“Mom, where are my shin guards?”
“Mom, do you know where my turn shoes are?”
“Hey Mims (that’s what my 14 year old calls me), do you know where a charger is?”
My newest response? “Be a Super Sleuth!”
That phrase comes from a Disney Junior show called, “My Friends Tigger and Pooh” where a team consisting of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Darby, and Buster go on sleuthing adventures and investigations throughout the Hundred Acre Wood. It resonates with my older children because they grew up watching this sweet little show.
In parenting, the easy button isn’t always the best option. Giving into our kids when they’re throwing a tantrum in the middle of the candy aisle may make them quiet for the time being but what happens the next time we are in that very same aisle? Are we going to continue encouraging the tantrum or be the adult when it’s hard, set boundaries, and expectations?
The easy button and coddling feels good! It makes us feel accomplished in the realm of mommyhood. It allows us to be the hero in the eyes of our children. In a world where we are constantly comparing our kid’s science projects to someone else’s beautiful Pinterest worthy approach, we want to measure up. Keeping up with the Karens.
Confession, up until my recent discovery of how I was raising my kids, I did practically everything under the sun for them. It wasn’t until I began listening to podcasts about helicopter and lawn mower parenting that I realized that I wasn’t doing my kids any justice by solving their every problem and filling their every need. My job is to equip, prepare, and encourage my children to navigate this big scary world on their own. I can’t be their side kick all the days of their lives and I absolutely don’t want to be.
In Julie Lythcott-Haims book, “How to Raise an Adult” she talks about how parents over involve themselves to the point of following up on college interviews themselves, uprooting their lives to live near college campuses, and approaching professors to question their children’s grades. As parents we want to see our kids succeed so we go to great lengths to ensure they do so. Sometimes crossing boundaries and lines. In the process we aren’t equipping our children and empowering them to be their very own advocates.
A recent epipheME (that’s what I call a personal revelation)…my oldest is 14, a freshman in high school, a perfectly capable human being. I was still making his lunch everyday before he went to school. I hadn’t given him the opportunity to make his own lunch. I wanted to have the satisfaction of making it, writing a perfect little inspirational quote for him to find each day, and feel super special in doing so. My excuse, he’s a vegetarian and there aren’t vegetarian options at school. I need to make sure he has something to eat. Reality…he is, and has been perfectly capable of making his lunch for quite some time. I NEEDED to let go of the reigns. Give my kids the tools to succeed, sit back, and PRAY that God work in and through my absence.
When I let go, I give my kids independence and an opportunity to figure things out on their own. An opportunity for self motivation and to be empowered by the decisions they get to make all by themselves, which my 14 year old applauded me for later. He said he was thankful that I was giving him space and an opportunity to figure things out on his own.
So mama, I get it! I want to make things super easy for my kids. I don’t ever want them to feel like they are struggling, alone, or anxious or scared but when I give them the tools to navigate life’s throws, I give them an opportunity to celebrate their very own triumphs.