Language
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
Back to Firefly Blog

Adulting

Adulting

Adulting. You’ve undoubtedly seen the memes or heard people talk about how they don’t want to “adult” today. If, like my husband, you’ve never heard the word before (at least in that context), it means the practice of behaving like a responsible adult.

I remember the exact day, time and circumstances of the first time I felt like an adult.

Strangely enough, it wasn’t when I went away to university.

Nor was it when I got my first job or even when I got married. And although I probably started to feel a bit more “adultish” after the birth of my first daughter, it wasn’t then, either.

It was on the 30th of September 2011 at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

I was working from home when the nanny came into my office, carrying my six-month-old daughter and said “Miss Z is acting funny. What should I do?”

I remember very clearly taking Z from her and noticing how she seemed to be very stiff and rigid and her breathing was rapid, shallow and strangely rhythmic.

I had no idea what was wrong with her.

I had no idea what to do. The only other adult at home was the nanny, and she was waiting for me to tell her what to do.

I was the adult. I had to decide.

“I think we need to call an ambulance,” I said.

I had never had to call an ambulance in my life. As far as I knew, you only called an ambulance when someone had a heart attack or was hit by a car. But calling one because your baby was acting funny? Would the paramedics tell me off for over-reacting? Would the 000 operator even agree to send an ambulance?

I became the adult.

I made the decision and called an ambulance. The paramedics did not tell me off - probably because they were too busy saving Z’s life. The funny behaviour turned out to be a status seizure that took over an hour and several powerful drugs to stop.

During the hour or more that it took the paramedics and then the Emergency Room doctors to end the seizure, Z stopped breathing twice. She had to be incubated and spent nearly a week in intensive care.

In many ways Miss Z’s story, and my story as her mother, started on that day.

She had been a difficult baby and there were missed milestones, test referrals and concerns that came before that horrible day, but it was September 30th, when my husband and I stood in the Resus area of the Emergency Department and watched 18 doctors and nurses working on Miss Z that the seriousness of the situation and the frightening possibility of what lay ahead became clear.

And it was from that day onward that we have had to make difficult, grown-up decisions about our daughter on a regular basis.

Miss Z makes me “adult”.

From that day onward, I’ve always needed to be ready to take difficult decisions – Will this surgery improve her quality of life? Is she sick? Should I call an ambulance?

And caring for Z is a constant job. It includes everything from basic care, like changing her nappy, dressing her and trimming her fingernails, to drawing up and administering her medication to coordinating her multiple medical and therapy appointments each month.

I’m often up in the middle of the night, helping her to breathe by suctioning her and repositioning her because she can’t roll over in bed by herself.

I watch for seizures and give her emergency medication if a seizure runs too long. I take her temperature and monitor her SATS levels and respiration rate when she is unwell.

Caring for Z requires constant adulting.

However, one thing I’ve learned while I’ve been adulting is that it doesn’t mean my life is without joy. Miss Z, and her sister are constant sources of happiness and laughter and just plain goofiness in my life.

And watching the two girls together is my greatest source for joy.

And it doesn’t mean I have to behave like an adult all the time – as Miss Z and her sister will tell you. When I’m with the girls I sing, and dance and make up songs about “poonamis” (those massive dirty nappies that swamp everything like a tsunami).

I got my nose pierced for my birthday, because I fancied it. As Z’s sister heads into the pre-teen years, I am increasingly amused the ways I (usually inadvertently) manage to embarrass her.

Being an adult also means learning my limits and asking for and accepting help.

It means taking time for myself so that I can live to “adult” another day. Being a responsible adult means knowing that I need to stay strong and healthy to make those hard decisions. This is a work in progress for me, but I’m learning that being an adult doesn’t mean doing everything by myself.

Adulting. It can be hard and it can bring joy, but most of all, it doesn’t need to be done alone.

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

One of the Wonders

Meet Our Blogger

I'm the mum of two beautiful, vibrant, opinionated girls, one of whom has a complex, life-limiting condition. Living in Australia (a place I'd never expected to end up), I try to balance caring for my daughters with a career as a writer/researcher, a serious caffeine habit and occasional running (or jogging... or walking around the block with the dog).

View Sarah’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on

Purchases on $99+

US Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of $99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 6 month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 6 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00.
  • Individual items that are less than $99 qualify for special financing when combined for a total of $99 or more in a single transaction.
  • Multiple separate transactions of less than $99 per transaction cannot be combined to meet the minimum purchase amount.

Purchases of $98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend $98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • If approved, we start you off with a minimum credit line of at least $250. See FAQs for more info.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00. See Terms and Conditions tab for more info.
  • If you miss a payment your late fee could be up to $38, even less if it's your first time. See FAQs for more info.

Please wait...