My mom was in town this past week to spend time with the kids and ring in another Independence Day with us self-appointed Southerners. Before moving forward, you should know that my daughter is fiercely independent and doesn't need one specified day to celebrate or exercise it. Being three and female, W is very rarely happy or even appeased for more than a 2.5 minute span without some major catastrophe erupting. For example, such horrendous injustices as her dress not twirling high enough or even worse, getting a fudge PopTart instead of cherry. These seemingly minor hiccups to the rest of the world could ruin the day of a 3 year old girl, and thusly, ruining everyone else's.
These issues are frequent. Far too frequent, in fact, that I could never keep up with trying to tidy up the emotional aftermath even if I wanted to (which I don't, if you were wondering). If she would just let me help and stop being so damn independent then things would move so much more smoothly. The world would continue to spin, and revolve around something other than her. I have taught her, well, communicated to her but not really "taught" her, that in those moments of dire, world-ending desperation, all she needs to do is simply and calmly proclaim, "Help, please." THAT"S IT! Does she do it?... Just fucking ask for help!
As my frustration with W's stubborn unwillingness to ask for help would fester, my mom, whom we only see about 1x a year, saw my patience wearing thin (or non-existent, you decide the adjective). She would kindly offer to make lunch for the kids or go drop this one off, pick this one up, trying to lighten my load whenever possible. I felt bad! She's here so rarely that I don't want to ask her to do my dirty work. Besides, did she really think that I was so incapable of "mom-ing" effectively that her 38-years of experience had to jump in and save the day for us all? Thanks for thinking that I don't know how to handle arguments with my kids to find resolution and peace once again. Aaaaand another thing...
Oooooh, I see. Independence Day. I do the same fucking thing! This is not a personality trait randomly dropped upon my daughter from on high. No, she earned this fair and square. And quite frankly, so did I. Here I am, accusing her of being too independent and prideful that even when she needs it the most, even when it comes at the cost of her happiness and tranquility, she still won't ask for help! Like, helloooo! Do yourself a favor and release the peace!
Now, for argument sake, are these the typical behaviors of a said 3 year old? Why, yes. Yes they are. However are these the typical behaviors of a grown, mature, reasonable 38 year old, with responsibilities to fulfill and relationships to maintain? Ummmmm. Hmm. Not really productive behaviors, I guess. Now, I realize that my mom's aim was only to alleviate some stress and see me smile. It had nothing to do with my misperceived judgement at all. I know this because when I offer help to F or W, that is all I want to do for them. No parent wants to see their kids struggle if they think their support might be of use! How could you not offer it? If only we could get out of our own way for a minute we would have a clearer view of the truth.
Note to self...
So, if it's not productive why hold onto it? If it keeps you on the Treadmill of Misery then shut it off and find a new machine. Ask for help. Learn to put pride aside and be dependent sometimes. It's good to need and be needed. The parent-child relationship will always be a reciprocal one. Both parent and child must learn the times to be confident and victoriously independent, the times to be humbly and vulnerably dependent. We can't do life alone so there is no need to push away the helping hands that reach for us.