I know that, right now, some of you are already thinking to yourself. I CAN’T trust my child. Their choices have me seriously questioning their thinking. Well, today, we aren’t talking about trusting them. Today, we are talking about trusting ourselves.
Remember when you brought home your baby for the first time? When everything was new, and you had this little person in your arms that depended on you for everything? It felt like your whole world revolved around figuring them out. How often would they eat? How often would they sleep? Which cries meant they were hungry or hurt and which ones meant they were fussy or tired? Your entire being became devoted to that little baby, whether or not you were ready for it.
Over time, you read books about when to introduce solid foods and how much tummy time was needed because no one wants their child to have to endure that little helmet to reshape their head.
Their entire childhood, you prepared the path and then watched them reach milestone after milestone. You set toys just out of reach to encourage them to crawl. You placed mobiles above them to help their eyes track them. You did your part, and they did theirs.
But something happens when our child begins to outgrow the world that we created for them. They start to look outside the walls of our home for acceptance and belonging when they travel beyond the boundaries of our yard to play. We get scared. And when we get afraid, we lose trust in ourselves.
We are so desperate to have our children’s lives be free of hardship, disappointment, and regret that every time they take a step in that direction, be it big or small, we view it as a failure on our part. Slowly, those tiny perceived failures chip away at our confidence as parents. We second guess when to be loving and when to be stern. When to help and when to let them be responsible. When to push them with higher standards and when to accept them where they are, in many ways, life seemed more straightforward when they entirely relied on us.
It almost feels like a cruel joke, what nature does to mothers. We have babies; our bodies are flooded with oxytocin to bond us to them. We’re responsible for figuring out what they need every waking minute of the day. We nurture them, teach them and provide for them because, on the deepest level, we accept that they have been entrusted to us and then, one day….teenagers.
The sweet little faces that used to light up when they saw us now roll their eyes and mumble under their breath. And it feels like it happens overnight, doesn’t it? I mean, Is it any wonder that we feel like someone turned out the lights, and we are fumbling around the room, trying to figure out what to do next?