When my Daughter finally got back to campus in August, she had a lot of readjusting to do. She was living with roommates and not parents. She was adjusting to doing things in person once again, and she had a lot on her plate. Plus, COVID still had restrictions all over the place with certain things.

Her schedule included five classes, and one class that required her to go to an elementary school to observe onsite. She had an internship. Part time job. Deputy editor at the paper. At least two other clubs she was an active member. Some sort of scholar program. Homework. And President of a volunteer organization that wasn’t able to recruit new members last year because it wasn’t able to be done virtually, and they were still unsure of the status this year as to whether the university students would be allowed to go onsite to actually do the volunteering, and seemed like it was going to be an organization of three.

So August was a tad stressful for my daughter.

I was on the phone with her one morning as she explained everything to me. I heard her voice rise about five octaves. I made a suggestion about something.

One suggestion about one thing after she regaled me with tales of all the above things I mentioned, the stress clearly coming through on the phone.

I said one thing…

She bit my head off. Told me that she was an adult. Told me that my making the suggestion was making her more stressed. Told me I needed to butt out and not meddle.

OK fine. I dropped it.

Later that day, I was standing on the subway platform.

Young woman, late twenties probably, was waiting for the train, which was six minutes away.

Woman gets a phone call.

Woman: Hi Mom.

Woman: Yeah the apartment was really nice.

Women: Well, it’s a little small but…

See her walking in circles

Women: No its not a shoebox it’s…

She starts to tap her foot

Women: No there isn’t a window in the bathroom or kitchen but…

looking down track waiting for train to appear quicker

Women: But Mom it’s the best apartment I’ve found

runs her hand through her hair distractedly

Women: Yes I would love an apartment with big closets and lots of windows but…

look of pure distress

Women: But Mom...

exasperated sigh

Women: Oh Mom- there’s the train. Need to go.

She shuts her phone and waits three more minutes for train.

So my question is: Do Mom’s always try to give unneeded or unwarranted advice? Is it just hardwired into being a Mom?

Can we just not help ourselves?

Do Mothers always feel they need to tell there children what to do? Is it worse with Mothers and Daughters?

94 thoughts on “Can Moms Help It

  1. Well……I could identify 100% with this post…lol. I’m 60 and still feel extremely compelled to offer suggestions/advice to my daughter, and I suspect that feeling will always be there…..I think it’s “hardwired” into us moms. The only difference, as I’ve gotten older and wiser….and now that she’s married….is that I have learned that I often need to put a piece of duct tape over that “little voice’s” mouth when she tries to give her unsolicited 2 cents…………….in order to preserve peace and harmony……..lol. Too many times I’ve let “that woman” have her way…and her say…..and it usually does not go well and I later regret giving her free reign. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

      1. It may just be my personal observation/opinion, but, I have found the ‘younger generation’ to be much quicker at becoming offended than previous generations. ….and a tendency for them to completely ‘misinterpret’ one’s meaning/intent.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I think adult children generally take offense whenever parents give advice. It’s not that parents necessarily give bad advice, it’s just that we dare to even have advice to give. They would gladly accept advice from someone else but tend to get defensive when that advice comes from mom! My oldest son still gets annoyed sometimes if I put my two cents in. I’ve learned over the years that it’s better to wait until they ask for help rather than just assuming they want my two cents. I have one son who freely asks for my opinions while the other one tends to limit it to educational advice for his children. I always felt it was my job to offer help. But once I became a mother in law I realized I should take a step back and let my son’s wife help with his family decisions rather than his mother. Lol
        We are so used to taking charge as a mom that it’s hard to step away from those dynamics. .

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh yes. To all your questions.
    I also think my generation hands out more advice than my mother’s.
    It does get better as one grows older – we learn to control our impulse to pour out advice, and our daughters realise that some of our advice actually works.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your situation seems very different from the conversation the girl and her mother were having on the phone. There is giving advice and then there is butting in. Some parents are oblivious to the distinction.

    I used to do this a lot more, but now I simply listen and ask whether they want me to help or if they just want me to listen. Sometimes, they just want to vent. I also believe some parents are offended when their advice is ignored.

    That’s a topic for another post. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. My experience is, no. As a mom, I cannot help it. It’s my job, right? To save my offspring from hurt and suffering by offering the wisdom of my years.
    But I offer a bit of hope. I’ve gotten better. Learned, from having my head bitten off many times, to take a breath and offer a simple, “I’m sorry.” Or “That’s hard and I’m sorry you are having to deal with that.” And then I say no to my impulse to follow up with a text an hour later with one little nugget of advice–like eighty-five percent of the time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This was just one little thing I said to her after listening to all the things in her life, and I thought my idea would relieve some stress!!😆


  5. Personally, yes to all the questions you asked! I have managed to learn to read my kids pretty well and can tell most of the time by the way they phrase things if they are seeking input or if I need to give them respect by at least asking first to give my thoughts. Your daughter is young. Give her into her thirties to reach a different level of maturity. They tend to be more accepting at that point!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. She’d given me a litany of a bunch of things, and this was one thing about something she didn’t really want to do but it kind of fell to her…but I’m trying to keep my opinions to myself

