You’re a grownup, but do you feel like one?

I flat-out love this post from a few summers ago. And I love the comments that follow. So let’s dust it off again, shall we? I’d love to hear what you think.


 

The other day, my 7-year-old daughter asked me some questions about home ownership. How it works, why it’s different than renting, and how we pay for it all.

Then we got to talking about work and how we make money from our jobs. She listened intently as I answered her questions about what I do when I’m writing, how my staring at the laptop is work and not just fun, and how it all ultimately puts food on our table.

She listened, nodded her head, and I saw little Christmas strand-sized lightbulbs flicker in her mind. And then she went back to playing with her LEGO.

And I wondered, how did I become this grown-up?

Kyle and I have traveled all over the world, moved countless times, signed tons of paperwork for all sorts of things, and have talked to lawyers, accountants, investors, doctors, insurance agents, car mechanics, upholsterers, drywall installers, therapists, and landscape professionals over the years.

And I still so often feel like a kid playing dress up in my minivan. I’ve been married a decade, and I still get flashes of “Oh my goodness, I married Kyle Oxenreider,” as though we’re barely dating.

And of course, there’s that thing we as parents always go through—I look at my oldest, and am sure it was mere days ago that I carried her out of the hospital, shocked that they would let a pair of kids leave with a baby.

I love those Calvin and Hobbes comics, where the dad totally makes up answers to Calvin’s questions. The mom retorts with, “If you don’t know, just say you don’t know!” I feel this way so often… My kids look at me as one of the grownups of the family, and here I am, barely able to answer their questions about how, exactly, the earth revolves around the sun. Beats me.

I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m maturing. I’m a different person than when I married Kyle ten years ago; a complete 180 from the girl who had her first baby almost eight years ago. But so often, I still feel like that kid who just came inside from riding figure-eights with my bike out in the driveway. Not the one ladling the soup out of the Crock Pot.

Do you ever feel this way? Are there times when you feel like you blinked and became a grown-up?

top photo source

Reading Time:

2 minutes

 

 

 

122 Comments

  1. Stacie

    I just had this conversation with my lil sis the other day! She ha a newborn, and sometimes wakes up and wonders why there’s a baby in her room. I told there are days I still feel like I’m playing house. Like I’m the college babysitter toting around an 8 year old and two 5 year olds. I was going to ask when we get to feel like grownups, but I realize that for me, I feel most grown up when I’ve come through on the other side of some very grown up problem.

  2. Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm

    I absolutely feel this way! Fairly often I’ll look at Noel and say “She’s our kid! How did someone let this happen?”

    It’s weird how normally I can go through life just doing what needs done, and then occasionally I get slammed with those moments where I feel like “I can’t be the grown-up. Where did the last 20 years go? How can I be old enough that I can even say “20 years ago?!!”

    It’s really freaking me out that I’m turning 30 at the end of this year… sigh. 🙂

  3. Christie

    I think that when I really, really look at my two oldest kids (turning 12 and 10 in the next few weeks). And I think, “they so beautiful!”

    I’ve heard its necessary to fall in love again with one’s spouse every ten years. We change so much in a decade!

    • Tsh

      Love that!

    • Kelly

      “I’ve heard its necessary to fall in love again with one’s spouse every ten years. We change so much in a decade!”

      This is exactly what I needed to hear today!

  4. Hana K.

    I absolutely feel this way! I feel like I’m stuck in summer break before college in my mind but time keeps going. It feels surreal that I am married, own a house, have a 17 month old—something I only imagined back then! And I feel so young but I see my parents getting older and it makes me sad. It’s a really odd feeling…

  5. Olusola

    Yep, I’m staring down the barrel at 40 and wondering how it’s been 2 decades and I still feel like a teenager inside

    • Lea Stormhammer

      Are you starting to get that “Who’s that middle-aged woman looking back at me from the mirror?” feeling too? 🙂

      This is SO me – I told my husband (of 14 years!) the other day – “I just wish someone would tell me when I would stop feeling like a crazy teenager just making it up as I go along!” He laughed and asked me to let him know when it happens!

      I had a moment last summer when it hit me that the college students I teach could be my children and I actually would have been a grown-up parent, rather than a teenager. It was shocking because I don’t feel like I’m that grown up!

      So glad I’m not the only one that feels this way!
      Lea

      • Cynthia Coleman

        I hear you. I am going on 48, and I still sometimes feel like a kid inside a middle-aged body-wondering where the last 3 decades went. Seems like the first 18 went twice as slow. It’s hard to get used to people not calling you by your first name anymore. Part of the problem of still feeling like a kid is that I’m disabled and still live at home. I don’t have any kids of my own, but I have a niece, a nephew and 3 grandnieces .

  6. Sheila

    Every time someone asks my age, I get reminded that I’m already an adult. Not even in the “young adult” category anymore, but in the “mature ladies” category. And yet, I still feel like I don’t know much about anything, that I still have a lot to learn. I can’t imagine that my son is entering kinder soon and that there’s no more mom who would cook and clean the house for me…that’s my job now. Can we ever have a do-over in our life and the next time around, make the time go slower? =)

    • Peggy

      I agree Sheila, on the do over. My Mom died suddenly when my son was a few months old, and I wish I had time to ask her a million questions about raising kids and learn all her delicious recipies tat were never written Down.

