I’m no parenting expert, but I do my best. One of the trickiest parts of motherhood for me right now is the waiting and the trusting. Waiting for my kids to “do it themselves” and trusting that it’s worth the extra time for them to learn to do it themselves.
Currently we’re also working on breaking those ingrained habits of creating punishments for our kids’ defiant behavior. I’m talking about the times our kids refuse to wear coats on a cold day. There’s no need to punish it when they can learn from the natural consequence of being cold because they refused a coat. It’s actually less work for us, really.
In today’s episode we’re chatting all about how it feels to let our kids do it on their own and trust for them to learn from their own life experiences. Kids learn best by doing, after all.
Making Space for Independence
Hey, beautiful friend. So glad to have you here once again on The Meant To Bloom podcast. I’m your host, Brittni Clarkson. Anyways, today I wanted to chat a little bit about one of the kind of harder parts of motherhood that I have encountered. , and it’s kind of surprising that this is even difficult for me.
But I am such a peacemaker, such a like, “Let me help you. Let me be a people pleaser. Let me help you out. Let me make this the easiest thing for you, possible kind of person”.
I talk a lot about motherhood, the difference, what is motherhood? It’s your relationship with your child. It’s everything to do with you and your child. It’s nothing to do with the house, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry.
Those are all support tasks that, you know, it has to be done whether you have kids or not. So don’t call that motherhood. But anyways, the hardest part about motherhood kind of, uh, for me is letting my kids be independent and allowing them to learn from natural consequences. This is very much, I don’t talk a lot about parenting here cuz I am not a parenting expert.
I am learning as I go, my oldest is six, so I only have that much experience. Currently I have a two, a four, and a six year old. It gets crazy and I love it. I love it. Love it, love it. It’s just the best, but letting them be independent. It can be really tricky for someone who likes to control every situation.
And when you’re someone who is already kind of always underestimating how much time she has and you’re running a little bit late and you just wanna do everything for your kids so it can get done faster, this part can be tough, top, and I feel like we don’t talk about, talk about it enough in like a serious manner.
I know we see commercials and reels and like to joke about how, you know, your three year old thinks they can buckle themselves and now you’re 20 minutes late. But like really for real? It creates some emotions. It really does. Watching them be independent and need to be independent and then wanting to help them and like I have one kid who likes to be helped.
He can dress himself, but he doesn’t want to. He wants me to help him get dressed. And I get that, that’s kind of like this comfort little bonding thing, you know. I’ve done that motherly duty of making sure that he is capable of dressing himself, and he is, he just does not want to, he wants me to do it for him.
And so then when the other kids are doing things on their own and they’re really struggling, but they do not want help and that, you know, I can’t help ’em when they’re learning. It gets tough, it gets confusing cuz all kids are different and then like you’re expected to treat them all the same but different.
And it’s just, I don’t know. I feel like we need to have a chat about this. I wish this was a two-way chat really, but it’s one of the best things you can do for them. All right, it’s letting them do it on their own, even if it means you’re gonna be late to something. Even if it means that you have to practice calming your own nervous system while they take what feels like forever to get their shoes on.
We just have to breathe. It all happens for a reason. I mean, maybe this is really just an opportunity for us to grow. In our patience and our kindness and to control our tongues when we’d like to just yell at them and jump in and help them. And it is really, really hard not to help them. I was recently at a conference where I learned where I heard Lori Harder speaking and she was talking about the time that she went to Costa Rica and they went to go watch the baby turtles.
And just hundreds or thousands of baby turtles are crossing the beach and all the locals come out to the beach to make sure that all the visitors and the tourists who are out of towners know that they are not to touch the baby turtles. Okay? You can look at ’em. You can take pictures, but do not touch ’em and do not help them into the water, because what happens if you help a baby turtle across that beach, they can’t survive in the ocean.
They need that whole stretch of beach to struggle and to grow all their muscles so that they’re strong enough to swim in the ocean. And our kids are the same way. You can’t help them every step of the way because then they won’t be strong enough and capable enough to do it on their own.
