Who’s weaning who?

charley uni 006 It’s all very well me talking in my recent post about weaning your child off your constant attendance towards a little independence, but there are times I’ve wondered if it wasn’t the other way round!

The maternal need to be close and protect is incredibly powerful. And it’s making me believe that we’re the ones who are more dependent on seeing our child is okay, on nurturing, loving and protecting them, than they are dependent on having it!

Being a mum is never easy. As if all the work of caring wasn’t hard enough there’s all the emotional challenges. Letting go being one of them.

Letting go while someone else looks after your baby for the first time. Letting go of the two wheeled bike when the stabilisers first come off. Letting them have that first foray up the top of the slide with friends. Then letting them go out to places on their own. Or letting go of decisions like whether they have more piercings or not. Letting go of doing their thinking for them and letting them find resolutions on their own. Letting go of always being in charge.

How we can hang onto that charge, making excuses, reluctant to acknowledge our own dependence!

Within all relationships there requires a huge amount of letting our loved ones be who they need to be without our control, whatever member of the family they are, however old. Controlling others, sometimes under the disguise of care and love, is not loving and not a healthy part of relationships, and something both we and our children have to learn.

Obviously we control our kids when they are little, to keep them safe and cared for, to guide them through life’s obstacles, to help them learn.

But as they grow we are the ones who need to be brave; brave enough to step back when we want to keep charge, brave enough to give them the wisdom to do it for themselves, brave enough to create our own independence from them.

For it is that way round, as I am again reminded as my youngest packs up her things to return to Uni, things I’ve bemoaned for cluttering up the place all summer, and I’m left looking at the hole tidiness now makes.

I’ve spent the summer indulging in sweet sips of her company and rising to the old familiar cry; ‘what’s for dinner?’ Now I’ve got to start practising my own independence skills as she hones hers.

And that’s when I realise it’s as much about me weaning myself off her as the other way round!

8 thoughts on “Who’s weaning who?

  1. Very pertinent to my life right now, as yesterday I hugged my daughter goodbye at the airport leaving her to travel to her home – about 2500 miles away….I noticed how quickly I’d put my life on hold for her, and I think that this is what we do as parents, for a very long time. Trying to remember who we were before our children, and what gives our life meaning apart from the family is the tough part – but it’s also regenerating and exciting!

  2. Very well said! Mine aren’t that old yet, but I have to force myself to go out by myself every now and then – it feels so weird, but otherwise my identity is totally wrapped up in them, which isn’t really healthy for any of us. Definitely a case of us needing weaning too! 🙂

  3. This is so very true. My children are still young so I have a lot to learn yet, but I always think of parenthood like holding a rope. With me at one end and the children at the other. Then gradually you let the rope go, a little bit at a time while they are growing, until you finally let go when they grow up. I consider my job as a parent to be preparing my children to learn to be independent.

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