I received my January issue of Parents Magazine in the mail today. For the first time in what has seemed like a while, I was able to immediately sit down and start perusing through the pages. Of course, it helped that this issue seems to be a lot smaller than the others (meaning I felt like I could QUICKLY make my way through the magazine).
I came across an article that caught my attention because it had a subtitle that was meaningful to me. It’s something that my husband and I have discussed as recently as Monday night when it comes to parenting (not raising) Davey. He’s hit the Terrible Twos, well he’s actually be in this stage for a while, but for some reason it seems like it’s getting worse. Maybe it’s just my perspective because I can’t be as active with him as I once was (final days of pregnancy #2 impeding my abilities). He’s become more temperamental and impatient, even screaming when he doesn’t get his way. He lies on the floor and kicks his feet, has started hitting (mostly me, which we’re working to curb), and is becoming quite defiant. So what gives? I think this article summed a lot of it up. It’s titled, “Why We Need to Lean Back (from our kids)”.
We seem to be running ourselves ragged parenting our children. I know I am and I’m only raising one at this point. This article suggests that perhaps it’s time for me to be less hands-on, something my husband discussed with me on Monday night. The article talks about the pressures parents feel to invest every amount of energy into our children and their futures. I know I’m guilty of that! Being a stay-at-home mom makes it a lot harder on mothers, or at least that’s how I feel. We’re trying to compensate for variables that other children who go to school/daycare may receive.
I’m constantly racked with guilt about if I’m doing enough where raising Davey is concerned. I have some mothers and friends who pass judgment on the fact that I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. Some believe I’m causing irreparable harm to my son because he’s not socializing on a day-to-day basis with other children. It’s forced me to seek out activities outside of the home for him. From the moment I became a SAHM, Davey and I were enjoying story time at our local library. He was 4 months old at that point, but I was eager to make sure that I was still giving him enough social interaction. I was still eager to make sure that since I had chosen to no longer have a career outside the home, that I would turn raising my son into a career. I made myself be hands on. Actually, I think I guilted myself into being hands on and from that moment forward I’ve become the mom that seems to micromanage every waking moment of his life. I can’t do that anymore especially with Henry on the way in two days.
Is it too late to right the ship? I don’t think so, but I’ve decided to do more “leaning back” and let Davey decide what he wants to do. I still find ways to structure his day, even if he we’re unable to really go out of the house. I still allow him to have an hour of television time (perhaps more if I’m sick – and I know I’ll get some judgments from other moms here), but what used to be is no more. Instead of telling him we’re going to read a book, I turn the television off and I sit down and read a book, sometimes an adult book, which spurs him to bring books to me so that I can read to him. He even sits on his own little couch and reads some of his books (since we’ve read them so many times and he knows them by heart).
When I want to do crafts with him, I go to the kitchen table and pull out the crayons and paper and I start coloring. If he wants to join me, he does; otherwise, he does his on activity. When he plays outside, or with his basketball goal, or his Matchbox cars, I use that opportunity to do some of my chores, like laundry and dishes. It’s only been a couple of days, but already it seems like there’s a difference in his attitude. The fact that I was inhibiting his independence, I believe, was really forcing him to rebel.
My mother worked out of the home and my brother and I went to daycare. She or my dad picked us up after work. My mother cooked dinner, my dad played with us, we ate dinner as a family, and then we did our own thing. My brother and I learned to amuse ourselves, to be self-sufficient, and to solve our own problems. For so long, I’ve felt that I owed my son more than what my parents gave to me, but what I really owe him is my unconditional love and support.
He’s a good kid, a smart kid, but with a mama who might be just a bit too involved in every challenge my son faces. I wish I had started this approach sooner than just 2 days ago, seeing as how my attention will DEFINITELY be divided in 2 more days, but better late than never. And oh, by the way, since I decided to “lean back” with Davey, he’s figured out how to pedal his tricyle all on his own. It’s something I’ve worked on since this summer. Maybe this will help in the potty training arena as well!