I’ve come to be known as the “Master Enabler”. Part of me takes a lot of pride in the fact that my kids, people…. Need me. The other part realizes I’m really doing no one any good by my enabling ways. There’s a bible verse that says to train a child in the way they must go and when they grow up they will not wander from it. You can’t have it both ways…. You either trust the job you did in raising your kids, or you think you have to buffer each and every fall they may take in their lives because you think they can’t handle it.
It seems that I am constantly checking up on my kids, making sure of this or that. I feel confident that we raised great kids and in the long run I know they could probably handle anything that’s thrown at them….however, there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that I have dotted all the “I’s”and crossed all the “T’s” in all of life’s situations that get thrown at them.
You see, I’m a stay-at-home wife… Especially in the winter months there’s not much for me to do. So I sit around and worry and wonder about my kids. I wonder if my son got his bills paid on time…. And should I just make a phone call to him real quick and see? I wonder how my daughters budgeting is going…. Does she have it all figured out and is everything on track? I wonder if my kids have enough to eat…. Maybe I should just make a few freezer meals and bring down for them next time I see them…(my daughter is married now, this should not be an issue for me). My son recently graduated, and I wonder has he gotten his thank you notes sent out? I bought him envelopes… Even gave him a simple solution for writing his thank you notes out, as boys generally don’t love to do those sorts of things…. Should I help him? No, I should not help him… That would be enabling him. Which is what I do best. And Lord forbid there not be homemade cookies in the cookie jar at all times! My poor husband wonders why it is only when the kids come that I bake goodies…. Poor guy!
My son is going in for shoulder surgery next week. I called him the other day and told him to call me after he was done with his pre-op appointment. He said, “Mom, that’s not till tomorrow”-“Are you sure? You said it was today”—“Wow, glad I have you, you’re right it IS today”. See, if I wouldn’t have asked him about that appointment he would’ve missed it. But then he probably would have learned a lesson from that also. By me constantly reminding, I guess my kids maybe aren’t learning the lessons they might need to.
I can be like a detective when I need to be. If somethings going on I usually know, and if I don’t know at the moment…. I WILL find out. See, I get these feelings…gut feelings. I can usually sense when something is going on with my kids. So then I poke and I prod until I get the answers I need. My daughter is easy, just ask and she usually spills it. My son, however, does not give information out that easily. I guess that’s the beauty of how different two kids within the same family can be.
My poking and prodding, in my mind, is my way of just making sure that they are okay… That their heart is being protected… That they are just okay. For some reason, if I don’t have some sort of regular communication with them, I kind of lose it. That must be the control freak in me.
It must be that I’m not totally ready for my kids to be grown up and on their own. I still want them to need me… I still want to have the solution for all their problems… I still want them to come to me for help. I (emphasis on “I”) want to be the one.
People need to struggle a bit…. We certainly did. We had some help along the way also. I guess that’s what I want to do for my kids. We all want our kids to have a better life than we did, so by helping them out here or there I feel like we really ARE helping them. I justify by saying that I don’t want them to have to go through certain things if we can help them bypass it. But once again I know that’s really not teaching them anything, sometimes life’s lessons need to be learned by screwing up or making a mistake, not having your parents be able to bypass everything for you.
Every time I watch Dr. Phil and he has parents on his show who are enabling their kids, I think to myself “Man, is that me or what?” Dr. Phil always has this statement with those parents… ” You are parenting out of guilt… You are parenting this way to make yourself feel better… You don’t really want what’s best for your kids, you want what’s best for you… You want what makes you happy.” Sheesh Dr. Phil, take it easy on me! I just love my kids and want what’s best for them, that’s all! But do I? I want to fix all their problems, take care of them so that I, me…not my kids, so that I feel better knowing that the problem was avoided. The thoughts that go through my head tell me that makes perfect sense….
So the part I am trying to work on now is letting go. I KNOW that I don’t need to be in control of everything that’s going on all the time…But I WANT to be. For crying out loud, my daughter is married and thinking of starting her own family, where she too will soon figure out just what it’s like to be a mom who loves her kids sooooo much she would do anything to not let them feel pain…to know struggle…and my son will also find himself in the same situation. Then, quite possibly they will understand better why I chose to do and say some of the things I did.
**side note after re-reading: I just realized that in my crazy, twisted mind I think by “saving” my kids from situations in life that I am, in a sense portraying to the world that I have done THEE perfect job with my kids… That I have raised them to not make mistakes… Thus making ME look like Mom of the Year… Hmmm. Revelation- there’s that pride thing again! We sure don’t want anyone knowing that we are human and make mistakes and are not perfect!