, Author, The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree

  5. At 57, I realize I did the same thing.. and now I can’t imagine not thinking I’m sexy, vibrant and living life wisely. Your apology resonates. Thank you.
    Walker aka The Diva of Dating

  6. Teresa Cleveland Wendel says:

    My daughter just told me that my hair’s too long and curly for someone my age. Is that the jealousy speaking?

  7. bravo! i remember thinking the same thing about mothers of older children. wondering why they missed them so much, after all they were grown. now realizing that 2, 22 or 32, its all the same. your heart soars at their successes and aches when they struggle. first day of school, first day of college, first day of work-first days are first days. you still hope that someone will share a toy, sit with them at lunch, ask them to go out after work…

    • Amazing, how we don’t want them living with us forever, yet have a difficult time making the transition to encourage, and teach them how to SOAR! If we can do this, then we will soar higher then ever before. We will have our cake and eat it too!! Well, maybe not with our metabolism slowing down, but you know what i mean. “The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence”
      ― Denis Waitley

  8. dianabletter says:

    This was a great, honest post! Thanks for sharing it. I have learned that expressions like “I would never…” and “I will never…” should never be taken too seriously!
    I had a friend who did complain about my 4 kids — then under the age of 6 — and then apologized to me after she had kids of her own. We had to laugh. It’s great to be able to grow and change and not take ourselves — or our opinions — too seriously.
    Diana Bletter
    Author of the forthcoming memoir, The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle

  9. And how about judging our parents? How many of us said “I’m going to parent differently, better, smarter….?

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