As a mom, we all need this reminder. We want happy days, easy times, moments of love and laughter with our kids. Oh how wonderful it would be if it was always like that.
But parenting is hard, so damn hard. There are days where we want to call “uncle” and run away. Days we wonder why we ever thought we would be a good parent. Days we question not only who our kids are but who we are as well. Days where we struggle to smile or pretend that we are all good. Days where we feel like mom-failures because we fall short of the expectations we placed on ourselves.
It’s all part of the process.
Being a mom has no expiration date. Even when our “kids” are adults, we are still their parent. Which means we still love and laugh, but also means we still struggle and hurt. Sometimes it feels like a thankless job and it wears us down.
Just keeping it real.
My daughter is a place of her life where she doesn’t want my advice. She knows people pay good money to get my advice but I’m not a therapist to her. I’m not a counselor or a professional, I’m just Mom.
She wants me to let her figure out her struggles on her own and learn from her mistakes. She wants me to love her but let her spread her wings. She wants to figure out who she is, separate from her dad and me. She wants to become her own person.
Last week she told me I had to “loosen the grip”.
Ouch. But she’s right.
She had a good point, even though it was hard to hear.
Side note: There were a lot of tears in that conversation but I know one thing…. sometimes you just need a good cry. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak, it just reminds us we have a heart.
Raising kids is counterintuitive. So many times we have the solutions to their struggles, the easy answers to their problems. But then it would be OUR solution, not theirs.
Their solution matters more than our solution for them. Their solution is what gives them roots and wings.
So the issue I’m wrestling with is how do I loosen the grip on one of the three most important treasures in my life? How do put a lid on all my fears? How do I let her skin her knees and learn?
I have to lean into faith over fear. I have to bite my tongue. Keep my hands in my pocket. Control my eye rolls. Not sigh so heavy. Observe and pray. Trust the process.
I’m realizing parenting is about discovery and recovery. It’s about setbacks, struggles and supporting them through it all. It’s about watching them push past their comfort zone, develop persistence and problem solving skills that will eventually what helps them climb any mountain they face as adults.
And the only way to do this is the break away from us and figure it for themselves.
I heard once that the closer you are, the more painful the inevitable break-away will be. They are becoming their own person so they have to individuate—they have to struggle to develop inner strength and determination and they have learn lessons through both their successes and their failures.
Will I be there to put a bandaid on her knees if they get skinned? For sure, but only if she wants me to. More importantly, I know she can find the bandaids if she needs them and she can figure it out for herself.
My daughter is strong, smart and feisty. I know deep down she will not only be okay,
she will soar and do amazing things in life. I just need to let her struggle through it right now. That’s my job as Mom.
Sometimes our kids are like the butterfly emerging from inside the cocoon and we want to hurry the process along because it’s hard to watch them struggle. But a butterfly coming out of its cocoon gains its strength, determination and fortitude all in the struggle. The struggle purifies them, makes them strong and gives them wisdom and sensitivity to others around them. Tried in the fire, they burst forth as the beautiful creature God intended them to be.
That struggle is producing something inside of both of her that is beautiful, defines her character and gives me hope. Struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that lets us grow and gives us the ability to fly.
So for now, I am aiming for patience and peace. For growth and guidance. For loving and letting go. Letting her discover and recover as she needs. Even if it means she struggles.
Hats off to all the moms who never gave up. Who sat with the struggles. Who never stopped showing up. Who walked through the fire. And who came out on the other side.
Going through a struggle or a hardship or a challenging stage with your child, and deciding to not surrender or give up, that is true strength.
Nothing great ever came easy.