I’ve written here several times about how I feel like finding balance is one of the keys for parenting and homeschooling for me. I often feel like I’m trying to walk a tightrope line between structure and freedom, indulgence and strictness, and pushing and patience. The place between these extremes is where I feel like great parenting and healthy kids comes from, even if I don’t always feel like my personal balance is just right.
Lately, I have felt a huge tug between being that nurturing, loving, understanding, cuddle up in my lap mother and being that “shut up and get over yourself” mother. Both BalletBoy and Mushroom in the last few weeks have pushed me on this in various ways.
With BalletBoy, he has several times gotten himself high up without a clear way down and wanted me to do it for him (an impossible task when he’s over my head). With Mushroom, as always, it’s schoolwork where he finds himself overwhelmed and on the ledge.
On the one hand, I want to be the patient, loving mother. I want to be all attachment parenting, no judgments mama. But sometimes, the more I give, the more they take and the less they actually get any better or make any progress. It’s as if my helping them down, letting them out of it, easing off the pressure, actually makes them less secure and more upset. Instead of feeding their confidence, every hug and patient word feeds their fears and anxieties.
So I find myself going the other direction. I state calmly my support and then… I ignore. Or, sometimes, I give some harsh words. Get yourself down. Take a deep breath and get over it. I’ll help you when you stop panicking and let me help. Until then, I can’t even hear you!
Sometimes it works right away and that’s so validating. Sometimes, it takes forever. Eons of my nasty ignoring for a child to calm down and come around. And then I really wonder if the balance is off. Where’s that sweet spot between nurture and no-nonsense where a child is both secure and independent and knows how loved he is?