We all know letting go of our children can be hard. How do you know that it’s time to let your kids explore a little more on their own? This week, The Mom Squad discusses our experiences with letting go.
As a parent and a person, I’m a little neurotic and have major separation anxiety when it comes to my kids. But I have worked really really hard to not let this side show to them or to affect them. When my first child was a baby, I was like many other new parents. I kept close tabs on her and took her with me wherever and whenever I could.
Then when she was about 6 months old, I started to back off and let her explore on her own more. I referred to it as “semi-supervised play”. Of course, I would still keep tabs on her and make sure she was safe. I just backed off and let her do her thing more without me right on top of her all the time. It’s important to me that she learns independence and feels comfortable being on her own.
It was a great thing I started younger with her too! When my son was born she was about 2 ½, and while she still needed her Mommy, she was perfectly happy playing on her own and it made the transition so much easier. I did the same with my son, and he has done really well. Both kids are happy to play together or on their own.
My kids love going to parks and playing outside! When we go to playgrounds I let them do their own thing as much as possible. I try my best to find the balance of keeping a close watch on them without following them around. They know if they need help all they have to do is ask and I’m there. If they want to try the ladder but aren’t sure or want to try out the “big kid” swing instead of the baby swing, I’m happy to help.
Of course, kids will sometimes fall, bonk heads, or get stuck in a situation they can’t handle. Those are all totally normal and expected parts of childhood. How we handle those situations is just like any other parenting situation. Some run to their kids right away, others hang back to see if it’s really serious or the kids is just being dramatic. I personally choose to be somewhere in the middle. If my kids fall, I’m there to scoop them up, but first I hang back a bit to see if they NEED me to. Sometimes they need to realize that they will be ok and just because they fell and it was scary doesn’t mean they need Mommy. It’s all a part of growing up.
Last week, Claire fell off the ladder at the playground we were at. I was watching her and saw the whole thing. But being a Mom of 2 kids means that you have to be somewhere in the middle and you are constantly torn in one direction or another. I was sitting on our picnic blanket with my son getting his snack ready when she fell, so it took me a minute to get over to her. In that brief moment it took for me to get across the playground, a group of nearby Moms jumped up and ran to her. While I do appreciate that act of compassion that they had for my daughter, they also shot me horrible looks and made mean and judgemental comments about me under their breath as they were walking away. Really!? It’s not like I was ignoring my kid. I got to her as soon as I possibly could. She’s 4 years old and perfectly capable of playing on the playground on her own. She had been on the same ladder hundreds of times before with little to no incidents. And WHY do I feel like I need to justify my parenting yet again!? Uhg...
It can be hard for me to hang back and watch my child get hurt, but if they don’t they won’t learn consequences for their actions. They know I’m always there for them, I’ll always love and support them, and that is what is most important to me. So please oh please, fellow parents: lets all stop the judgement! We’re all doing the best we can with what we got. I’ll do it my way and you do it yours, and hopefully we can all just laugh at all the ridiculousness of parenting together!
I’ve always let my kids be very independent. Even when my kids were really little, I tried not to be on top of them so much. I let them explore and figure things out on their own, but I’ve always been close by to make sure if they got in a REAL jam, I’d be there.
My son is a total nutjob. He falls about 150 times a day and sometimes they look HORRIFIC. But I’m his Mom. I know when he’s really hurt and when he’s just looking for attention. I don’t play into the attention much because that’s just not how I roll. But I also understand, there are MANY parents out there who feel differently than me. And you know what? That’s TOTALLY fine.
I don’t judge other parents if they want to go up on the play structure with their kids. They like to be there, and that’s fine with me because who am I to judge how someone else parents their kid. What absolutely drives me nuts? Parents who judge me because I’m not a helicopter parent. Because I don’t run to my son the second he falls down. Because if he’s climbing down a ladder, and I know he can do it, I back off until he really needs me. But boy am I accosted with looks, social media statuses, and articles about what a horrible parent I am because I’m not following him all over the playground.
The other day at the park, I was posted on my normal hill that gives me the best view of the whole park. There is one little spot behind a wooden house that I can’t see very well but my kids don’t spend much time back there so I don’t worry much. I lost sight of my son for maybe 30 seconds only to hear my daughter yell “Mom! Milo fell!”. So I of course got to my feet and hoofed it over to him because I couldn’t see him and I wanted to make sure he was ok. And guess what? He was totally fine. Either way, I picked him up and cuddled him for a second and he was off! He was out of my eyeline for not even a minute, but accidents happen and unfortunately I missed it. This DOES NOT make me a bad parent. This makes me HUMAN.
The way we do things works for my family. I don’t need to be on top of my kids all the time for them to know I love them. They know I’m watching them, I’m always letting them know where I am and to make sure they know I know where they are. It works for our family, and I’m sick and tired of people making judgements about other people’s parenting because it’s not what THEY do. My kids are fine, in fact, my kids are awesome. They know that I’m there whenever they need me, but they also know they need to figure things out for themselves because if I know they are capable, they have to at least try. But I’ll always be there to pick them up when they fall. ALWAYS.
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