Pamela Adlon says being an almost-empty nester is 'upsetting': 'The meanest thing your kids can ever do to you is grow up'

Actress Pamela Adlon opens up about not fitting in as a mom. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Actress Pamela Adlon opens up about not fitting in as a mom. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
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Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of child-rearing.

Pamela Adlon has spent the last 25 years raising children, so it's no wonder she's having a hard time adjusting to life as an almost-empty nester.

"It’s going to make me cry," says Adlon, 56, whose two older daughters — actresses Gideon and Odessa Adlon — have already moved out of the house. "I can't even talk about it, it's so upsetting not being in touch all the time. It kills me. The meanest thing your kids can ever do to you is grow up."

Adlon received acclaim as the co-creator, director, co-writer and star of FX's Better Things, which mirrored her real life as the single mother of three kids. But the actress admits that she frequently felt like the odd one out around other moms early on in her parenting journey.

"From my first parenting class when I took my daughter and looked like a weirdo, nobody knew what to make of me. I was not like a 'real' mom lady," says Adlon, who wished she could peer inside other kids' lunchboxes to see how their mom was making lunch.

Slowly, she learned to navigate her way.

"With the first one, there was a lot more discipline, and the second one I was like 'I'm gonna let go of that.' The third one I was like, 'do whatever you wanna do,'" says the former Californication star, who considers her parenting style to be "teach a man to fish."

"They’re gorgeous, beautiful people," she says of her children, adding that her youngest is nonbinary. "That bond is intense. And it’s just an incredible gift."

Adlon was just a teen when she made her acting debut in 1982's Grease 2. Though her experience as a young actress hasn't always been rosy, she has no hesitation when it comes to supporting her daughters as they pursue their own acting dreams.

"I hate people who say 'I don't want my kid to be in the biz.' What kind of psycho hypocrite are you? Because things are so dire in the world now, why wouldn't you want your kids to have a passion or do something that fulfills them and makes them happy?" she explains. "And it gives them focus and discipline and it’s not hurting them. It's not like, me, in the '80s, and what me and all my friends went through. So I'm happy for them to have that."

The Emmy winner is making career moves of her own, making her commercial directorial debut with a campaign series for the period underwear brand Thinx. The first spot, “Saved by Sister,” supports the launch of Thinx Teens, a new line of period care for teens and preteens.

"It’s very bashert that I was able to do commercials for Thinx," says Adlon, referring to the yiddish word for destiny. "Because, it’s like a necessity. It’s the most brilliant, revolutionary idea and I’ve been using them for five years."

Adlon notes that her new directing gig is a hit with her family.

"They all said the exactly same thing," she says. ";Can we get free Thinx?'"

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