When Your Little Girl Turns Independent: I Can Do It By Myself!

September 17, 2012  |  

When my daughter was an infant and all my nights were long and sleepless, I’d dream of the day she’d sleep through the night without me soothing her. Then when she got a little older, I’d dream of the day that she could hold her own bottle. I think these fantasies went on for about a year, then everything changed. Suddenly she was crawling, walking — even running her way to independence. And I found myself secretly longing for those baby days.

Now that she’s six, it’s worse than ever. It seems like every day she’s reaching another milestone. And every day she’s requesting that I do less for her. Just this year, I’ve been banned from helping her take a shower and picking out her clothes. Every time I try to do something for my “baby,” I get put in my place.

“Mommy, I’m six! I can do it myself!”

So I back off and pretend that my feelings aren’t hurt.

Although I’m longing for my dependent baby, there’s a part of me that’s actually proud of the strong girl she’s becoming. Let’s face it – today’s world is a tough place. It’s not a place for mama’s baby. It’s a place for tough, independent women. It’s a place for women who will stand up and declare, “I can do it myself!”

So now instead of getting teary-eyed when I’m pushed away by my only child, I applaud her for her independence. And I push myself to teach her more and more things that she can do for herself. Now I’ve got my six year old clearing tables, washing dishes, sorting laundry and sweeping floors. I’ve even created a daily checklist of chores and responsibilities for “Little Miss Independent.” Seeing the pride in her eyes, because she can do it all herself is priceless. Knowing that I’m raising a confident, future leader makes me feel that I’m doing my job as a parent and a world citizen. And when I get sad about how quickly her childhood is flying by, I think about our ancestors who couldn’t baby their kids. I think about how they were forced to teach their little ones to become independent. And I tell myelf that it’s this independence that gave us Martin, Malcolm and Medgar – and now even Michelle (Obama). So as long as we continue having independent, bossy, opinionated little people around, the world will probably be okay.

But as independent as my girl becomes, I treasure those (very rare) occasions when she hugs me and says “Don’t worry mommy, I’ll always be your baby!” And I know in my heart, she always will be.

Mommies – Are you ever saddened by your kids’ independence? If so, how do you cope?

Words By Yolanda Darville
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