Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hands-off, or Hands-on?

Tara wrote this post that really made me think... Especially since I had a talk with a friend of mine last night that made me feel guilty. This isn't really anything new, it's just probably the first time I've actually noticed it. She said that she feels bad when she washes the lunch dishes because she feels like she should be playing with her kids instead.

Well, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by my daughter. And put together with the other kids I babysit, well, I often feel like I need a break! Maybe I'm not cut out for this stay-at-home thing. Maybe I should not be babysitting. Maybe I'm not patient and caring enough. I mean, careless things always happen. I once didn't notice that one of the girls had crawled over to me and was right behind me, so when I turned around, I stepped on her hand. And things like this are always happening. Today, I was trying to prevent the same child from taking things out of a drawer and I accidentally closed the drawer on her hand! I keep thinking that if I was more patient, these things wouldn't happen. If I was actually paying the attention that I should be, she wouldn't have opened the drawer in the first place. Both of the other girls (not my daughter) used to fall over a lot, because they were not steady when they first started pulling up. If I had been paying more attention, perhaps they would not have fallen over. Or, if you want to say that it's important for them to learn, and not to be picked up or put back down every time they stand up, well then maybe I should have been standing behind them to catch them if they did stand and fall.

And then there's the situation with my daughter. I love her very much, but I'm not sure I'm doing such a good job with this mothering thing. I'm very laid back, which I think is a really important quality in a parent. But maybe I'm too laid back. I give her space to explore and learn, but maybe I should be guiding her just a bit more. I know she's only 15 months old, and there isn't so much guiding that can be done, but, well, I feel like I'm too hands off. And maybe I'm wrong. There probably is tons that I could be doing to guide her, if I would only take the time to do it. I feel like I should be playing on the floor with her, but I don't have the energy or desire. That seems like a bad thing to me. I think that I need to snap out of this rut, and start being who she needs me to be.

But maybe I'm being too hard on myself?


At 12:46 PM, Blogger Elie said...

SS: There is no one right answer for these questions. Most good parents find a middle ground that works for them. But I don't find that kids of overprotective parents generally grow up in better shape than those of more mellow parents. In fact the overprotected kids tend to have more "hangups" and more trouble relating to real-world challenges and conflicts.

At 4:34 AM, Blogger SS said...

Elie, thanks for the chizuk... I suppose in a few years I'll look back and know the answers...

At 6:37 AM, Blogger Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

it really is difficult raisng kids
anyway come over

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Tara said...

Hey there-

Just wanted to say that I think you are probably doing a great job. There's nothing wrong with letting kids explore the world by themselves as long as they are content to do so. Some people are just more hands on with kids then others. For me, if my kids are doing something that keeps them happy, I rarely interfere. I like to do my own thing and give them space to do theirs. That seems like better preparation than life then constant interference in the form of "guidance." Just my two cents! :)


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