This week’s Hump Day Hmm topic: “How far would you go for your kids/family/loved one/self?” I vary the who it is because really, that’s up to you, as is the interpretation of the question. Maybe it’s 500 miles through a hot and crowded zoo. Maybe it’s a move to another country. Maybe it’s setting aside something you do. Maybe it’s a life change, such as getting sober. How far would you go? Far enough to talk about it? Check out more participants at Using My Words
When I had my kids, I became a total MamaBear. I always did everything I could for them and didn’t regret it one bit. There are lots of MamaBears (and PapaBears) here in Stepford who are always making sure that their kids are having the perfect childhood experience. As I am watching these children grow older, and as I am watching my children grow older, I am having a new revelation.
The best thing I can do for my kids is nothing.
Don’t get me wrong here. When I say “nothing”, that doesn’t mean that I won’t make sure they are in the best school possible, or have the OT they need for their dysgraphia, get them music lessons, take them to Verdi concerts, and stuff like that. What I mean is that I will let them fight their own battles, get a taste of failure, and basically have a few hard knocks.
Believe it or not, sitting back and doing nothing is really, really, hard. It is a lot harder than stepping in and taking over. Taking over and doing things yourself might be faster and easier in the short term, but when you do that, your child will never grow up. They will always be needing an active parent, even when they are well past the age they should need one. There are more than a few articles out there these days about the children of Helicopter Parents and how they are having a hard time growing up.
Sure, it’s hard to watch your kid mess up on a school project, especially since you just KNOW that so many other parents will go in there and do it for their kids. But it is the wrong answer. They have to understand that mommy and daddy won’t be there to bail them out forever, and that lesson is a lot easier to learn at 10 than at 20. The same goes with personality problems at school. You can’t step in (unless it is outright bullying or harassment, but I think you understand what I’m talking about here) to solve every hurt feeling in the classroom or on the playground. If you do that, your child won’t develop the skills to judge the character of those around them, or to learn to stand up for themselves.
The natural instinct of the MamaBear is to protect her child from every hurt, bump, bruise, and inconvenience, but the truth of the matter is some of those hurts are necessary for the BabyBear to grow. In order to let those things happen, the MamaBear has to sit back and occasionally do nothing. And nothing can be the hardest thing to do.