  7. Vera

    A lot of times, I still feel don’t feel like a real grown up. I guess I truly won’t until I get kids of my own. Maybe.

    • Lisa

      No, once you have kids you really feel lost. Like a poster above mentioned, you wonder why the hospital is allowing you to leave with the baby. 🙂 My oldest is five and has quite a stubborn streak (my husband might tell you he gets it from me) anyway, we can easily frustrate one another and I often have to remind myself “you are the mom, it’s not appropriate to throw fits”.

  8. Nicole Robinson@TheBookWormMama

    My husband and I bought our first home a couple of years ago. For the first few weeks, it felt like we had broken into someone else’s house while they were on vacation. The real owners (the adults) would return at any moment and throw us (the crazy kids) out. I still feel that way sometimes. But then I pay bills. Nothing makes you feel all grown up like writing a check.

    • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

      So true, Nicole! I remember feeling this way after buying our first home!

  9. Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    YES!! I so feel this way at times. I sit back and think “how in the world have I been married for 5 years and have my own daughter???” I still feel like I should be in high school or college sometimes, ha!

  10. Johanna @ My Home Tableau

    Oh yes, how I can relate! I definitely sometimes feel like I am playing Mommy with my dolls…oh wait they are real this time. 😉

    I have changed SO much since I got married and had kids. I am a totally different person, but thankfully my husband and I have taken the road to change together so we are still completely in love!

  11. Jill Robson

    I really really am loving this sight, you have such insightful and thought provoking topics.
    For one my son loves, loves, loves, Calvin and Hobbs, has since he was a baby and couldn’t understand the content just laughed at the images. We often call him Calvin because they could be twins.haha
    The other is, i often wake up in the mornings and for a brief moment in time i’m wondering when my mum is going to tell me its time to get up and i realise holly crap I am the grown up.
    Watching the olympics i realise i am old enough to be their mothers……no that can’t be my son is only 10…oh yeh i had him at 39……sometimes its hard being a GrownUP.

  12. Pam

    I love this post! I am 35 with 4 children and have been married for 12 years and I still look at woman my age and want to call them Mrs. So and so. I then realize I am a Mrs So and so.

  13. Rebecca

    I used to get that feeling frequently. I felt like a perpetual 18-year old. Now, though, my husband and I have three years of going to college with two young children under our belt and, being a military wife, I’ve done stints of being by myself for long periods of time. I had the “not-grown-up” feeling beat out of me:) I still look at my five-year old though with astonishment. How did she grow up so fast? Who let her get pierced ears? Oh right, that was me.

    • Amber

      I was thinking the same thing! The “not-grown-up” feeling vanished during my husband’s first deployment (of 22 mos) for both he and I, I think. Prior to that we did at times have those exact feelings of surreal “wait, are you sure we are grown ups?” You said it well, military life has definitely “beat” that out of me.

    • Fontaine

      I agree completely. Somewhere between the 4 deployments in 6 years I feel like I was tossed into the deep end of “grown-up” and have never been allowed to swim out. Although some days feel like treading water more than others.

  14. Steph

    Definitely. Even though I’ve been married nine years and have an almost three year old, I perpetually think of myself as 20 and often wonder why my husband and I are allowed to make all these grown up decisions. Oh wait, we are grown up. And we’ve successfully navigated two undergrad degrees, a grad degree, several moves, multiple jobs and now raising a kiddo “on our own” and I still wonder how it’s all happened.

  15. Sarah G

    I’ve been wondering when that, “I must be my child’s babysitter” feeling was going to wear off! Judging by the comments I’m reading- never. It’s still hard for me to believe that I’m the one he calls mommy and one of two people he looks to for basically everything. Sometimes when the dishes are piling up, and its 11pm, I wish I could just go to sleep and let my mom do it. In those moments I’m starkly reminded that I AM the mom….

  16. Alison

    ‘Are there times when you feel like you blinked and became a grown-up?’

    Every. Single. Day. Whenever I go to make a relatively major decision, there is an echo of feeling like I need to ask my mum and/or dad’s permission, despite the fact that I’m 36 years old, and my own children are nearly 15, 11 and 9.5!!

    I still wonder when it is I’ll actually feel like a grwon-up 🙂

  17. Beth West

    When I was a little girl, I always imagined that it felt a certain way to be a “grown up”. All through my teens, twenties and thirties, through the process of raising 8 children, I kept waiting to feel like what I thought a grown-up felt like. Ladies, as I’ve gone through my early forties, I’ve concluded that the problem is, our idea of what it means to be “grown-up” is just wrong. We are always just going to feel like ourselves, for good or bad. I try to remember that when I’m talking to elderly people, they’re just teenagers at heart too 🙂 Thanks for this thought-provoking post Tsh.

    • Debbie

      Beth, How true. Now I realize why older people do not want help.

    • Tsh

      Excellent point, Beth. It also makes me look back and realize that while my parents seemed to know everything when I was a kid, they were probably just figuring it out as they went along, too. 🙂

  18. christyb

    Really want a mind-bender? Find some old journals! I ran across my pile of diaries from when I was 10 up to the college senior “I’m engaged!!” post. And we’ve been marries 14 years. I spent a few hours smuggled here and there through a few weeks and read them… and it helped so much in understanding my 10-yr-old daughter, first, then reading through high school I was simply struck by how BLESSED I now am, and how screwed up I was. Today I can see God’s hand guiding me safely through all that and bringing me to here, married to what sometimes feels like the only person in the world who understands me! …and Yes, I still feel like I’m 21 (at almost 36).

