Erin Spatz: Letting Go

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • Updated Monday, September 23, 2013 10:51 am

Letting go

How do you know when to let go, or when to step in with your child?

This is a complicated issue. I mean, as a mom you start out doing everything for your child.
Everything. And somewhere along the line they want to do it themselves, usually around age two, which is when the word ‘No” appears in their vocabulary as well.

I have made breakfast, lunch and dinner for the last 11 years, for one or more of the kids every day. When is it time for them to start making their own? And not just are they ready, but am I?
I hate putting laundry away, and it took me a long time to let go and be okay with them putting their own laundry away.
In my own defense it had nothing to do with them putting it away, so much as I had to be okay with HOW they put it away, which is usually shoved in a drawer...

And if they are doing things for themselves, like making lunch but then leaving the kitchen a total disaster, isn’t it easier for me to just make lunch?
Otherwise, I have to get them to come back in and clean up the mess too, which is more work.

By nature I am a fixer and caretaker, so I want to take care of everything.
I know I am not helping them learn to be self-sufficient by trying to do everything for them. I just wish that it was a bit simpler to know when they are ready to do something.
Even a turkey has a turkey timer, so you know when it’s ready, but I am just supposed to just guess as to when my child is old enough to stay home alone for an hour?
That makes no sense!

And when a kid at school is mean to your child, when do you step in, and when do you let them work things out?
I always want to step in and “work things out” for them.
Will that ever change or for the rest of my life am I going to want to beat up every mean person that my kids run into?
Learning to negotiate and work through differences is a major life skill.
I want them to learn that, but in order to learn they’ll have to get hurt.
Which I don’t like.
Plus, there are four of them and I would be really busy following them around being mad and “working things out” for them if I don’t let them learn on their own.

Perhaps I am over-thinking this.
Really, this whole train of thought started because Dylan wanted to put cream cheese on his bagel himself. He is eleven, and it’s just cream cheese, but he still needs me, right!?

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