Do you feel like an adult yet?
I think we’ve all questioned this at some point. Haven’t we?! “Are we ‘adulting’ correctly?!”
I glanced over at the birthday card on the fireplace whilst sipping my morning tea and it hit me! Right there, right then.
I am an actual adult! Sharing my story because I feel we all question ourselves sometimes and yet we’re all doing just fine!
The birthday card was “To my wonderful (not) Wife and Best Friend”. It suddenly dawned on me. This person in my life – my amazing not-husband – thinks the world of me. He thinks I’m great and appreciates all I do! Who’d have thought it?!
Next to his card and flowers were cards from both his children, sending their love to me on my birthday, even though I wouldn’t be seeing them for another week.
I look around and our house was in chaos because of renovations, but it’s OURS! Craziness!
I am an actual adult, living a grown up life!
“The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult…”Definition of ‘adulting’
I’ve never paid attention to it before – the adult part to my life. I have always felt inadequate, behind somehow or just not doing it right. Society has such pressures; increasingly so with social media and it’s more important than ever to not fall foul of those.
Society suggests there are certain time frames for reaching life’s milestones or an idea of how we should be living as adults. Stereotypes and expectations suggest when we should be marrying, what type of career aspirations we should have or what age we should be having children.
But times are changing!!
Firstly, stop comparing yourself!
Comparing yourselves to others is one of the worst things you can do. Everyone is different and just because you’re not doing the same thing or at the same age doesn’t mean you’re failing.
Take me for example; 31, unmarried with 2 step children (never was that the plan, I can tell you!) Then I look at two of my friends; both married to military men, both at similar life stages, but totally different ages.
The first couple are mid-twenties, married, bought a house, have the most beautiful dog and now a newborn. The perfect life, right?!
The second is one of my closest friends, 39, step-mum to her husband’s daughter and now expecting their first baby together! They married earlier this year – the wedding I mentioned in my ‘Loss’ blog post and I couldn’t be happier for them!
I use these two friends as examples because we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others, me included. Judging our successes by what we think we should be doing. My point here is, whether you’re 26 or 39, there’s no ‘right’ age.
Secondly, only you know what’s right for you!
Pressures will always be there; whether it’s pressure to get a ‘good job’ or to find a nice partner, or even provide your parents with grandchildren.
If I had a pound for every time my Mum asked me when she’s going to be a Nanny again, I could probably pay off the mortgage in one swift whack!
Does this concern me? Nope!
What about those nudges at weddings…? “You’re next!” or “Come on, I need a new hat!“.
We can then go to the other end of the scale, which I know a lot of military wives get. “Aren’t you too young to be getting married?!”
If it feels right for you then that’s all that matters! Society doesn’t need an opinion on our lives and how we live them.
A ‘responsible’ adult, ‘adulting’?
According to various informal definitions, ‘adulting’ is the actions characteristic of someone responsible. Scary hey?!
The word ‘adulting’ is often miused (if a made up word can be so) and is used to describe mundane but necessary tasks like cooking or cleaning, as being ‘adulting’. Being a responsible adult is a very different thing, or at least it is in my view.
I certainly hadn’t felt much like a responsible adult for the most part of my twenties – despite leaving home at 18. By my mid-twenties, I had lived alone, been to uni, had various jobs; yet I still didn’t feel like I was an adult and definitely not ‘adulting’ – whatever that was!
So at 27 when I became a step-mum to 2 pre-teen girls. (Yes, that IS as bad as it sounds!) I didn’t think I was prepared for this life at all! Never, ever, did I think I would even consider this as a way of life!
I met my wonderful not-husband, ‘Mr S’ online (as many of us do these days) and had vowed not to date anyone with children (or psychotic ex wives).
Well I royally f****d that one up didn’t I?!
But everything happens for a reason, right?!
I wanted an easy life. One with potential to go somewhere. My head said, “Don’t go there!“, my heart said “Give it a chance!“.
I went there!
We saw each other a fair bit (when he wasn’t away on exercise or something more interesting!), we spent various weekends together on and off base, making the most of the time he was around.
After a while, I met his kids. I was bricking it if I’m honest! I really liked this guy but, “what if his kids hated me?” “What if they couldn’t accept their dad being with someone who wasn’t their mum?!”. The many scenarios went through my mind. How we’d have to end this whole thing, or keep our lives separate from the kids, or see one another in secret. I think I feared the rejection from them more than anything!
But, they were amazing and so accepting of me. They were just happy to see their dad happy for once and at 8 & 9, I thought that was very grown up of them too!
