I’ve always been open about my struggle with mom guilt so I want to share an ah-ha moment as my Aunty Oprah would call it that I had earlier week. I got the message through my greatest teacher of all things parenting, my daughter (soon to be older daughter) but it’s a message about my approach to motherhood for all of my children. I experience everything with her first since she’s my firstborn and so I sometimes learn the most important lessons through her. This week’s lesson was she doesn’t need me to motivate her, she’s already motivated.
While I’ve always allowed her to do her thing and explore her own interests, I’ve also felt like she needed me to give her that extra motivation, to keep my hands on her back pushing her along.
Well, this week I learned that my daughter doesn’t need me to push her the way that I have been doing. This occurred to me at her swimming practice, I sat in the parent gallery and watched her do an incredible job and I was beaming with pride at how far she’s come. She would look back to see if I saw what she did and I would give her the thumbs up as I did crazy eyes to also check on my son so I wouldn’t miss out his awesomeness too. I thought that she was looking for my validation but what she wanted was for me to see that she is excelling at what SHE wants to do. She wanted to show off how hard she’s working, that’s all.
When her lesson finished I went to meet her at her lane as she climbed out of the pool and she proudly proclaimed that she did everything that she wanted to do this week and then proceeded to list her accomplishments: swimming, 100 on tests and she’s back in violin (she does it through her school). As she skipped towards the showers filled with joy and pride I came to the realization that this is all her and she DOESN’T need me to motivate her. I can share inspiration and find ways to encourage her but my girl is becoming her own person and she’s already motivated deep on the inside.
I share this because I think so many of us believe that this is our role as parents (and it has it’s place). Sometimes, our gentle pushes becomes hard pushes and I think that’s when kids push back and lose interest in things that they initially loved. I think that if you’ve identified that your child is motivated on his/her own let them be. We can be everything else that they need (and they will need) provider to counselor to security to resource but they can find their own direction and be who they desire and are meant to be.
The best part of this is I feel a bit of freedom as this emancipates me from my mom guilt (just a bit) — to not feel so much of what she’s doing is mine. It’s all her and I will do my best to help her along the way every single day but this is her life and she’s obviously motivated and capable of setting her own goals.
Do you feel like your children need you to motivate them?