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Obviously I have no idea, being a father and not a mother. I can write here, however, that I’ve had to reel in my advice giving at times to both boys. I’ve actual,ly reworked my whole paradigm on this topic. Too much to write here, yet the essence of it for me, is to always remember that mistakes and failures are part of learning…which means, I give advice less often today than ever before. Was hard for me, is hard for me, and yet, it has proved beneficial for everyone…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m normally a let them fail, but she sounded so stressed about everything, and I gave advice on something that was thrown in her lap and not something she really wanted, so I thought it was ok to chime in…😆

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Been here…a lot. Seems like when my daughters are venting and I give advice it just does not go over well. I’m not sure what they want because frankly they will ask me what would you do? I have yet to find a great way to deal with this. I have tried just agreeing and saying yes, no, nod my head etc. but then I hear I don’t care😵‍💫. So I try to give a very small
    Supportive suggestion and in rare occasion I do hear, thanks. Usually I hear “Mom, you just don’t understand!” I think this is all part of a mother daughter loving each other unconditionally bond!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It always comes from a place of love. My son is 5 years old, he’s going to be 6 soon, and I need to let him be. I need to land the helicopter and stop myself from correcting him. I just want him to have a happy life but he needs to figure out how to handle disappointment, embarrassment, all the bad stuff without me trying to shield him from it. Thank God I don’t have a daughter. I feel like I would be ever worse at this parenting thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. My daughter and I usually have a pretty good relationship. I had occasion to drive her car this morning and it was almost out of gas. I filled her car up and then said something momlike about not letting your gas run too low–but she took it okay. We have some good natured bickering about cooking related topics on occasion. She has some mother hen tendencies and she has “mothered” me a bit in the aftermath of my husband’s death.

    My daughter vents about her job occasionally. Since she works in a different field I usually just listen because I am not always sure about the best way to proceed.

    My son has been sick a lot this fall—I have given him my opinions on why this is–but he doesn’t want to listen. We still get along pretty well.

    My parents were very controlling on what they thought was best for me when I was a young adult so I try to tread carefully when giving advice.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’ve written about this very topic when my daughter bit my head off about my unsolicited advice. It’s a post that I wrote years ago and it pops up as still being read. I’ve learned to be a better listener since then. I wait for my kids to ask me for advice. But, I still lapse from time to time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This wasn’t really advice much as giving her thoughts on one situation that was a bit precarious…but I’m really trying not to say anything


  11. I am amazed (and admittedly irritated) at the number of times I’ve given my daughter advice, only to have it shrugged off as something that wouldn’t work in her circumstances…until someone else says the same thing and she embraces it. My adult sons at least listen to my advice. Maybe in their head they think it won’t work. But never say it. Seems to be a difference between sons and daughters!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. LOL I have been focusing on the phrase, “If it were me…” instead of “you should…” Sometimes I can actually control myself. I also say, “The mom in me would tell you…” In my son’s case (age 33) in particular I find it amusing when he says, “Steve (one of his best friends) says…” and I say, “yeah, I suggested that the other day too. Glad Steve validated my suggestion.” The response to my offered advice is usually , “Mom, it’s not 1973 you know.” Hopefully I’m not like the mom of the girl on the train platform though.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Oh my, I have the exact opposite issue, my kids are always giving me unsolicited advice and opinions about what I should do, how I should eat, who I should avoid, and such! They even complain about my lack of interference in their lives. I was raised with hands off parents and I suppose I’ve adopted the same style. If I see they are headed in an egregious direction I will offer an opinion, if it’s ignored, so be it, if I saved their sorry ass, good for all. As I’m browsing your comments I see I am a anomaly, so here’s to anomalies, Happy Thanksgiving LA! Hugs, C

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Definitely hardwired….what is funny is that we can’t win! Either they yell at us for giving advice or … when I do keep my mouth shut and silently count to 10 , my daughter will say…. “well aren’t you going to say something!”

    Liked by 3 people

  15. This reminds me of husband/wife relationships. Sometimes our kids just want to VENT. We think they want HELP or ADVICE… instead, they just wanted to get frustrations off their chest. Unfortunately, we are trained to try and fix things, so we give advice, which makes them regret talking to us, because now we made them feel stupid, like they can’t handle things. When this happens, I’ve learned to jokingly say… Oops, looks like I missed responding to your “love language” here. THAT will make her laugh. My way of saying, GIVE ME A BREAK, I was trying to HELP, but I will BE QUIET now. 🙂 Whether its kids/spouse/friends/family — it’s all about the love language. That is a good book, not sure if you’ve read it.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Well, that’s why we need a “code word” or something when we do it and the other person gets irritated. Reminding THEM, we did not give unwanted advice on purpose, and a REMINDER to THEM that THEY do it too, so let’s ALL be CALM, give a HUG and be happy that “giving advice,” means we WERE LISTENING!! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I think parents in general like to offer suggestions to be helpful, but there are times we need to let go and simply support our kids’ decisions. That’s often what they are seeking, not an idea for something different but validation for their choices. On the flip side, I was asking my daughter for suggestions once thinking it was a sign of respect and recognizing that she had grown and had valid suggestions to offer me. She became very irritated and shouted, “Why are you always asking for help! You’re an adult, go look it up on the computer! Find a YouTube video!” I knew I could have looked it up myself, but I was trying to acknowledge her knowledge and experience. You never know how people will interpret your intentions 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My daughter sounded so stressed about everything. I knew that 95% of it she would figure out…there was one thing I thought she was over her head. My guess is she knew she was and didn’t want to admit it

