How do you know when you are “grown up”? Is it when you turn 18? Is it when you buy your first house? I don’t think so.

To me being grown up is that point when you make the best decisions for well-being of your family, not what appear to be best to others. It is that point when you ask and truly listen to the advice of your peers. It is that point when you realize your children’s lives are more important than your own. It is that point when you choose sacrifice over comfort. It is that point when others are able to learn from your mistakes, because you let them.

There’s still a kid inside but you grow up when you decide to do right, okay, and not what’s right for you, what’s right for everybody, even when it hurts.

– Gus, from “Lars and the Real Girl”

The following, while written more from a female point of view, has some great “how to knows” (from June 2008, Redbook).

  • your desire to be the cool mom in the neighborhood is not as great as your desire to be the good mom
  • you realize that lounging, reading, chatting, listening to your iPod, and, yes, swimming in a swimsuit are much better uses of your time than worrying about how you look in one.
  • despite your utter disdain for campfire-cooked dinners and bug spray, you agree to spend the next three-day weekend camping with your husband, simply because it would make him happy.

I think is all boils down to…you are grown up when you sacrifice for others, instead of thinking of yourself.

How did you know that you had “grown up”?

Image: pierre lascott [via Flickr]