[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have author Liz Talley guest posting on the site today! She has some adulting tips that your mother may have forgotten. Take it away, Liz!]
I know. You’re reading this and thinking “I don’t need to read this because everyone knows that you learn to adult by falling down, dusting off your britches, and getting back up again. Experience is the greatest teacher, and no mother can’t do that for their child.”
You’re a smart cookie but keep reading anyway…
Because I’m a mother and I said so.
So the first thing you need to know and won’t possibly understand until you have your own angel is that while you find adulting tedious, your mother finds it excruciating. Because once upon a time, you needed her. She powdered your little bottom, worried over every fever, and tried hard not to lick her finger and rub that chocolate off your mouth in front of your friends. But the onus of your care was on her, and she was made for that crap. It was the job she accepted the moment they flopped you onto her stomach and you took your first breath. So sending you off to college, military, or real life is like watching you walk the green mile. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but just know that no matter how much she smiles and says she’s fine, inside she’s screaming “NOOOOO!”
Does that appall you? Well, good. It’s true, so give her a break if she does nutty things like check your location on Life 360 every hour …or send you constant care packages …or check that you’ve taken your antibiotic …and that you’re washing your face.
STILL, ultimately, you were made to fly solo.
And she knows this.
But being on your own, remembering to pay your car insurance, and make your yearly optometry appointment can be daunting. It’s doable. You can do it. But there are a few things that, as you navigate filling out W-2s and figure out what that light on your dashboard means, your mama didn’t tell you.
- Adulting is harder than it looks. You probably know this by now. At first it’s all dirty dishes on the floor and sleeping until noon. Maybe it’s tequila shots and eating Ho Hos for dinner. But eventually the roaches show up and the booze comes back to haunt you. And you get late notices, you forget to pay your car insurance, and that credit card minimum payment doesn’t look so minimum. Prepare to suffer through mistakes. You’re going to make them.
- Your mother failed, too. She just doesn’t like to talk about it. But no matter how much she professed that she was able to pay her water bill on time by walking uphill eight miles in the snow, she missed a payment or two. And suffered the consequences.
- Wearing someone else’s shoes requires BAND-AIDs. You’ll get blisters (and maybe empathy) when you decide to walk in someone else’s shoes. But do it anyway. It will build your character and your compassion.
- You’re going to be disappointed …a lot. When you were a child, you faced disappointment, but there were these beings who did things like make you pancakes and give you pep talks. Sometimes when you’re on your own, you bear your disappointments alone. And there will be lots of them. Just take comfort that everyone else faces disappointments, too. And you have a phone. Use it to call someone who can help you work through things. Like your mother.
- You’re going to miss your room. Not to borrow from the Beach Boys, but there’s lots of comfort in the smell of your sheets, the old lamp with the wonky shade, the goofy pictures of you in high school or the first place ribbon for freestyle. This was the place you cried over a broken heart, jammed to music you wouldn’t be caught dead listening to now, and the grounding during which you dreamed of all the ways you’d get revenge on your parents. It’s the cocoon that prepared you for the sharp edges of the world.
- You’ll never be able to fold a fitted sheet properly. I know there are YouTube videos. But it’s totally okay to just sort of ball it up, press it down, and hide it under the neatly folded top sheet. Hey, pick your battles.
- Credit cards – they’re so easy. And that crippling interest will sneak up on you like a ninja. Know that without much credit (or bad credit), your interest rates will be higher than people with good credit. Compare credit cards before you take one. And those pay day loan places? Run. Run very, very fast. I’m sensing your mother probably DID tell you this, but building good credit will help you buy a house, secure a loan for a business, and start your financial future on a firm foundation. It just bears repeating.
- That red button on electrical outlet is a GFI reset button. You can’t reset your life as easily, but you can continue to blow dry your hair.
- Thank you notes matter. Taking time to make others feel they matter by a simple note dropped into the mail goes a long way to show your character. Good manners never go out of style. You don’t have to have fancy stationary or a monogram. Just sincerity.
- You’re going to miss your mother when she’s no longer there. My kids like to call this my “manipulative guilt technique” to get them to family functions. But when I asked my older friends the question “What did your mother forget to tell you about being an adult,” the one that bruised my heart was “They never tell you how much you’re going to miss them when they’re gone.” And that’s not guilt talking. That’s the truth. So call your mother. Send her a card. Buy her a pot of tulips (you know we love tulips.)
Of course there are many other useful tips for adulting that can be tossed around – hey, I’m still learning myself. Challenges and roadblocks aren’t just for those right out of the gate. I still wad up that bottom bedsheet, and my style of loading the dishwasher is a bone of contention. We could narrow down things your mother didn’t tell you about being an adult to the business world or relationships or just household chores. There’s just too much to cover. So why don’t you share with me some of the things your mother (or father – let’s not leave them out) didn’t tell you about adulting. I’m interested…
About the Author:
USA Today best-selling author Liz Talley loves staying home in her jammies and writing emotional women’s fiction and romance. Liz has published thirty books, reaching number one in kindle romance. Her stories are set in the South where the tea is sweet, the summers are hot, and the porches are wide. Liz lives in Louisiana with her childhood sweetheart, two handsome children, two dogs, and a mean kitty. You can visit Liz at www.liztalleybooks.com or follow her on Instagram or facebook to learn more about her upcoming books.
Adulting by Liz Talley, out now!
USA Today bestselling author Liz Talley’s emotional and heart-lifting novel about facing the past, unconditional love, and a woman on the verge of a breakthrough.
After another all-night bender, one more failed stint at rehab, and a parole violation, self-destructive actress Chase London has to deal with her demons. She’s been written off as a Hollywood casualty by almost everyone, including her own mother. But handsome superstar Spencer Rome has her back. So does an uncompromising stranger determined to start Chase at square one and help her pull her future into focus. If Chase is willing.
Life coach Olivia Han is devoted to “adulting” boot camp therapy. It’s not just her professional specialty, though—it’s also one way to avoid focusing on building a life of her own. To escape the pressures of Tinseltown, the two women head to Olivia’s cabin in the wilds of Northern California. There they discover a place in need of TLC. As they work together to rehab the once-charming cabin, they create a refuge where Chase can come to terms with her unsettled past, and where Olivia has an unexpected reckoning with her own troubling history.
For two women doing damage control, this is a time for second chances—in life, in finding love, in forgiving family, and in an emerging friendship that might be exactly what each of them needs to heal.