  19. Hilarie

    Thank you for this – it’s so nice to hear that I’m not the only one!!!
    I feel 27. I don’t know when I’ll stop feeling 27. But I’ll be 40 next year. We just moved to the south and people are now calling me Mrs. Laughman – um, no. That’s what old people are called. (D’oh!) I look at people all the time and wonder how they decided to be an adult while I still feel like I should be younger. I guess I won’t mind if I still feel 27 when I’m 60. 🙂

  20. Annie

    Tsh! I swear you get me. You don’t know me, but I swear we have the same mind. Haha! My kids are at the questions phase, and everyday I think, ‘How did I get to be the grown up?’ Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

  21. Rachel H.

    I am 31 with an almost 14 year old daughter and still don’t feel like a grown-up. To make it worse, people assume I’m not a grown-up. They think I’m still 16-19. I asked my mom what it feels like to be a grown-up – at 65, she would know, right? She looked me dead in the eye and said, “I’m still waiting to find out.” But her and dad have always seemed so grown-up, so mature, so sure.
    Funny how I learn new things about my parents when I had convinced myself I knew them so well. Haha.

  22. Hillary

    I just had this conversation with my husband last night except this was one of the first times where I said, “So I guess we’re all grown up now.”
    “Yes,” he said. “This is it.”
    For so many years I’ve felt those feelings, like we were trying to be grown-ups but with our family complete with three kids, a business, a job and home we finally feel like we’ve arrived at adulthood. Funny how it takes so long, but then suddenly sneaks up on you 😉

  23. Debbie

    I agree. When I got married at 24 I remember wondering why there were “babies” driving. My new husband said that we were getting older. I am now 53 and I still sometimes feel like I am 24 and wonder how I can have 9 kids. Other times when my back hurts I feel 80. I truly believe that I am kept young because my youngest is 9 and still looks at things through the eyes of a child.

    • Cathie

      I am also 53. I have “only” 6 kids – my oldest is 34, and my youngest is 9. My 9 year old definitely keeps us younger. I am still waiting to feel like a grown-up. Sometimes I feel like the most mature person in the room, but I have yet to feel grown up. I’m wondering if this ever changes.

  24. Patty

    I’ve been reading your blog for years, Tsh, and your posting of Calvin and Hobbes has just solidified my belief in our like-mindedness. I have them posted everywhere.

  25. Sarah Dunning Park

    Oh my goodness, I love this post. We are grappling with these feelings, too…
    in fact, my upcoming poem in Weekend Links (posting August 18th) is about this type of growing up and growing into your own skin!

    • Tsh

      Yes! Awesome. Great minds. 🙂

  26. Tina

    yes, and i’m in my forties! a very close friend of mine, in her 70’s said to me one day,
    ” I was shocked when I woke up this morning, and realized that I am married to an old man! And then I realized, I’m just as old!!!”

    it’s learning to love who we are becoming along the way, and offering grace to others who are growing up, too. :))

    • Kirsty

      Oh I love the idea of offering grace to others who are growing up too! Thanks say my 34/16 yo self!!

  27. Kara @SimpleKids.net

    Oh, Tsh, all the time my friend! 🙂

    In fact, I think that is one of the reasons that the book you recommended, What Alice Forgot, really resonated with me when I read it: I often have those moments of “who am I? How did all these kids get here?”

    • Tsh

      Yes, that book messed with my head for a few weeks because of that! I thought it was so well-written in that way… her mentality pre- and post-kids.

  28. Hélène Métivier

    I feel the same way! I have been married, had 2 kids, then separated, and I still don’t feel like a grown-up. Even more so now that my new freedom reminds me of the time I didn’t have kids and could go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted it!

  29. Rita@thissortaoldlife

    I have felt out of synch most of my adult life. When I was in my late 20s I married a man in his early 40s–and his two kids. When most people my age were starting out with babies, I was parenting teens. When that marriage ended in my early 40s, I was on my own and dating and doing developmental things I skipped (and shouldn’t have) earlier; I felt like I was back in my 20s. I finally feel like my life is in line with my age (sort of), and I’m shocked to find out how old I am! Like, when did that happen?!? I am the same age my grandmothers were when I was born, but I don’t feel nearly old enough or wise enough to be a grandma myself. Luckily, I think that’s still quite a ways off for me!

  30. Melissa Jones

    Last year, my parents (both 65) were visiting the weekend before my birthday. As they were headed out the door somewhere, my dad asked how old I was going to be. When I told him I’d be 35, he looked at my mom and asked, “when did we get old?!” I don’t think that feeling will ever go away. It really only affects me when someone asks my age though. I have to do the math because I just forget that I’m 36 now.

    It’s crazy remembering my mom’s 40th birthday, thinking she was ancient, and realizing that I’ll be there myself in just 4 years! That can’t possibly be right! And when did my babies turn into real people? My youngest (16 mo) is still my doll baby that I get to dress up, and I’ll get to play with hair for many years to come between her and her older sister (3)…but my oldest (5) can read now! And _I_ taught him to do it! How did _that_ happen?!

