I never understood how good it felt to be needed until I had my own little baby crying inconsolably and then comforted only by his mother's arms. To walk in a door and not get a happy, "Hi!" but a high pitch squeal of, "Moooommmmyyyy!!!!!" Even when all I did was take a walk alone around the block! It's awesome!
I've already let go of control or opinion in many things. Obviously that happens naturally as our children grow. This though I think is my first "big" step and it is with Carter (13). You gotta love the early teen years... or you at least have to let them live I've been told! Carter is actually an awesome kid/young man. However he is not immune to the typical teenage issues and right now that is his mouth! Now he isn't saying nasty things or screaming but he is a master arguer! Like I'm talking about Supreme Court debates. And not over Civil Rights but things that seem to have no argument... like is the sky blue? Honesty it blows my mind when I think about the things he can argue about! Now as a woman (or maybe it's just me) it immediately scrunches my shoulders to my ears, my brow furrows, my voice deepens and my stomach churns. Not over anxiousness but anger! It then seems to turn me into a grumpy, not so nice lady after round 15 in a day. Sharing my frustration someone shared this wonderful blog post with me called 10 Rules for Mothering a 13yo Boy. It was very refreshing. (She has one for a 12yo girl as well).
What really sparked my interest was rule #9. Check it out when you get some time but the point of it is handing over issues to your husband. You (mom) were never a teenage boy (thank goodness) and in my opinion something about mom arguing a son who is 4 inches taller than her... it becomes emasculating. NOT that he doesn't need to obey and be respectful! We talked to him yesterday and just told him Mom is handing over the reigns. From now on he has two choices, obey respectfully or take it up with Dad. He smirked and said, "Oh great." I think the smirk was happy but the "oh great" was said like it was a huge bummer. Why? Because Dad doesn't argue, or feel bad. He says it and he's done. I don't often fold but I have been known to have (really) long drawn out discussions over why I asked for something to be done. I can't tell you the weight lifted in doing this. I've used my new line several times now and I feel lighter each time!
Now you can ask if I totally trust my husband with this job. Answer...no! Hence the letting go! He's too harsh I think at times, unbendable and doesn't consider the kids feelings or even why he's saying no sometimes. But, he loves them and I can see no harm in being told no for no reason at times. I see a lot of harm in Mommy being worn down and miserable over arguing (which is contagious just so you know...the arguing, unfortunately not being worn down...cuz then we could all nap!). Our rules we made up are: 1. We back each other. He can totally overrule me if he feels I've asked too much but in general we are a united front. 2. That means I don't get to jump in and give my two cents (at least not while it's happening). In his words I can't "cut his legs out from under him". 3. If Carter feels Dad is being incredibly, outrageously, unreasonably unfair he can come to me. I will respectfully listen but he knows it would take something huge to make me go and ask Dad to reconsider.
Today was a great example of using our new rule. I assigned a rather large review for him to do before his first science test with a new curriculum. I wouldn't normally assign so much but he doesn't know what to expect on the test. He started the debate with the why and early negotiating of if he could do only part. I started to explain and then stopped and said, "Ya know, you can do it or take it up with Dad." Well, Dad happened to be working which made him think twice but then decide it was worth the risk. He called him and explained what was going on and Dad told him he didn't think it was too much and it was time to step up his game a bit. A few tears of frustration fell but now he's off doing his review and with no stress on me!
So for now I let go a little. Practicing loosening my grip on things a little at a time. Releasing him to be the man and leader God has made him. In the words from "Auntie Leila's" post...
So this moment -- of permitting your own influence over your son to take its natural course while your husband's increases -- is God's way of getting you to realize that, while exerting the Herculean effort of organizing your family for the past dozen years has been indispensable, you must now re-adjust your thinking to allow for others' ways of doing things.
I'm readjusting my thinking.