And that to me, is one of the tougher parts of motherhood because it’s really hard for me to step back and be like, You know what kid, you got. Let me watch you struggle to do something that I can do in five seconds flat. I’m a pro at it, but you have to remember, you’re a pro at it because you’ve been doing it for 20 or 30 or 40 years.
They haven’t, they’re new. They need to learn and every day of their life is practice, and they need the practice before they go to play the game, you know? And it’s tough. Tough on mommy hearts to watch this, but this is where I think mindfulness really helps because it gets really easy to be put on autopilot and to be constantly jumping in and helping them and not ever taking a moment to step back and realize that they have to do this on their own, and it’s actually less work for you to step back and let them do it right.
That’s actually less things for you to do, and somehow it feels harder. I mean, I’m there with you. I get it. But maybe we need to just step back and we need to practice breathing. Focus on your breathing, and maybe that’s a great opportunity to focus on loving them from a distance. You know, take a two foot step back, take a deep breath, and just focus on loving.
And sending them all that love and support so they know you’re there for them, but also we’re not sitting there: “Do you need my help? Do you need my help? Do you need my help? Let me help you here, babe. I can do that faster than you”.
Let’s step back and breathe and just trust the process of them learning.
Now the other part of this is them learning from natural consequences. This is something that we really try to champion in our home, and we don’t always succeed at this. But it’s definitely our goal. I still have it ingrained in me like, “you’re being naughty, I’m taking away your tablet” and we’re trying to break that kind of habit, from having it sound like a punishment rather than a natural consequence.
I’m not a parenting expert. I don’t know how to explain it all exactly right. But trying to lean into natural consequences and not do everything for them. It’s really tough as they get older because when they’re newborn babies, you have to do everything for them.
All they have to learn as a newborn is that mommy’s here to keep them safe. Mommy’s here to provide everything they need, and then they start growing and walking and talking and we can’t do everything for them anymore. And it’s a tough transition and I don’t know when it happens. Exactly. And I think sometimes we’re blindsided by it.
Our kids are totally capable of doing most of their daily tasks on their own, and we’ve just been so used to doing it ourselves or afraid that they’ll make a mess or afraid that they’ll take too much time and we postpone them learning. I think the Montessori method helps with that because they focus a lot on child-led and trusting your kid to pour their own orange juice and really teaching like early responsibility for kids. And I think that’s really awesome. I do have a guest in line to come on and talk about Montessori at home kind of stuff. So let me know if you’re super interested in that and I will get that scheduled quickly if you actually do wanna hear that.
Learning from natural consequences is really tough as a mom, but it is one of the best things for your kids because you could nag them and nag them and nag them, and you can punish them. And do they really learn from that or do they just learn that mom’s a nag and mom’s mean, and mom’s always taking stuff away, whereas natural consequences: they don’t wanna put on a coat when you ask them to take a coat, they learn that it is cold outside and mom was right.
And it can be really tough in the beginning to stick by that and to keep going with natural consequences. And I think again, it is just tapping into your mindfulness. Looking at the big picture instead of this moment can really help you stick by it and get through it and thinking:
Okay, deep breath, pause.
We don’t need to react to the kid who’s refusing to wear it. I can just remind him, Hey, you forgot your coat. And if he doesn’t take his coat, then he’s gonna have to remember that when he is cold, when he comes complaining to you later that he is cold. It’s just a gentle reminder. “Too bad you didn’t grab your coat, do you wanna come snuggle with me?” Of course. I can’t not warm my child.
But that’s really what I wanted to just chat about and get it off my chest. I hope you learned something from this episode and that it wasn’t just me rambling on and on about letting my kids be independent and learn from consequences. Let me know if you want a parenting expert to come on and actually like, talk in depth about what natural consequences are and how to let your kids be independent and how to foster their independence more.
I’ve got some friends that I could totally hook us up with and bring on the podcast. If you just let me know that that’s something you want. Then I will totally get something scheduled like that. Don’t be afraid to let me know what you need to hear more of.
You can reach out on my Instagram to DM me. I’m @BritClarkson. Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And I would be happy to chat about what you need more of. Thank you for being here. I do appreciate you listening to me. Don’t be afraid to reach out.