I came to a shocking realization this weekend. Already, at 16 months, my daughter is no longer simply an extension of me. She is her own little person. Already. She has her own wants, needs, desires and maybe even dreams that are completely separate from me and what I want for her.
My job has suddenly (though probably not-so-suddenly) transitioned from keeping this little thing alive another day into giving her a foundation on which she can build a life to achieve those dreams. This is terrifying.
At the same time that she is growing more independent, I need to learn to start letting go. I read something somewhere (probably another herhangout blog!) that said the moment your child is born is the moment you have to begin letting go. Sing it, sister.
I can’t see myself as a success or a failure based on her successes and failures. She is her own person. I can protect her to the best of my ability, but when does protecting her become counter-productive?
To this point, I have been trained to answer every cry and whimper with a plethora of options until I find the one that works. Is this now becoming a disservice? Does she need me to fulfill her every whim, or is that teaching her that there will always be someone there to give her what she wants?
Am I turning her into a brat?
All my life I’ve had this driving desire to be liked. It hasn’t always served me well. I shouldn’t be surprised that this has extended to my own daughter. But when does her liking me become secondary? When will I let go of that? When will I learn to do what’s best for her and not what feeds my own ego?
It’s hard, this parenting thing.