How does she do it, that Momma bird? She makes a home for her babies that is tightly knit. It rests on the ledge of my windowsill like a little castle on top of a mountain. Twigs, feathers and all manner of layers are woven together to create a safe haven. We startle Momma Bird every time we walk into the room, so I took to leaving the blinds closed. I wanted her to know we wouldn’t harm her brood.
We stick together, us Mommas. We find ways to help each other as we bring our babies into the world. We protect and feed our babies and we provide a safe haven for them, all in the hopes that one day they will discover their own wings.
It’s a tricky thing, this process of letting go. You raise your brood to be independent thinkers, yet when they achieve that, they no longer need Momma anymore. Or, so I thought. In the same weekend we watched our daughter march across the platform to get her diploma, she reminded me of words of wisdom from my own Mom. And I knew for a fact that you never outgrow your need for your Mom.
I am a bad mom.
There. I’ve said it. I’ve laid it all on the table.
I have two adult children and I still try to make life all better for them.
Wasn’t I supposed to let go of that role when they were in elementary school? I bandaged the cuts and brushed off their knees, with a kiss to make it all better.
When did I adopt the role that said, “I have to keep everyone happy”? I scurry around trying to be the peace-maker and hand-holder and all of that scurrying leaves me empty and scarred. As moms, do we enable our kids to grow, when we are the go-to person in their lives? Where is the fine line between being an enabler and being a springboard to launch them into adulthood? In their book, The Cure for the “Perfect” Life, Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory point out that “we live with the illusion that we have some measure of control over how other people behave. We’re like a three-year-old kid strapped into his car seat and using his Fisher-Price steering wheel, absolutely certain that he’s the one driving the car.
It’s crazy feeling that we have all the responsibility for other people’s lives, with none of the authority to make a difference.” (p. 171)
I gave up that authority with each birthday we celebrated. My children entered the pre-teen years with an earnest desire to make their own decisions. They went through the teens with independence as their motto. Letting go actually began the day I gave birth and gave them opportunity to breathe on their own. Why then, do I strive to take back control and seek to guide them still? Isn’t that something I label creatively as nurturing? When I hide my controlling tendencies in nice sounding terms, it makes me sound like a “good” mom. Yet, my whole job description as a parent is to prepare my kids to make their own decisions. And that cannot happen when I second-guess their judgment. Is there a better way for me to show them love? Lipp & Gregory say, “there is a love that goes deeper than hurting when others hurt- it’s the kind of love that allows those we love to be in pain so they can become the kind of people God has designed them to be.” (p. 175)
Now, I am the last person to want to leave someone else in pain. I am a people-pleaser with a capital P. But if I understand that I am not to rescue others from their problems, maybe I will embrace their journey to the Throne of Mercy by getting out of the way. And that is the best way to be an enabler.
I don’t have this all figured out. I’m sure I will regress and fall back into patterns of habit that are within my comfort zone. So here are two questions I will ask:
“1. Is this the best solution for them?
2. Is this the best solution for me?” (The Cure for the “Perfect” Life, p. 178)
Lipp & Gregory explain, one way to advocate healthy self-care is to tell myself, disappointment isn’t deadly.
When I release my kids to experience pain, they are empowered to reach out to God as their own Rescuer.
Here is my question for you:
How have you learned to release your adult children to the consequences of their own choices?
Originally published September 3, 2014 at sallyswords
Me Ra Koh has successfully documented a way to equip moms to capture timeless moments. Photography was a catalyst for healing in her own life, and she advocates it as a way to empower women as they carry camera in hand. Me Ra says, “To impact a mom’s life is to impact the whole family.” (p. ix)
Not only does Me Ra Koh bring in tips for setting up photo ops with active kids, she cultivates family connections. She says to avoid a photo pose, (“Refuse to say cheese.”) and instead, look for a moment to capture. Her examples are so personal and practical, the reader takeaway is immediate. The author answers the question of “What’s in it for me?” with tips for individual shots, lighting recipes and aperture settings. Me Ra Koh gives hands-on advice for setting up a photo and locking in the emotion of the moment.
As a writing mom, I appreciate the journaling prompts provided. They jumpstart memories that later translate into scrapbooking slogans, adding to the legacy of that family moment captured in time. Koh also spins a tale, as in capturing the magic of bedtime: “…day’s adventures finally come to an end and dreaming begins.” (p. 46)
Wonderful book. Visually appealing. And great life applications found within!
Disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”
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