“A mother’s job is to teach her children to not need her anymore. The hardest part of that job is accepting success.” ~ unknown
The telltale signs of this success reveal themselves long before our children pack their bags and walk out the door to discover the adventure of their life. In fact, it’s been an ongoing progression that we have applauded as our children took these small steps to independence: dressing themselves, walking to school on their own, and making decisions on what clothes to wear and which friends to have. As time goes on, the baby steps turns into giant steps. Privacy demands kick up a few notches in the transition from dependency on us to independence from us.
The obvious takeaway from this is…
Don’t fight it, just see the change and understand the why behind it. Seems easy enough, but that doesn’t help much with the unresolved feelings that our children’s pulling away brings out.
If you are like me, my pride in my sons’ accomplishments was very strong. Shadowing my pride, however, was the realization that the boys needed me less and less.
As my boys disconnected from me and gravitated toward their friends and girlfriends, my sense of usefulness diminished. They were moving away from my rules and toward my advice. Sometimes. More often than not, my well-meaning advice fell on deaf ears. The hands-on guidance went by the wayside and I felt like a means to an end. I still had so much to give, yet they weren’t taking it. In short, I had lost sight of what was really important – their growing independence and development of becoming an adult.
Instead, my own issues crept in, compounding my buried insecurities. I woke one morning in a panic when I realized my issues were saturating my oldest son’s experiences. I penned an open letter, speaking mostly to him, but also to myself, sorting out the reasons for my feelings.
The real take away…
When our response to a healthy process, like our children’s movement toward independence, is a not-so-healthy knee-jerk reaction from our past, it is time we take back our control. We must first look inside, heal ourselves, and then build from there. And while we can’t control what is outside of us, we can control what is inside and how we handle it. It’s time for our baby steps to our own independence.
What other knee-jerk reactions are you experiencing? Are they affecting the way you interpret your child’s growing independence? Please let me know in the comments below.