Maybe it’s because I am a young mother, or maybe it’s because I was always an independent thinker. Either way, I find myself getting frustrated with some of the things both of my parents do with or to my daughter.
While up in New Jersey, Bitsy Girl and I are visiting both of my parents, and I really am so glad she can spend some time with them. They are both wonderful people and make wonderful grandparents. But that is what they are through and through: grandparents. Think back and remember your grandparents. They’d give you an extra cookie before dinner and let you stay up past 10pm. Grandparents let you watch Disney movies whenever you asked to, and indulged you in a longer game of kickball outside while they delayed your bath or bedtime. I had grandparents like this. My dad’s diabetic mother would keep M&M’s in her purse for her grandkids, and my mom’s mother would treat me to a Shirley Temple anytime we went out to eat. So yes, I get it.
But as a (new) parent, I think I have a hard time relinquishing a little bit of control to my parents. Ironic, I know. They raised me, and I like to think they did an okay job. I think I want the freedom and room to do this parenting thing on my own. Which I do, of course, since I live 400 miles from my parents, but seeing them do things differently than me just makes me feel like I’ve lost my freedom.
My mother is a very caring, nurturing mother, and she never wants to see her granddaughter get hurt. I, on the other hand, don’t catch my daughter every time she missteps. I believe she will only learn her limits if I let her discover them, but my mother would rather prevent her from ever bumping her head. It is a totally different perspective on parenting. Hearing my mother’s reasoning for it makes me realize that maybe sometimes what my daughter needs is a mother who catches her when she falls. I can’t be there every time, but when I can be I want to catch her. I don’t want to be the kind of mom that sits back and watches her little girl make decisions that will hurt her.
My father is very laid back as far as parenting style. He lets Bitsy Girl crawl wherever she wants, and eat all sorts of different things that I usually don’t. As a new mom, it is tempting sometime to maintain a lot of control over what my daughter does, sees, eats, etc. But my dad helped me to realize that a taste of cake icing, or crawling up the stairs (with me behind of course) isn’t really so bad. In fact, it could help her being a little more adventurous and willing to take some risks.
It was a long week visiting my family, but it was a good one. Just by spending a little bit of time with my parents I was able to see different perspectives on different issues. I’m glad for their differing opinions from each other and from my husband and I. It helps, I think, to balance me out as a mom.