I would like to think I’m a good mom (most days). At least I try my best. Even though I may not always do or say the right thing or even know what the right thing is, there is one thing I know for certain. I would do absolutely anything for my child. It is completely true when they say you never know how deep love runs through you until you have a child. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her. And to me, I always believed that made me a good mom. But does it? I started to think it meant the opposite.
Let me explain. When I say I would do anything for my child, I do mean it in the way you might think. Take a bullet for, fight for, be silly for, go out of my comfort zone for. But now let’s see what happens when you replace the word anything with everything. And there in lies my problem. I began to notice a bad mom habit. Whenever I saw my child struggling to do something, I would say “No worries, let mommy do it”. Whenever I was in a rush and she was too slow, I would say “It’s ok. Let mommy do it.” For a long time, I didn’t notice the big mistake I was making.
Now that my little one is 4 years old, she is completely capable of doing so many things herself. Most of the time, she does. She actually refuses my help. But then there are times when she plays the “I can’t. I need you to do it” card (aka I’m being lazy). While I realize this behavior is pretty common, it’s the times when I ask her why I need to do it that made me think I was doing a disservice. She tells me, “Mommy does everything so I don’t have to.” She says it in a sweet and loving way, the way as to tell me she thinks it shows my love for her.
It’s true. She’s been potty trained since she was under 2 years old. Yet even at home, I still need to assist her from start to finish. When I ask her to show me that she can do it herself, she says she can’t. I tend to brush her teeth for her when I notice she’s doing it lazily instead of simply showing her the proper way. While all of her little friends dress themselves, my girl struggles a bit and hates doing it. Is that because I’ve always done it and haven’t encouraged her to do so more often? Sadly, I believe it to be true.
But there’s no point in playing the blame or shame game. To this point, I’ve always done what I believed was the right thing. There are no rules to motherhood and every child is different. We all learn as we go. I’ve been changing my ways and have quickly seen how that affects the independence of my daughter. She’s happily showing me all the things she can do now.
It’s hard sometimes to determine when your child is ready for what. It’s hard to see those signs of readiness and independence. It’s a constant fine line between encouraging and pushing. It’s also hard to acknowledge how much time is flying and how the little babes we’ve swaddled can now be these confident individuals. It’s hard to feel like you may be needed a little less everyday. And maybe that’s the real reason, some moms like myself, have held on so tight and inserted more “help” than necessary. To still feel just as needed today as we need when they were helpless. However, as sad as this fact makes me, I do know that she will always need me, even when she doesn’t realize it. I know this because no matter how old I get, I will always need my own mother. Maybe more some times and less others; maybe in various capacities. But how can I never not need the woman who gave her everything for me, the woman who said “I would do anything for you”. I hope I’m that kind of mom for my daughter. Not the kind of mom who she thinks does everything for her. But the kind who’s “I would do anything for you” means absolutely everything to her.