    _I_ don’t feel any older….but I’ve gotta say that I’m so very, very grateful for a sweet husband to share the burdens of life with. I was single and on my own for a long time and it’s hard work taking care of everything yourself. I can’t even imagine being “grown up” with kids and no partner to help out. You ladies (and gentlemen) are amazing to me!

  31. Abby

    Yes. Yes. Yes. I feel like I still see myself as 17, and then I think – wow, will I still feel like that when I’m 80? It’s refreshing to read this post and the comments and realize that maybe all the grown ups I’ve ever known HAVEN’T known what I thought they did. Maybe we’re all just making it up as we go along! It’s terrifying and liberating all at once. Seems like a great thing to understand about our parents – and hope that our kids will understand it one day about us. 🙂

    • Tsh

      Yes, totally. Right now, my kids think we know everything. In 10 years, they’ll be wondering how we managed to eke through life with our paltry brain cells (hopefully without too much eye-rolling). And then in another 10-15 years, hopefully they’ll remember us and understand a lot more of where we were when they were younger. I know I feel that way with my parents.

      • Debbie

        lol, I have an 18 year old just move out two weeks ago because she knows everything. She thinks she is smarter then the government too. I feel bad for h er because she doesn’t have money or a job. I hope she grows up someday.

  32. Alison

    I still have this mindset that I’m a kid in school still..its so frustrating sometimes because it keeps me paralyzed and living in fear of what others think of me! I am married, 24 and have an almost 1 year old son! We have started 2 businesses and even bought our own condo and yet still…I feel like a kid. I want to beat this mindset and start embracing being a hot confident woman damnit!

    • Tsh

      Hmm, good point. I know that for me, I felt like I turned a corner when I turned 30. Suddenly I felt equipped with more confidence in my abilities. (Still winging it in a lot of ways, though… 😉 )

  33. Caroline Starr Rose

    When I was teaching, I’d sometimes stop and think, “I’m really the teacher! And look, these guys are my students.” It would almost make me laugh. 🙂

  34. Clover

    Sometimes in the middle of a crazy day I just stop and chuckle thinking… ” when did I become THE Mom?”

  35. Sarah

    I feel this way all the time. My mom says she still doesn’t feel like a grown up, so I’m pretty sure it lasts forever. It’s one of the reasons why I’m 30 & still haven’t had kids yet. I feel too young to have kids… like they’ll still “ruin my life” like they always tell teenagers. I totally want them, but I feel like babies are something grown-ups have & I’m not one yet. We don’t own a house either or have grown-up furniture. I feel so behind….

  36. Tricia

    yes, I do. First it was the bills, then the decisions, year after year, steadily getting more and more challenging… this year I feel more like an “adult” than ever.

    As to Motherhood… I can totally relate. All the time I think “who are these beautiful girls? are they really my daughters?”

  37. Jolene in Michigan

    Yep, I turned 40 this year and will celebrate 20 years married to the guy I met when we were both 17! Ack!!! 4 little questioners depend on us to have everything figured out and we don’t!!! So much of the time!! Turns out it take most of us a life time to grow up.

  38. Erica

    I feel like this all the time. It’s funny how when I was a teenager, I desperately wanted to be thought of as mature and older than I was. I just had a birthday and when everyone asked the typical “Do you feel older?” (which, does it really make a difference, one day?) I answered with “The older I get, the younger I feel.”

  39. Anne

    Every so often when I’m playing with my boys I stop to think if I’m just baby sitting and then I snap out of it and think, wow, they are really MINE! And then I’ll grab one of them and give them a hug and ask “Are you really my baby boy?” So yup, everyday I feel crazy blessed and can’t believe that I am where I am in my life. But I don’t necessarily feel like a “grown up” as I had envisioned as a child. I still feel like me as a 6 year old, just married with kids. Does that make any sense what so ever?

  40. MissMOE

    I remember sitting at preschool with my youngest (who is now an adult) and being blown away by this accomplished mom of 8 who said–My oldest just got engaged. I guess that makes me a grown-up, but I don’t feel like a grown-up. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t just me that still felt as if I was just playing at being a grown-up. I realized then I might never really feel grown-up and that is okay!

  41. Mo

    I often feel like I am playing house…
    And my oldest is almost 16!!! I can distinctly remember when she was toddler and she had done something she wasn’t supposed to, I told her, ” That was not ok, you need to go to your room right now!” I did not really didn’t think she was old enougth to even understand what I meant. I couldn’t believe it, she went straight to her room. I thought wow, part of this parenting gig is just faking it….just seeing what works and what doesn’t. I wonder if we will ever really feel grown up?

  42. Dee

    Boy, do I agree … and I think I’m a good bit older than you are! I still feel like a kid faking it. In fact, I had a conversation about this with my son this morning. I was asking him to be responsible for his school agenda and letting us know when he had papers in his backpack to sign. (He’s 10 and this *should* be matter of fact by now.) He complained that he couldn’t always remember “because he’s not a grownup,” which led to me telling him that being a grownup was not something that happened all at once, that you didn’t suddenly know everything at 21. Of course, he said he knew that because he knows that I don’t know everything. (Yes, we have entered the phase when instead of knowing everything, mommy doesn’t know a lot. I know I’ll know a lot less before I know a lot more!)