All was going well then 9 months in – Bang! Our first deployment arrived, ready to try and destroy us. Absolutely not! We were already incredibly strong and knew we’d make this work.
The kid’s mum obviously hated me (as most ex-wives do) so I thought it would be months of not seeing his kids either. Fortunately, his parents took to me extremely well, so I spent many a day or weekend with them and the kids during the summer holidays.
Summer 2016, I was handling a deployment, maintaining bonds with my not-husband’s kids and his parents, planning stuff for when Mr S returned, putting money aside for various things…Was THIS ‘adulting’?
I had doubted this relationship and its lifestyle from the start, but it was working! More than working, we were smashing it!
So how about now?!
By late 2016, we were into our second deployment (yep, another one straight after!) and we’d been looking to buy a house together. That’s pretty adult, right?
We’d looked at so many properties online and nothing was grabbing us, although we weren’t in a rush, we were craving our own space. I’d moved back with my parents to save some money and when not away, he was living on base. Whilst in Canada, Mr S sent me a link for a house and asked me to check it out. Long story short, we now live in it!
Buying a house whilst he was deployed had its own problems, most notibly the time difference. He was 7 hours behind which meant any correspondence was an extra working day. By the time I’d spoken to him, the estate agent/solicitors/surveyors had closed for the day and so it continued.
Mr S was in a front line squadron so he was away A LOT, leaving me to handle home life alone. By this point his ex was being less of a d*ck and I still had the kids during weekends and holidays (but only when it suited her of course…she’s still 50% d*ck).
Mr S returned, we exchanged and moved in March 2017. Now here’s where life changed dramatically for me. I was now doing school runs Friday evenings and Monday mornings. I’d find myself cooking for three or four (as opposed to cereal for dinner), ironing uniforms or sat watching a school play without my not-husband. He’d be overseas and I’d be sat in an assembly wondering how my life got to this point?!
How much more adult can you get?! Surely THIS was adulting?
Yet I STILL doubt myself!
A couple of weeks back, I was holding ‘stuff’ (
aka jumpers they refuse to wear, a rock they took a liking to in the car park and what was left of my sanity) whilst the kids took part in a Harry Potter broomstick ‘flying’ lesson, being told to ‘ooh‘ and ‘aah‘ by the crazy lady leading it!
“HOW ON EARTH DID I END UP HERE?!“
That was one of those moments where I questioned everything – just for a second! If you’d have asked me four years ago, if I’d be standing at a Harry Potter event (totally not my thing), ‘oohing and aahing’ at a fake flying lesson…I’d have told you not to be so ridiculous!
Being a step-mum was never something I planned for. I had no idea about being a parent, never mind being one to TWO hormonal pre-teen girls!
BUT! We’re now just a normal family, I don’t see them as ‘his kids’ (
unless they’re channelling their inner tw*t, then they can be HIS!). They’re OUR kids and we do normal family stuff. Hearing the kids say to their friends, “this is my step-mum“, still freaks me out a bit, but I feel honoured to have been accepted into their lives so readily.
I question if I’m actually ‘adulting’, but I must be? I keep these teenagers alive, Mr S hasn’t left me for a more competent human and I haven’t burnt the house down…yet!
Statistics…do these show us as nation to be ‘adulting’?
If you take a look at the graphic here, the UK ranks slightly below the EU average for age to leave home. The statistic for men vs woman is aged 27.6 and 25.2 respectively. By that stat, I was way ahead as I left home at 18. Compare that to another friend of mine who is male and still lives at home aged 32. Even when the stats suggest one trend, the range is wildly varied.
We could go one further and compare this to the 1960’s, where 62% of 18-34 year olds were living as married or co-habiting in their own home, compared to just 31% now. Of course many social and economic factors play a role but let’s not get too deep here.
Compare all this alongside ages for having children and we see more people now than ever aren’t having their first children until their thirties. In the early 1990’s, my Mum was horrified to be pregnant again (her 3rd, my brother) at the age of 30! She felt people would think “she should know better!” for being an ‘older’ mother.
But how normal is it now, that my friend at 39 is having her first. Society is fluid and opinions change over time. It is no longer seen as ‘older mother’ past 30, more ‘the norm’. Just because society suggests one opinion right now, doesn’t mean it will stay that way!
Those ONS stats show a wide spread from under 20 to over 40. Everyone is different and there’s no right or wrong age for anything!
What makes you feel like an adult? Do you feel like you’ve nailed the art of ‘adulting’? Are you expecting a baby but don’t feel like a ‘real grown-up’ yet? I’d love to hear from you!
Over and Out,