What does it mean to be an adult?

When do you become an adult? Is it based upon some age you reach? Some milestone?

I think some people assume you’re an adult when you are 18 years old and have the right to vote or join the military.

Others may think it’s at the age of 21 when you can walk into a bar and order a drink.

Some may think you’re an adult when you’ve got a job, your own home, and maybe a pet. Adulting is taking care of yourself and the things around you. Providing basic needs that are necessary to survive; a roof over your head, food in your belly, and clothing on your back.

Let’s see the boxes I can check:
– Married
– Mother of two
– Home owner
– 30 something years old
– College graduate
– Experienced professional in my career
– On the PTA
– Pet owner
– World traveler

After that list, many would assume that yes, I am an adult.  Not to mention that these days I spend my money on things like fertilizer, a new well pump, and a top of the line boiler because most adults spend money on things like that.

Never have I felt like an adult however. I tell my children to “chill out, dude”, I watch Disney movies, wear Star Wars pajamas, regularly hold dance parties in my kitchen, and freaking love boxed mac and cheese. I finally stopped collecting The Little Mermaid pariphanilia just a few years ago!

Maybe I have never felt older than my late teen years or early 20s; despite starting to feel old and definitely looking a bit old. Observing other women around me, I always assume they are adults. If there is a problem – they will take care of it. If someone needs to speak out as an adult, they will – not me. I’m just a kid still; in my heart.

I have never taken myself seriously, or have seen myself as an adult. When I go to parent/teacher conferences, I still struggle with what to wear; I want to give off an “adult vibe”. What that is, I have no idea. I have literally undid pigtails before walking into the school. Do adults even wear pigtails?

Through my many years of life I have never thought to be an adult – until now. I never thought of myself as an adult when I grew two babies inside of me; watching my belly grow with life and my house filling up with diapers, onesies, and toys.

I wasn’t an adult when I signed the deed to owning my house. Holding that envelope with my address and name for the first time I was probably wearing my light up flip flops.

Nor was I an adult when I got married or not as I’ve advanced through my career. I have never thought of myself as an adult doing adult things.

I was not an adult until the day that changed everything. I became an adult on the day we had to euthanize our family cat.

An animal that lives with you for more than 15 years and is your part of your family – the family cat. When the vet tells you she’s got kidney failure, is in so much pain and it’s up to you to make the right decision. That right there. That discussion. Those tears. That feeling. The knowing. That decision. That is what finally made me an adult.

My husband and I sat in the car on the way to say goodbye to our beloved and senior cat, Smudge, and I looked over at him with the tears in his eyes. I sniffled and wiped back my tears and said… so… this is what is feels like to be an adult.

And just like that life changed. Goodbye carefree, young girl. Hello, adult.

Jessie D’Amato Ford is a full time working momma from home. When she’s not hanging with her two children or working, she’s…wait, that doesn’t exist. Keep up with her anecdotes about life as a busy working mom her on her blog, These are days… (jessiedamatoford.com) and on Twitter @jmpld40 (https://twitter.com/jmpld40).


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