Letting Her Go

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Today, we want to #CelebrateRealMoms and International Women’s Day. Homer honors all women who have bravely stepped out of their comfort zones, shown courage, created vision and allowed space for sensitivity, progress, and greater understanding. Becca Wilson, our guest blogger, is a dear friend of mine, a business leader, an avid reader with an excitement for adventure and getting outside, and a smart, caring community-minded woman. Most of all, she is a real mom, just like you and me, doing her best to grow her small people into wonderful humans. She and her husband, Will, manage Tennessee Cheesecake, a wholesale dessert manufacturer located in Lebanon, Tennessee and are parents to two amazing and beautiful little girls, ages 3 and 6 months.

Letting Her Go
Guest post by Becca Stinson Wilson

She reaches out. One small hand holds tight to the jungle gym, the other is outstretched toward the fireman’s pole. She has seen the bigger kids slide down, their legs wrapped around the pole and their hands loosely holding on, until they meet the ground with their sneakered feet.

“Do you need help?” I ask.

“No, mama, I’ve got it,” she answers. Her mouth is set firmly in determination.

My 3-year-old daughter is constantly teaching me things. Like, how the pointy balls that fall from the tree in our backyard are called seed pods, and if you break them open the wind will carry each little whisper of a tree to a special spot where it will grow big. Or, that it’s possible to fly up in the sky like a superhero, just like she did a few days ago at school with her friend Max. (All you need is a little imagination…)

When I was asked to write this blog post, initially I was tempted to use this space to talk about how it can be difficult to be a girl, how I hope to raise my girls so they can overcome societal pressures and truly be their authentic selves.

But I think the truth is, it is difficult to be a small human whether you’re a boy or a girl. You have these big humans, with all their wisdom and past experiences, guiding you and helping you learn about life, but sometimes you want to try things yourself. “Mama, I’ve got this.”

As one of the primary big humans in my daughter’s life, I often find myself realizing that I just need to get out of the way. That I need to let go of my own expectations for what an experience should be like for her, no matter how well-intentioned. That I need to be more aware of her as a unique individual who operates at a different pace and has her own feelings, interests, and desires.

Like most kids, I once fell from a decent height on a jungle gym. One small, miscalculated foot placement was all it took. It was the first time I had ever had the wind knocked out of me. I cringe at the thought of my daughter experiencing this.

But I know that if I don’t let her try the scary things, that she will not learn and grow because she will not have the opportunity to fail. She will not succeed, either – at least, not truly on her own.

Of course, with young children it is important to set limits, especially for safety purposes, but within those limits, I do my best to respect my daughter’s knowledge of herself and her abilities. I try to let her discover for herself the outcomes of her experimentation and adventures, and what it is like to go through the process of getting there on her own.

I recently took my daughter to a park that has an amazing playground. My daughter intently watched as an older girl climbed up the rock climbing wall, reached out to grab the gymnastics rings, and then hung from the rings for several seconds before expertly dropping to the ground.

“I want to do that!” my daughter exclaimed.

The older girl’s mother asked my daughter how old she was.

“I’m 3,” my daughter replied proudly.

The mother kindly explained to us that her own daughter, who was 6, had only recently mastered this advanced playground maneuver, after working on it for quite some time. This mother was well-intended, and just wanted to help manage my daughter’s expectations in the event that she could not do it.

But none of it discouraged my daughter. She climbed up the rock wall, one small hand reaching over the next. When she reached the top, she readied herself, and then reached out to grab the rings. I was right there, and put my hands out to lightly hold onto her waist as she lunged out, away from the rock wall and toward the rings.

“Let go, mama, I can do it!”

So, I her let go.

I stood within an arm’s reach, just in case I was needed in an emergency. But she did it. And she came back for more, doing it three times before deciding it was time to give her muscles “a little rest” and move on to the next adventure.

My Current Parenting Inspirations

BLOGS:
http://www.janetlansbury.com/
http://www.amightygirl.com/

BOOKS:
The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence by Rachel Simmons

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

ORGANIZATION:
Girls To The Moon

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