Thursday, September 30, 2010

Letting Go

Letting go. One of the most difficult tasks of the parent. Letting go.

A baby is born learning from the first breath of life. Carefully we teach, observe, guide. We make mistakes and try to correct them. We learn about ourselves in the process. A baby is born.

Babies grow up. Nothing new about this information. Our children become adults (too quickly). Still we have this voice inside of us that wants to help the child through life, a voice of a parent that wants to protect and guide. How to still that voice. How to step aside. Perhaps it is one of the most difficult parts of parenting. Letting go and letting the cards fall as they may....dear God, help me be strong.

My children are in the thirties. In just a couple of years my daughter will be forty. Does that make her less likely to make mistakes? Heck no. Does that mean that she will make good decisions? No. The voice inside of me wants to protect and guide. Living with her makes it even more difficult.

"Pam, are you protecting yourself?" my counselor asks. What? Protecting me? What's that about????

Somewhere in dealing with my children, I forgot to protect my own wishes and desires. I thought I was, but evidence shows differently. I have my rights and have a right to tell my children that I have such rights. Wow, that's hard! I have always put them first. Over the years I have worked so diligently at providing, protecting and listening to the verbal and none verbal that I have forgotten to do the same for me. What a concept!

This is not as easily done as it is voiced. I have a lot of work to do on myself. First of all, I don't want to be responsible for my children. I don't want to be the mother of the grandchildren. I want my time, my life. So casting of the old and putting on the new will take practice. Under the circumstances, I will get a good deal of practice.

I don't want to feel guilty for thinking about myself. I don't want to have a stomach ache every time we have confrontation. Darn, I don't want or need confrontation. Again...need to work on self. Can only change self, my new mantra.

I didn't have a very good example to follow in parenting skills. I've had to learn on my own. My mistakes have been many. Hopefully, my successes have been better.

Yes, I'm working on myself learning to be a new mom, learning to be a healthier me. My kids may not understand yet. I didn't at their age. I hope to be a good example for my children. I hope to learn to keep my mouth shut and to think first, learn to hand off instead of taking on, practice hands off instead of hands on, learn to stand up for myself.

Wow, this growing up is difficult.


  1. Oh, I think letting go is a hard thing to do, at all times of life. I'm in my 40s (the age of your daughter, I guess), but I can absolutely relate to the need to let go of the need to always take care of the kids at all costs. Sometimes, I need to take care of myself! Good for you for continuing on that path.

    Barb's latest blog post: Baby Nostalgia.

  2. We seem to spend our lives letting go. At my age, the passing of loved ones is the most difficult letting go. My 40's and 50's were a wonderful time of rediscovering myself. The new woman emerges. At 60 this wonderful adventure into myself got even better. Life is indeed what we make it.

  3. One of my friends told me of a visualization exercise that helps with letting go. When you find yourself obsessing over a problem that rightly belongs to someone else, picture yourself with a pack on your back. Visualize taking out those troubles that don't belong to you. Imagine the pack getting lighter and the sense of freedom that you now feel.

  4. The best advice I ever got about letting go came from an older man I worked with. I was having a difficult time with my then 19 year old son. Art said to me "Even a dog knows when to wean her pups". What an enlightening sentence to hear!

    In Georgia at the time, women were still raising their 30 and 40 year old sons. I was determined that I would not do that--I wanted my children to go out on their own, to sink or swim, succeed or fail, according to what their abilities were. I did not want to be a mother all my life. I felt that it was my job to teach them to do for themselves, and then let them do it. The letting them do it was not easy for me, but so far, they are all still afloat, in their mid 30's.