  43. Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com

    My college-aged daughter just asked me yesterday how much money she’ll need for a down payment on her first home. First thought that came to my mind: “When did I grow up enough to have a kid who’s thinking about buying a house?!”

    I mentioned this to my 74-year-old mother this morning over the phone. She said, “Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt when you turned 45 earlier this year.”

    Guess it never really sinks in, now matter how old we get.

    • Beth West

      Love your mom’s comment!

  44. Rose

    I think everyone here is crazy. I am just entering my 30s and I feel OLD. Ever since I had children I feel “grown up” because everything is work all the time. I barely joke anymore and life is very serious and real… boring. I PROMISE you I was not like this, not this extreme. I joked and laughed A LOT, I felt young physically and mentally. I liked rhyming and playing in the dirt, games, even watching cartoons into my mid-twenties. I know some of it is my 3 y.o.’s severe eczema. Sleepless nights, lack of close friendships and people who have the same interests as me, lack of date nights. But even the other moms I hang around seem similar. Trust me I want to change but everyday there just is very little time for just relaxing, even now I should be doing something work-wise to help our financial situation but I’m ditching it for now.

  45. Nora

    I turned 40 this year and it hit me harder than I thought. I still feel there is so much I haven’t accomplished and time is flying by. I long to feel grown-up in many areas, like I have it all together, but I don’t. In some cirsumstances it’s ok, but others it’s necessary we have it together or it will soon take a toll on us. That is when try and remember God is in the business of maturing us and I need to be more attentive to His direction.

    • Debbie

      Nora, my teenage son and I were talking about a month ago. The kids always like doubling their age then try to figure out how old all the siblings will be when they hit a certain age, ie 30…. Well this day we were talking about in 50 years …. and then my son said “Mom you might not be here in 50 years” (I will be 103 in 50 years) Age has never bothered me, but this really made me think that I will not live for ever. I know no one will, but this really got me thinking.

  46. Christina Y.

    I’ve had these same feelings countless times in the past decade… I feel like I was just 18 and now I’m 29 with three children!! How did I grow up so quickly??? Tsh, I love the part where you talk about looking at your husband and thinking, “Wow! I married him… I’m his wife!” I get those feelings too… just like we’re still dating 🙂 And , yep, I look at my little ones and think… WOW! They’re growing up so quickly! I remember my parents talking about how time passes quicker and quicker the older you get, and it’s true! The years fly by now! That’s why our family tries to make every second count- make every moment matter! Yes, there are times when I feel like the day will never end… but the months and years just zoom right by! Such is the busy life of a Mom and wife, huh?

  47. Mary

    I am starting to get over feeling that way and I’m sad. Somehow I blinked and I’ve been married 25 years, homeschooling for 19 (don’t tell my kids but I still don’t know if I’m doing it”right”), my eldest just moved out on her own, the second graduated high school, my hair is grey (at the roots) and my body aches when I sit on the floor.
    I don’t WANT to be a grown up anymore! I want to sleep in, eat unhealthy and play all day. I am tired of being responsible. But I remember the days when all my kids were young as the best years, the richest years of my life.

    • Tsh

      Oh, there are many times I feel older in the way you described—gray hair, aching joints, wishing I could eat whatever still, forgetting what it’s like to sleep in, etc.

      But I’m referring to more what you said here: “don’t tell my kids but I still don’t know if I’m doing it ‘right.’” There are many things in life about which I feel this way: keeping a home, money management, taking care of the grownup stuff, etc. That stuff. 🙂

  48. charis

    so much so! i look at my 5 kids and think, “oh my gosh! i have 5 kids!” it is a bit shocking to be a “grown up” and i am starting to understand when my grandma says she isn’t 83 inside, but somewhere in her 20’s that i will always feel that way too.

  49. Melanie

    Just said this to my husband a week or so ago – when we realized we’ve known each other 20 years … “I don’t feel old enough to have known ANYONE for 20 years!”. Unfortunately, I’m 41 and plenty old enough HA!

    • Vanessa Worth

      I am happy with my life together with my husband and three sons of mine which my two sons have their own family. I just retired on my work so I have more time right now to visit my friends and my sons.

  50. Steph (The Cheapskate Cook)

    What a beautifully relatable thought. I wonder if it’ll take grandkids to make me realize just how grown up I am. For now, I’m soaking up the block-playing and bike-riding that goes on at our house – as if it’s an excuse for me to act the way I really feel.
    And I love the way you described how you feel about your husband sometimes, because that’s exactly the way I feel. That thought is usually followed by a blush and surge of gratefulness God let me marry such a great guy.
    Thanks, Tsh!

  51. Meagan

    Oh, I have been feeling this way often. I have hit several “grownup” milestones this year…15 years of marriage, 20 year high school reunion, and the craziest of all (at least in my mind)? My first born is starting junior high this year. Wasn’t he just born last week? I feel like I take each phase in stride and do my best to enjoy it, but I’m left marveling, “How in the world did we get here?” I’m knocking the door of 40 and still feel like I have a ways to go befoe I’m a “real” grownup!

    • Meagan

      *before*

  52. Brooke {Slow Your Home}

    I relate to this 100%, Tsh! I still feel I’m making most of it up along the way.