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I have been a really slow learner on this topic. I have only in the past year or so come to realize that my adult kids do not want unsolicited advice … any unsolicited advice. I’d like to say that I never give out any unsolicited advice any more, but unfortunately I still slip up now and then. I remember how my mom, who is now deceased, used to give me a ton of advice that I never asked for, and I remember how I hated it. She’d telephone me and say things like “Janet’s daughter lets her kids do such-and-such on the computer, can you imagine that?” And I’d say “Oh wow really?” – and meanwhile my kids were busy playing on the computer as we chatted 🙂 I was usually happy to hang up the phone.

    I’ve found it best to just listen, and say things like “That sounds hard” or “I’m sorry”. In my family, even one little suggestion can cause my daughters to become frustrated. They only want an ear to vent and someone to provide sympathy.

    I feel really bad for that woman on the platform. I sure hope she rented the apartment.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I admit, I don’t want advice. My mom told me yesterday that my eyebrow pencil color was wrong shade. It didn’t please me to hear this unsolicited advice…😆


  18. I’m 35, but have always appreciated when someone (usually motherly older women) first ask, “Would you like my opinion or do you just need a good listening ear right now?” I feel that even if I initially don’t want someone’s opinion, I end up asking for it because of their courtesy to ask and respect that sometimes people just need to vent.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. My Buddhist meditation teacher (a wise woman of 70+) says that ‘unsolicited advice is a plague, and should be avoided at all costs!’

    But listening is good. Reflecting back what they’ve said is good. Giving a hug or telling them you love them and they’re doing a great job is good.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Oh my… well this just hit me right where hurts. Lol I’ve had both of these convos with my daughter… and I die inside right when my mom has the same with me! Lol. Funny thing is that I know I can’t do/say these things with my son… I never give advise to him I always ask questions in a way that he comes to my advise on his own… lol why don’t I do this with my daughter?!? Probably because she’d see right through it. 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  21. As to whether or not mothers can help it – yes, of course they can. It’s easier if you started early, for if you wait till your daughter’s ready to fly, it’s a big change. It does sound like your daughter’s ready to spread her wings and only wants your opinion and/or advice when she asks for it. Now you need to do the really hard bit of parenting which is letting her go to become the adult she’s going to be, and trust that you’ve already done the good work. Your relationship with your daughter is changing – how you act now will set the scene for its future nature. It’s time to enjoy having an grown-up relationship with your adult child – I promise you it’s so very rewarding.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Sadly mom’s can’t help it. I remember when I went off to University. I lived in a commune with a bunch of my friends. My mom absolutely hated every single thing about the apartment, and made sure I knew about it for 3 months. Which was funny because I absolutely adored it and I loved it. But it was just frustrating but at the same time I understood. I was becoming a adult and sadly she couldn’t control everything and give me things the way she exactly loved it. I kind of felt sorry for her whenever I snapped. It’s all love and comes from a place of love.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah. I get that. But when it becomes too overbearing you run the risk of losing the relationship. I know I see my mom less because the constant critique and opinion sharing isn’t enjoyable or healthy for me emptionally

      Liked by 1 person

  23. As children grow up, mothers especially may feel that they are less important in their grown up’s life. This could be one of the reasons as to why there seems to be a desperate attempt to be problem solvers always. As adults we need our mothers to support us in different ways. Perhaps reassuring your grown up about her abilities to handle her problems and encouraging her to pursue her own adventures could be a great way showing that you care.

    Saying that, I see no reason as to why anyone should be upset hearing their mom’s suggestions. It’s also the grown up’s responsibility to be aware of how parents are handling transitional periods. Communicating how one wants to be cared for and supported can strengthen relationships.

    There hasn’t been a day where I felt that I no long need my mom. Unfortunately life has been unfair and has taken her away from me in the middle of my teens.

    Motherless daughter 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. They thought you are trying to impose in them on what to do, but being a mother, you will always see them as child that still need your advice while they won’t understand your perspective. As a mother, give yours and leave them to take their final decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. It doesn’t get much better with age either. In a recent conversation with my mom, she launched into a diatribe of “suggestions” about something related to one of our children. I may or may not have done the same thing the young lady on the train platform did! I’ve tried to go the route of just asking questions (sometimes they are rhetorical) instead of inserting my opinion about a topic. In doing that, sometimes I get more insight into what/how they are really saying. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

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