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Parenting & the Struggle of Letting Go

When my daughter was little it was really important to me to make sure she had everything she could have wanted or needed and that I did the best job possible as a mom. I read all the books, bought all of the gadgets, and kept everything sterilized. I was the perfect mother in every way and I can say with confidence that I earned the title supermom with my superior parenting skills.

I read to her, sang to her, breastfed her when she was a newborn and prepared the healthiest meals possible for her as she grew into a toddler. I never put my own needs first and didn’t pass her around from babysitter to babysitter because I needed a break.

I watched her and cared for while completely ignoring my own needs for many years. I despised moms that never spent time with their kids and didn’t put their needs first, my daughter is my number one and has been since day one.

I was just about to turn 21 when I had my daughter on July 30,2005.  Our birthdays are just 6 days apart which meant my daughter shared the astrological sign of Leo with me. I have never been too much into Astrology but I did always find it interesting how many things they got right about me.

It turns out my daughter also shares a lot of the standard Leo traits, we are very much alike although she is book smart and I was more street smart at her age. I wish a nice balance of those two traits for her, both book smart and street smart, but I feel the way you are brought up has everything to do with it.

She is privileged in every way, while at her age, my family was facing struggles that she will only ever know about by watching movies or hearing my stories.

I never had a traditional healthy family and I had no clue what that was outside of movies or stories I would hear. Sure, I turned out alright and despite what it may seem like I really don’t hold onto any grudges from my childhood, well there are a few but overall I am happy with it.

It did turn out great, I am living a life now that I used to dream about when I was a kid. I often fantasized about having everything and everyone that I actually have at this point in time.

That saying I’m living the dream is actually true for me, I really did get everything I always wanted, well aside from winning the lottery but that may come at a later date. The point is that I wouldn’t change anything at the risk of it turning out differently because this really was what I always wanted. That is my disclosure in case my parents are reading this although every word of it is true.

While raising my daughter I am of course still trying to do everything right and now that she is eleven, about to turn twelve this Summer, I am struggling with the changes in parenting that comes with an older child.

She is growing up so fast and has officially flipped the script on me.

I can’t do every little thing for her anymore although I fight the urge constantly. Even with and maybe especially the little things, when she leaves a dirty cup on the table, rather than picking it up and cleaning it, I make her do it.

When she wants popcorn or a glass of milk I have been letting her get it for herself, she has chores and has more responsibilities than ever before that she is held accountable for. It really is baby steps but then there are the big things that are popping up these days too which are even harder to let her handle on her own.

When a kid at school gives her a hard time my first reaction is to head over to their house and scream at their parents until the kids apologize. When a teacher clearly doesn’t see how fantastic she really is I turn red while aggressively talking to them about how my daughter is obviously superior, this actually works by the way.

It comes off as a lot more endearing when it is the mom from the show The Goldbergs that is acting like a “Smother” as they call it than when I do it.

I realize that she needs to learn to stand up for herself and if need be I am here for her but someday I won’t be and I want her to be able to get through it even though I can’t help.

Although I hardly ever slept when she was a baby and was constantly making sure everything was perfect for her in those days, I can’t believe how much easier it was than it is now. Watching her struggle to figure things out for herself is hard and sometimes I intervene anyway because I feel I know best.

I am constantly trying to work at letting her be more responsible and get things done on her own, make her own decisions, letting her fail on occasion as we all once did but it is a constant struggle, reminding myself that she isn’t that little kid anymore. 

Parenting the right way is never easy I guess, from the time you bring them home all the way through the time you have to stand back and watch events unfold that make you cringe every step of the way.

We just don’t know how the things we do today are going to affect them later in life. The best parenting move we can make is to teach them how to do things on their own when they are ready to learn.

They need to be given the chance to grow and learn how to handle situations in their own lives so they can grow up to be responsible adults. We really won’t be there forever and it is their lives after all, not ours, so we need to let them live it. 

Lissa Crane

Monday 8th of May 2017

This, to me, is the hardest about being a parent! I think I worry about my kids their whole lives!

melissa craig

Sunday 7th of May 2017

It is so hard mine are 13 and 15, and my fifteen year old will be graduating and off to college in 2 years, I am having a hard time of letting go, they will be gone way to soon.

Terra Heck

Wednesday 3rd of May 2017

Very well said! I have six kids (three my own and three step-children). It's been super hard seeing them grow up. They're all fantastic so I assume I've done okay with my parenting but I find myself having to hold back when I really want to interject and protect. By the way, I saw that you live in Cedar Rapids. My bestie is actually moving there in less than a month. *tears* I'll be up that way visiting sometimes. Maybe we'll cross paths.

DAWN Gibson-Thigpen

Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

i dont have any kids but i can imagine how hard it would be to let go


Wednesday 19th of April 2017

I am going through all of this with my daughter as well. It is hard to let go as they grow up. In some respects I am ready for it, and in others I want her to stay my baby girl.