    But I wonder if it’s about “growing up” or just about growing. And accepting. And being who we are but always working on who we want to become.

    I don’t know… I DO know that the day I realised my parents felt the exact same way I do now was a weird, weird day. “You mean they were making it up too?!”

  53. Nina

    Oh yes, often. I can’t believe I’m in my 30s and sometimes feel like I’m still 26 or 27. It baffles me that we did such grown up things like buy life and disability insurance, and that go to an office.

    I think it’s even stranger for me because I’m the youngest in my family, and my eldest sibling is definitely the “eldest” type where she has always been the leader. So I know I will always be the baby of the family; not to say that they treat me like I’m incompetent, but that really they have a few years ahead of me and I will always feel like the youngest with them. Never mind that when my eldest sister was 23, I thought she was “so old!”

  54. Catherine

    I still feel that way too even though I am over 40, will be married 20 years next year (20!!!!), have two kids (seriously, you can just have a baby and walk out of the hospital with it?), have lived in 4 different countries and have done umpteen other seemingly ‘grown up’ things…. I am guessing by now it isn’t ever going to go away! I do remember asking my then 95 yr old Nana (who is now rockin’ it at 104!) what age she felt like and she said ’30’. Nup, it isn’t going to change… 🙂

  55. Catherine

    oops, I just called my children ‘it’s’. him/her of course…… lol.

  56. Steph

    I feel like this AT LEAST once per week!

  57. Dara Shultz

    Despite celebrating my ninth wedding anniversary, giving birth to two kids, and turning 30 last December, I still feel like an angsty teenager most of the time! Well, except for when I’m disciplining my children; when I’m in the midst of that unpleasantness, I feel like MY mom. Pretty freaky stuff!! 🙂

  58. Brenda

    Oh my word. Every.single.day. Change the names and a few details, and your words are me exactly.

  59. Ursula

    hehe, yep, every. day. 🙂 love this post. 🙂

  60. Jessica

    yes, all the time! i just don’t feel *fancy* enough to be a parent. i’m still trying on the adult shoes to see if they fit. thank god my son is so forgiving.

  61. Diana

    Thank you, Tsh, for posting this, and thank you to all those who commented and said you feel this way too! Another interesting thought along those same lines…whenever I make chicken broth, it makes our house smell just like my Grandma’s used to. I always enjoy that scent and remember their home, their garden, their raspberry cobbler, eating pretzels, watching Jeopardy, trying to walk on their stilts, and all the fun things we did. But yesterday when I was remembering, it suddenly occurred to me to wonder, “When I’m 80 and I make chicken broth, will I still remember Grandma’s house like this? Will I still feel like a kid again? Will it feel like it just happened yesterday?” I have no idea, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it does! 🙂

  62. DebbieRN

    Great post! Ain’t it the truth?!!! Calvin and Hobbes is one of our favorites, too.

  63. Nicole Hankosky

    Yes, yes I do feel this way. Maybe not every day, but I do feel like a kid inside a lot of the time and wonder when I’m going to feel like a grown up, wondering if my parents felt ill-equipped to make the difficult decisions they needed to make. I don’t have children yet, but got married and bought a house last year. I can honestly say it didn’t make me feel any more grown up than before. Life and its thrills are challenging enough, but I am actually happy I feel like a child inside. It certainly beats the alternative. You’re definitely not alone in these thoughts.

  64. Kei

    Have you been “reading my mail?” My thoughts on the matter where completely summed up by you in this blog. Good to know I’m not the only one. 🙂

  65. Gianna

    We are grown-ups? Is that what this is?
    Oh, well. I guess I got what I wished for when I was 5–to be a grown up. But when I was 5, I was convinced it would be a lot more fun!

  66. Peggy

    I feel like could have written this article too! I think it’s good that we feel young. My hubby and I will celebrate 20 years together and my 40th birthday soon, and it blows us away….hey, we just met and fell in love a few years go! Our son will turn 5 soon, and we have a mortgage and 2 car payments….that’s what makes us realize, hey….something happened here.

  67. Dawn Camp

    You have no idea. 🙂

  68. Leslie M

    Yes! I was just thinking about this the other day. When did I become a grown-up with answers? How does God expect me to be a homeschool mom when I can’t answer simple questions about pearls from my 5 year old? Oh Lord, only by your grace.

  69. RLR

    My 20th high school reunion is happening right now, and as far away as I am from being a teenager (an age to which I don’t wish to go back), I still don’t feel like an adult. I still feel very different inside from how I think that person in the mirror should feel. And yet, 40 is coming soon. I have a rising 3rd grader and 1st grader. The college students that I used to work with now have jobs and spouses and graduate degrees and families of their own. My husband and I have two paid-off vehicles, wills, and a comfortable home. My family looks to me for homework help and dinner each evening. I’m a reading partner and prayer partner at bedtime – my husband is the pro at tucking in the kids.
    Where did all of those years go? And with so much that has happened in those years – shouldn’t I feel older? But perhaps it is a blessing that I do still feel so young inside – I’ve got a lot left to do!

  70. Audrey @ Mom Drop Box

    It’s funny- I often feel the opposite: I feel like so much time has gone by & so much has changed, and the responsibilities that come with having a family make me feel very grown-up. It seems like it would be more fun to still feel young though!

