Last night I attended a phenomenal talk given by Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of A Skinned Knee. She talked about the many, many ways that parents of my age are doing a disservice to our children. We do too much for them, we put too many school pressures on them, we enroll them in too many extracurriculars. We are robbing them of their childhoods. Their chance to play. And be.
I can’t begin to capture the entire discussion here, but I bought the book and can’t wait to get started on it. I saw myself in many of the instances she talked about. We, as parents, are trying to do the best we can for our children. Yet we are taking on more of their lives than is healthy for us or for them.
As a stay-at-home mother, my job right now is to nurture my children, to teach them, to guide them. Their independence and happiness has everything to do with how I am doing at my job. I take things personally, because I am personally invested.
But in the end, they will grow up to be adults.
And hopefully they will grow up to be adults who can problem solve. And take criticism gracefully. And make decisions for themselves.
But how are they to attain these valuable assets if they aren’t allowed to practice now?
Take last night. Asleep in my bed at 3am, through the monitor I heard a door open upstairs. I waited. Normally, at the first sound I would run upstairs to make sure whoever was up was OK. I would make sure they didn’t wake their sibling. I would fix the situation.
Last night, I waited. I listened.
Another door opened, and then a door closed. And that was it.
This morning, after I heard the children laughing and giggling, I went up to begin the get-ready-for-school process. It turns out Nick had woken up, gone into Maggie’s room and climbed into her bed. She woke up, saw him and they both went back to sleep.
All without my help.
So, I am reminded, once again, just how capable these beings are and how little credit I sometimes give them.