Being a mother is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Just as your children evolve, so does motherhood. In honor of Mother’s Day, we sat down with our very own First Lady Serita Jakes to glean wisdom on mothering our adult children. Whether you’re close to your child or would like to rebuild your relationship, there are valuable truths for everyone in this enlightening conversation:
WTAL: As your children grew into adults, how did you have to redefine motherhood?
Mrs. Jakes: As adulthood daily claims my children, I realize more than ever that their character and faith are built on a solid foundation. I am not saying that neither the fabric nor the seamstress is flawless, but indeed the pattern is perfect.
WTAL: Walk us through how you had to change your parenting style when your children became adults.
Mrs. Jakes: I must admit that I am very intentional about my role as a parent and even more so as a grandparent. When my tykes were younger, they did (allegedly) as they were told. As adults, they form their own guidance system. I am here to ensure and provide sound counsel. Yes, maybe without solicitation.
WTAL: How do you continue to grow your relationship with your children and their partners? What are three things a mother can do to build and maintain a healthy relationship with her adult children?
Mrs. Jakes: If I had to choose three things that build and maintain a healthy flow with my children and their partners, they would be: respect their union, respect their privacy as individuals, and always respect their home.
WTAL: In what ways does motherhood get better when your children become adults?
Mrs. Jakes: When my children became adults, I was enabled to answer their adolescent “whys.” Their understanding of my “whys” become more apparent to them in hindsight.
WTAL: While mothering your adult children, how do you know when to step in and help or let them learn without your guidance? What do you do when you see them making a decision you don’t agree with?
Mrs. Jakes: When my children were young, they went where I allowed them to go (presumably). As adults, that simple task is no longer an option. If they, perchance, lose their way, I keep a lamp burning so that they’ll recognize home.
WTAL: Describe the steps a mother would need to take to heal a fractured relationship with her adult child.
Mrs. Jakes: A card through the mail is a grand invitation to communicate an RSVP to acknowledge a broken relationship. In time, steps will lead to a phone call and, with (TBD) time, develop into a virtual face-to-face encounter. I pray that these tiny appeals result in a healing reunion.
WTAL: What advice would you give to mothers who are looking for purpose now that their children are adults?
Mrs. Jakes: Some of us have waited our childrens’ lifetime to reignite the passion in our hearts. I find something new about myself every day that has little to do with being a mother. I can always be a better me.
WTAL: As an empty nester, what do you like to do for fun and creativity?
Mrs. Jakes: As an empty nester, I find creativity in visiting garden centers. I find peace in our times of rest. I find hope by curating retail shops that reflect serenity, style, and sacred spaces.
WTAL: Being a grandparent is different from being a parent. What advice would you give to first-time grandparents?
Mrs. Jakes: My advice to grandparents is to be ready to help your baby hold their baby.
WTAL: Any other advice on motherhood that you’d like to share?
Mrs. Jakes: Retirement from motherhood is not an option for me.