  71. Heather

    My favorite Tsh post to date. Much resonating. 🙂

  72. Sherrie

    I’m 42, nine kids and I still feel like an 18 year old everyday. Sometimes I think, why do I feel so young inside and look at others and they seem so much more mature (at least on the outside it seems). But I’m happy to be young at heart and am very playful with my kids (maybe sometimes too much) butthis makes me who I am and my kids and I have a close relationship but I can get down to business when I need to.

  73. Aimee

    The thing that blows me away is that I was 15 when my mom was my age. My oldest just turned 5. While I’m crying in my oatmeal about my baby is going to kindergarten, my mom had a kid in high school. THAT blows my mind.

    I cannot fathom how my mom was such an amazing parent at 20. I felt ill-prepared at 30 and was in a much more ideal situation. She is and has always been amazing. My dad is pretty awesome, too. 🙂

  74. Kim Johnson

    I asked my mother-in-law (65 years old) when you stop making mistakes all the time and feeling like you’re just making it up as you go along. She just laughed, although thinking about it now, I’m not sure what she was trying to say =).

    My sister is a developmental psychologist, and there is an entire field of study called “emerging adulthood” where they study the transition from childhood to adulthood. Maybe they need to talk to some 40 year olds.

  75. Ash

    First of all I don’t know how I got here, I was searching for ways to get motivated to ride my bike and do my homework yet I got here. This is really scary I was hoping that being an adult felt different somehow. Do you guys like being older better than living at home with your parents and siblings? Is being able to eat anything you want when you want as good as it sounds? I’m sorry about all the questions but if you could answer them I would really like to know.

  76. Julie P

    Just this evening I was riding bikes with my 6-year old and went over the ramp they built. I don’t think I would have even tried that as a kid! So it was fun to feel like a kid for a little bit! We have enough grown-up stuff to do 24-7!

  77. J King

    So true! I have so many moments where I stop and look around at my job, our house, our LIFE and wonder why am I not making mudpies in the pasture??

  78. Lauren @ Gourmet Veggie Mama

    Oh, I soooo do not feel like a grown-up. I feel like I’m playing house every day, pretty much. Often I think about my parents at this age and wonder whether they felt the same. I suspect they did, but it’s a little hard to imagine!

  79. AmyM

    A couple of weeks ago, my mom turned around and said to my dad, “How did we get to be 70 years old? Would you ever have thought that this is who we would be?” I think she’s even taken by surprise at times- hopefully for the good for the most part!

  80. Jennifer

    As an oldest sibling I think maturity comes with the territory! That being said, I’ve always thought that becoming an adult was a conscious decision. It’s not always easy to make adult decisions and act in a mature way, but you make a choice to act with honor and grace. For me, college was the perfect place to learn how to be a grown up. I strengthened my conviction to be as honest as possible especially when I’m in the wrong (I still struggle with confronting conflict), learned accountability, and the joys of a hard day’s work and success. I think this is also why there are so many adults who are immature. If you CHOOSE not to act like a grownup, then (IMO) you aren’t.

  81. Kari Scare

    As I approach turning 29 for the 12th time, I look around and wonder how that is possible. I mean, my friends all look their age, but I still look 29. Amazing how that works, isn’t it? People say “age is just a number,” but I am still struggling with the disparity between that number and what’s happening inside of me. But since the only other option is to stop aging, and I only know one way to do that, I guess I’ll move forward. This next week will be an interesting test for me mentally as I really work to come to terms with my age. This is just how it’s working for me.

  82. Amy

    I feel exactly the same way. Tonight, I was at a wedding shower and was visiting with a lady I didn’t know. I said, offhandedly, “I have two boys, a two year old, and an almost one year old.” Immediately after the words came out of my mouth, my mind went “Wait, what? Moms with two boys are grown ups. How did that happen to YOU?”

  83. Lucy

    I’m 38 and I still wonder when my kids’ real mom is going to come pick them up – you know, the one who knows what she’s doing, makes them clean their rooms, teaches them cool things and doesn’t yell at them. A few weeks ago I attended the wedding of my best friend’s son. Yes, she was really young when she had him, but still, I realized that it’s not as far away for the rest of us as we think. My oldest is 11 and I’ve been married for 12 years. Where did the time go? I thought I’d be better at this “grownup thing” than I’ve turned out to be. I’m really hoping that 40 truly is the new 30, because I’ve only just figured out who I am (and man, was I delusional!) and what that means for me. Great post! Very thought provoking. 🙂

  84. Prisci

    I feel the same thing too. It feels so odd just seeing most of my friends getting married and having kids. I already went to a wedding of one of my close friends who I met when I was a sophomore in college and was in a world religions class. Here IM with my family yet, and still focusing on my career goals. I feel so old because most of my friends, at least the ones who I know have another role in their life which is to be married and have a family. Yet, I feel rushed to finish up with my studies because I think I don’t have enough time to be in school Since I already set a time limit which is to finish school by age 30. After all that is done, I have yet to decide what comes next which is kind of daunting. At this point, I am only focusing on my priorities Like finding a good job and finishing school. The only thing that I am thinking since I have no other rolls yet is to start making some money Or even invest for retirement. hahaha, I know, you’ll be thinking that I am planning way ahead of time , But I think this is the perfect time to start saving up for when you can no longer work. All I would say is that I just plan to go with the flow of things and Play it by year.

