Big Kids, Big Decisions

Big Kids, Big Decisions

I’m a newborn mother of adult children, 3 kids ages 18 and older. And it’s not always easy for me to navigate the new type of mothering that adult children demand.
Regarding decision making, for example.
My younger kids occasionally have big decisions in their lives. Like my 9th grader who had to choose a high school last year. Or my December-born 5-year-old, whom I’m not sure whether to send to 1st grade next year or leave for another year in kindergarten.
But younger-kid decision-making is, I’m realizing, qualitatively different from big-kid decision-making. Little-kid decision-making is done on my own or together with my husband or together with our child or, at the very least, my opinion has some weight.
Big kid decisions, on the other hand, the kind that could impact them for the rest of their lives, are generally, ultimately, made completely their own.
In most situations in life, it’s harder when I have to do something and easier when someone else does it instead of me. Like when somebody else cleans my house or makes dinner for my family.
But as a new mom of big kids, I’m finding that regarding letting my big kids run their own lives, quite the opposite is true. It is infinitely easier to be involved in the decisions, and infinitely harder to let go.
Yesterday, I was feeling so stressed out about a big-kid decision that I will not be making that I went, for the first time in many months, to pray at the grave of Henny Machlis.
And when I prayed there, I heard the words: “Tefila and Hakshava, just keep davening and listening to your child.”
And in my mind’s eye, I envisioned Hashem, guiding my adult child with perfect precision, while I, microscopic me, was frantically pulled at Him, like how our puppy barks and pulls on my skirt with her teeth when she thinks she must have something right now.


  1. Once again Chana, I am in awe of your ability to hone in on the true core of the issue without getting distracted by the external package. As much as we would like to plan our children’s lives for them, ultimately they have free choice. We can only prepare them by giving them the tools with which they can determine which is a wise decision, and which is a foolish one.
    And then,we have to step back and daaven with all our might, like you did, Chana, and keep those doors (and listening ears)open!

    • JewishMom

      thank you mina, this confirmation means so much to me coming from you, with all your experience mothering older kids

  2. In Hoshea at the beginning of chapter 11, the Navi compares the love that Hashem Yisborach has for the Jewish People to the love of a parent to their small child. One of the beautiful visualizations there is how a parent teaches the toddler to walk on his own.
    The parent supports the child and then steps back, encouraging him forward, then steps back again and again before picking him up in a loving embrace.
    That is how our Heavenly Father coaxes us to overcome each challenge step by step and that is how we teach our children; we stand them on their own two feet but stay near enough to encourage them and to catch them if they fall.

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