I was an overbearing mother.
There, I said it.
The once premature baby is no longer a helpless little baby who only weighed less than 3 pounds when we took him home after spending a week in NICU after he was born five weeks early.
He is nearly nine years old, and he is in 3rd grade now.
Yes, he has his insecurities and other issues that we are still dealing with, but he is generally a sweet boy.
Maybe it’s the thought of doing it alone…the single motherhood thing that made me overbearing and overprotective. I feel like I constantly have to be the one who holds the disciplinarian duty. Living with dotting grandmother? He is spoiled rotten! I must keep the fort while juggling everything else in the quotation of being a single mom.
You name it, I am doing it alone – or so I used to.
Lately, I have been releasing that need to control every single thing and to micro-manage less because the weight of trying to do it alone for over five years was starting to weigh me down too much that it created a bad situation for my dear boy, and me.
Mentally I was exhausted all the time. Emotionally, I was fried.
Yes, my family has been helping me tremendously, so technically, I have some support, and I am grateful for that. Yet I did not involve my ex-husband, my son’s father, as much as I suppose to.
I took the part of being a mother and father to him because I thought that was the right thing to do. I thought my ex and I had been co-parenting quite well throughout the years, but I still have a lot to learn, and maybe he does too.
We have been changing a few things here and there.
No longer I became the scary police who barked orders to my son when it came to his school works – which, by the way, seems to be a lot harder than when I was in school around his age if I remember them correctly!
Strangely, his behavior started to change a little, too, by me relinquishing my tight control over him. I told him to Skype his Dad for his Mandarin homework, and his Dad was there to help me.
I am letting his Dad take more control over the whole parenting thing in a way that lifted some of these heavy burdens I have been carrying alone. Now, I can be his mom, the source of comfort instead of just the sole disciplinarian in his life.
It took a splashy, wild ocean park ride to realize something about motherhood. We were in our own giant round floaties going into this river look-alike ride yesterday. I helped him get into his floaties, and the current started to push him further from me. I was behind him. The water wasn’t deep. It was only up to my waist, but I was scared…worried that his floaties would be capsized!
My throat felt dry as I saw him panicking a little…he must have sensed my fears, I thought.
“Just hang on to your floaties…and relax!” I shout to him, hoping the sounds of the water fountains and everything else wouldn’t stop him from hearing me out.
“Just relax…” I shouted again, but this time it was more like I was screaming at myself.
My heart was still racing, but I tried to stay calm, or else that boy in front of me would panic too. “Let go…”
That was my epiphany moment…that as a mother, I can only prepare him, advising him, but in the end, he will have to go out to the unknown by himself, and yes, he may run into problems and I can only hope that my guidance can help him through whatever comes his way, but I need to trust in the process…trust in himself that he will be just fine!
By allowing myself to just be in the moment, by trusting that my little boy will be fine and all he needs is love from those around him. Lighter.
We ended up enjoying our day at the water park. We let go of all the worries and just soak up the fun.
How about you? Are you an overbearing or overprotective parent?