  85. Jen Lu

    I know this is an older post but I still feel inclined to reply. I was searching for just this topic. I am currently going through a difficult time with my father. I am an only child but 40years old, mother and wife. We are a military family and have traveled the world but for some reason, I don’t feel like the adult that deserves respect. My husband and I married young and managed to make it on nothing but Raman and water the first few years married….we’ve been through war deployments, cancer, other illness, death and babies. Yet, since my father has recently cut me from his life I have never felt more vulnerable and childish…embracing my adulthood and realizing I have the right to happiness and am no longer controlled by him is a difficult thought process to move forward from,,,.i am grateful to have read there are other people in similar positions with similar perspectives. Relief abounds,

  86. Priya

    It may be an old post, but something most adults will be able to relate to. I have been married for 10 years and I cannot believe it has been so long. It feels like we just brought our daughter home from hospital few days back and now she is almost 5 years old. But, i guess it is a good thing. 🙂

  87. Miketually

    I flick through to a new blog post in Feedly and there’s my front door! That’s a slightly odd feeling 🙂

  88. Shannon @ GrowingSlower

    Ah I thought the exact same thing yesterday. An interviewer asked me how old I was, and I could hardly believe it as I heard myself say ’31’. Really? That sounds awfully grown up, so much more than I feel most days! More and more I think that the journey of parenthood is much more about we parents growing up and learning about ourselves and the world than it is even about teaching our children. 🙂

  89. Kristin

    Nope, I do not feel like a grownup! Whatever that means! 🙂 I’m 35, been married for almost a decade and a half, have an almost teenager. So I know I am. 😉 But I don’t feel like it. My mom asked a woman at our church, who is in her nineties how old she felt (not physically, of course!). She said 19.

  90. Sarah

    What are adults but just children grown up? I often think this about myself (and others) especially when I’m not at my best (cranky, impatient, mopey, etc.) But it helps me to be more forbearing of others’ shortcomings: I think most of how we behave as adults stem from our upbringing, for better or for worse! And maturity is how well we are able to rise above the shortcomings, as well as make the most of the advantages we had growing up.

  91. Lisa

    Everyday that I walk in our house, I can’t believe we own it. And we have owned it for 23 years! The days may seem to last forever, but the years fly by in a second. However I do feel like an adult, and am actually happy with where I am. I’m not eager to repeat my 20’s even though I’m nervous about my 50’s.

  92. Mercedes

    Wow… I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. Every time I answer those hard questions I feel such a big responsibility! Our children look up to us, we are their model to follow. And yet, we were children ourselves not long ago…

  93. Estelle

    OMG all the time! I have five kids (oldest is going to be 10) been married for 10 years together 12. Recently I looked at my husband and said ” I still feel like I’m 12.”
    “Really” he replied. “Yes.” I returned. He stopped, looked down and with a slightly worried expression turned and said “Can you at least feel 18.?”
    Me Head slap.

    • Alison

      I love that! ! He is attracted to you and wanted to make sure it is all legal!!! Today is our 23rd anniversary and while we are still attracted to each other, we are both injured and aging 🙂 My ACL and his hip is hurt so we laugh about it and will just have a Corona and watch the sunset.

  94. Alison

    Sometimes I use the phrase “not sure what I’m going to do when I grow up”. I’ve done so many wonderful things throughout tge seasons of our lives. Flexibility and availability are my greatest assests. It took me a while to see them as such becsuse I kept mentally competing with friends in solid career paths or clearly known callings of homeschool, entrepreneurship, or ministry. But I finally caught the beauty of my “hot-mess-me” and saw that maturity had indeed come. The relationships on my life are good and nurtured, my bills are paid and while my house isn’t kept, my word is. Today I celebrate 23 years of marriage! ! I still think I’m 24 until my body reminds me I’m not, but I remember all those years of goodness, frustration, ups, downs, sickness, health, dissapointments and love and know that being grown up is state of the heart . I wonder how I got here, but I’m so grateful I am .

  95. Amy

    We just bought our first home recently, and have lived in it for one month. Many times, as I am making dinner or wiping the counters or cleaning the bathrooms, have I thought, “I wonder when they’re coming home…” I keep having the feeling that I’m house-sitting, and only get to “keep home” temporarily. 🙂

    Also, I am 33, but still waiting to feel like a grown up! Now that my oldest in 8 years old, I find myself wandering in my memories of being that age, and it doesn’t feel that far away. 🙂

  96. Kerry Flemington

    Sometimes I look over my shoulder, waiting for some qualified authority to pounce and expose me for who I am: a 21 year old in a 39 year old body, highly unqualified to be making life-changing decisions, have a mortgage, be married to a wonderful guy, and have 4 beautiful children with him.

  97. Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D

    Oh, gosh I know this feeling. I look at someone I respect and realize that she’s a peer. She’s my age. Blows me away. I cannot possible be my age. Can I? 🙂

Join thousands of readers
& get Tsh’s free weekly email called
5 Quick Things,

where she shares stuff she either created herself or loved from others. (It can be read in under a minute, pinky-swear.)

It's part of Tsh's popular newsletter called Books & Crannies, where she shares thoughts about the intersection of stories & travel, work & play, faith & questions, and more.