To My Kids: I’m Done Doing Everything For You

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“Mom!”

“Mommy?!”

“Mom?”

“Mommy?”

“Mooooooooom!”

Don’t judge me, but recently I looked at my husband and confessed, “I’m ignoring them.” I can’t help it, it’s the end of the day/week/hour/month for me, too and I admittedly sometimes NEED A BREAK from the countless, seemingly endless string of questions and requests from my kids.

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I truly feel like we are raising good, smart, solidly kind children but I worry about their need for me to intervene in their lives. We recently heard a child psychologist speak at our school and he assured us that children today or not in any way genetically different from children 50 years ago. Circumstances may be different, but basically, kids are the same. If this is true, my 8-year-old daughter is the same, typical third grader that I was in 1982. Thinking back, I was insanely resourceful, especially when it came to making things happen.

We all want to raise good, smart, kind kids, but we also need to foster independence. Raising independent kids is important and this is why one mom has stopped doing everything for their kids. #motherhood #momlife #parenthood #parenting #independent

Here’s the scenario:

“Bon soir, La Cuisine, may I help you?”

“Yes, hello sir. I need to find one of your customers. There’s an issue at home and I need to speak with her.”

“Oui, Madame. Who can I find for you?”

“Her name is Elaine. She’s tall and thin with straight shoulder-length blonde hair. Tonight she has on a gold and turquoise peacock print dress, it has a jewel neck and drop waist, three-quarter length ruched sleeves. She’s with her husband, Rick. He has salt-and-pepper hair. He has on a white button down shirt, no tie, and a grey suede sport coat. I think they are dinning with two other couples.”

“Oui Madame. I think I see her. I will get her for you.”

A few minutes later:

“Hello?”

“Mom?”

“Melanie, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I was wondering when you are coming home.”

I had mad skills. With a phone and white pages in hand, I could make just about anything happen. I had the communication skills at 8 to be a CIA operative and yet sometimes my kids get stumped opening a single serving pack of Sweet Tarts.

How is this possible? No one taught me how to do this. My mother never sat me down to discuss the finer points of stalking people. Quite simply, I was driven enough and just did it. I figured it out.

My parents fondly named my skill the ‘Mel-A-Phone’ knowing that they could never go too far without me finding them. Truthfully, they really were never safe. While I don’t condone the idea of constant invasion of parental privacy, I give my 8-YEAR-OLD SELF kudos for having the drive to get shit done.

So what’s my plan? I’ve decided that I am no longer helping.

Nope. No more…everyone can tie their own shoes, so please by all means tie them.

Everyone can get dressed on their own, I’m not needed. Look for it.

No one in my house has a weight-lift restriction which means everyone can pick up their own shit and put it where it belongs. I am not needed for this task.

If you can’t open an item on your own, the likelihood is that you don’t really need it. I bet you big bucks that if you were dying of hunger you would figure out a way to get that wrapper open. Look again, look harder, and look one more time.

Independent Keids

You do not need me.

But you do need me.

Come to me for hugs. Come to me for snuggles. Come to me and ask questions about life and tell me about your day. Come to me when you are scared, happy, lonely, or sad. (Not bored, don’t come to me when you are bored. I cannot help bored.)

Come to me with excitement or worry. Lay your fears at my feet and I will always wipe your tears. Come to me to laugh. Ask me to play with you. I will love you ultimately forever. Come to me for encouragement. Come to me for a reminder of the BEAUTIFUL SOUL you are and how much you are truly loved.

This post was originally published by Melanie Forstall – Stories of Life, Love, and Mothering.

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