Recently I’ve been thinking lots about parenting. In particular the difference between ‘mothering’ and ‘smothering’. Before I go on I want to let you know that I suffer quite badly with anxiety so although this personal post is somewhat amplified, I think (hope) you’ll get my drift!
As mums, a few things are a given:
- We’re totally invested in their wellbeing,
- we hate seeing them unhappy and
- we want the best for them.
Right now I admit I’d describe my parenting style as perhaps a little controlling. From the food she’s eating now that we’re weaning right through to no screens (FaceTime doesn’t count), I usually have something to say about everything. I do usually hover around a little too closely when other people are holding her and her routine I have to almost the precise minute every day. It makes me really anxious if she doesn’t have her full few hours sleep in the day too.
Ok, Mia is only 7 months old so let’s be fair it’s not really as ‘controlling’ as say a mother of a 15 year old could be. But if I don’t become a little more flexible, will my good intentions now equal long term negative outcomes?
As it stands, today I’m aware that being over protective is totally ‘normal’. I am after all, a mum for the first time and I always knew just how intense that protective instinct would be. I do want my baby as a teen to have chores around the house (to teach responsibility and coping skills), I want her to have a Saturday job (hey even Brooklyn Beckham had one!) and I know that it’s not good to become an enabler or to intervene at every opportunity.
But for now, I know it’s important for our family – and for my health – to become a little more relaxed! I don’t wish to become a totally over bearing mum nor do I ever want Mia to feel like I’ve abandoned her. It’s all about balance!
So from here on in I intend to:
- Let Mia enjoy the different relationships she has with her Dad and I and her elders.
- Understand that all meal times are different. Perhaps a tantrum in Starbucks means it’s not always the best place to go. Just for the time being.
- Invest more time in me/alone time to practice feeling less anxious when I do leave her for an hour or so with other people.
- Realise that throughout her very long life there are going to be so many external influences – and people – that will come and go and I in fact cannot control everything.