Raising children: The universal struggle of letting go

raising children

I don’t know what’s been happening lately, but all I see in my amazing daughter every time I look into her eyes is how fast she is growing up. I think it’s something to do with her transitioning into Year One…she just seems to grown up all of a sudden….even though she’s only five.

But when you come to think of it, from the minute you enter motherhood, raising children is all about letting go.

It starts at birth

….the umbilical chord is cut, and even though that baby needs you so desperately..that symbolic act is the very first step in letting go isn’t it really?

The letting go continues when you wean them, when your baby finally learns to walk independently, when they refuse your hand as a toddler, when you drop them off at nursery for the first few hours, and when you finally kiss them goodbye for a whole 9am – 3pm at the school gates for the first time.

At every stage of raising children, we are letting go

And while it’s so amazing to see those newfound leaps in independence, it hurts like hell too doesn’t it? As it stabs you in the heart, because you want them to want you so much. It’s just inbuilt into our make up.

I feel like we’re on a constant letting go countdown

Sure, E is only five, but with some girls starting puberty these days as early as eight years old how long does that really leave us? Every day I step back, I hold my tongue, I champion her independence but all the while if I’m really honest…it hurts so much to let go.

I can’t stop thinking about how quickly those teens years will roll around

and when the greatest challenge of letting go will rise to the surface. When I will have to stand back and let go, give her the space to be who she wants to be, whilst all the time being there to support. It’s going to be such a tough balance to achieve. When I have to let experiences, heartbreak, bad decisions and things I might not agree with unfold because that’s all a normal part of raising children.

With every year, I’ll continue to back away a little more

whilst always keeping my darling girl in view, trying not to the “that mum” who seeks to control. I know she needs to spread her wings and fly, to grow up and experience all the world has to offer. I don’t want to let go too soon, or too late. I know she is strong enough for me to let go at every stage on her journey to be an independent human being, and that whatever happens, our love bond will always be there, even though it changes into new and surprising forms.

I know I’ve done my best

at every stage, and this internal conflict is only natural and from now on, the hands-on phase of parenting will ebb away with every year that passes. I’ll have to trust in the building blocks I’ve created and the skills and values I’ve instilled that will help her to master the world, experience wins, make mistakes and learn from them for herself. Because this is the universal struggle of letting go as a parent.

Do you feel the inner conflict of letting go as a parent? Can you relate to this post? Do share in a comment below.

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9 comments

  1. My daughter started puberty at 8. She’s 12 now and looks and acts more like a 17 year old (she’s a fair bit taller than me too). She’s very level-headed and talented with unbelievable confidence so I half feel redundant parenting her these days … I have to keep reminding myself that she’s 12. The speed they grow hit me hard this year actually – the Santa issue has raised its ugly head and the magic bubble burst. Christmas will never be the same again 🙁

  2. It’s so hard isn’t it? Stacey’s 15 now and doesn’t want to spend as much time with me as she used to. It’s heartbreaking but I’m learning to let go. I can only imagine how much of a wreck I’ll be when she’s older and leaves home 🙁

    Louise x

  3. It’s so interesting to read comments from both those with older children and those yet to have children – thank you for leaving your thoughts x

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