This article, entitled Regression comes from Erin Ferris at http://amidwesterngirlincowboycountry.blogspot.com
When we – as parents – talk about regression, we’re usually referring to those unfortunate times when our kids return to less developed or advanced states of childhood. The birth of a new sibling, moving to a new home, or starting school can lead to potty training, sleep, and/or behavioral issues that we thought we and they had resolved months earlier.
But that’s not the kind of regression I’m talking about today. Yes, this regression has to do with a parent and a child, but in this case, I’m the child.
I moved away from home when I started college 15 years ago. I’ve been married for more than eight years. I’ve been a mother for nearly six years, and a mother of two for more than three years. I take care of my family and our house, and I coordinate our meals, bills, schedules, activities, health, and physical fitness. So while it frightens me and I avoid admitting it to myself whenever possible, I’m officially a full-fledged grown-up and have been for some time.
Except when I visit my parents.
When I return to my parents’ house – the house in which I lived starting at age 12 and until I was 18 – it’s like I become that slightly awkward and wildly indecisive teenager all over again. This regression manifests itself in a number of ways:
From this point forward, “AE” (“Adult Erin”) will refer to me as an independent, competent adult and “KE” (“Kid Erin”) will refer to me in my regressed state.
1. Clothing. AE shops and coordinates outfits for herself and everyone else in her family, and somehow manages to get herself presentably (and sometimes even fashionably!) dressed every single day. But KE can’t purchase even a t-shirt or pajama pants from Old Navy without asking her mom to weigh in.
2. Laundry. When faced with a challenging stain, AE first scours Google and Pinterest for proven store-bought and homemade stain removers, and then systematically tries each until the article of clothing is as good as new. KE puts her stained clothes down the laundry chute and is pleasantly surprised when they reappear, stain-free and smelling like tulips, neatly folded on her bed. At least KE says “thank you” to her mom.
3. Cleaning. AE keeps her home vacuumed, dusted, and tidied, and makes her and her children’s beds every day. (Her children are finally learning to make their own beds though – thank goodness!) The bedroom in which KE sleeps at her parents’ house looks like a bomb went off in it, and every once in a while her mom gently asks her if she’s thinking at all about making her bed or putting away her laundry this week.
4. Cooking. AE enjoys cooking and loves baking, and makes at least a few homemade dinners and one dessert every week. She can easily shop for ingredients and follow recipes, and on occasion even creates her own dishes. KE checks and double checks shopping lists and recipe steps with her mom, and asks for advice throughout the cooking/baking process.
5. Parenting. As was mentioned above, AE has been a parent for almost six years, and while she certainly doesn’t claim to be an expert, she has a handle on the gig and can usually make it through the days in one piece. AE makes decisions – at least 100 a day – about her children’s meals, activities, nap schedule, bedtime routines, and discipline. KE, on the other hand, feels like a new mom all over again, so paralyzed by the fear of saying or doing the wrong thing that she often doesn’t say or do anything. KE asks for advice OFTEN, and more than once has marked the end of a “challenging” day by dramatically bringing her forehead into contact with the kitchen counter in a silent plea for her mother to put her children to bed.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever found yourself in the role of “kid” even though you’re an adult? Or am I the only one? Please say I’m not alone…
My kids and I have been visiting my parents for about three weeks now, and during our trip my regression has ebbed and flowed. Well, mostly flowed. We head home to Texas in a couple days, however, so it’s time for me to get my act (back) together – if I can’t, my kids and husband won’t last a week.