To Rescue Or Restrain: Why This Supermom is Putting Away Her Cape:

My kids forget their lunchboxes so I turn the car around and go back to get it. My son leaves his homework on the kitchen counter so I scan it and e-mail it to the teacher. I learn about a last minute school project and spend all night “helping” my son complete it.

It feels like I am constantly bailing my kids out, not leaving much room for them to experience the consequences of their actions. These are of course not serious misdemeanors but there are learning lessons in everything our kids do…or don’t do, for both them AND us.

Is it because I don’t want to see them suffering and upset? Is it my issue?

Perhaps I feel I am letting them down? As a mom, I am a fixer and a problem solver but when do I stop being their superhero, always coming to their rescue?

Do they even notice or appreciate my mommy rescue services?

Probably not.

I want to teach my children that their actions, or lack there of, have repercussions and I definitely do. However, if my child works really hard on an assignment and forgets it at home, I can certainly sympathize with the disappointment and anxiety he may have about the teacher thinking it wasn’t completed.

Emotions aside, the question of why this is happening is important to investigate here. If I ask my son to put his worksheet in his backpack the night before school and he fails to do so, why should I be the one to pick up the pieces? Why do I pick up the pieces? Aren’t they his to clean up?

Do I want to see my child get in trouble or ruin his whole day? No, of course not, but the fact is he did not do something I asked him to do and his lack of follow through, should have consequences. I am very aware that in “real life”, there is no superhero going to fly in and come to my children’s rescue when they need rescuing. Am I not doing my job preparing them for reality as they get older?

I actually do not want to be a role-model for them when it comes to responsibility. Confused? Let me explain. When they misplace, lose or forget their belongings and I give my speech about taking care of their things, their response is quite clever. “How can you expect us to be responsible when you are always losing your phone, keys and sunglasses”. Touché my offspring. Now he is my quick-witted response. “Yes, I am not perfect and lose things, just like you do. However, I am also responsible for you three, in addition to myself. This means I have your backpacks, water bottles, sports equipment, lunch boxes, toys and snacks, in addition to my belongings. That is a lot to be responsible for. Shall I go on?” Bam…take that!

If I only had to worry about myself, I would definitely be more aware of where I put my phone down when I get home. Would I always know where my sunglasses were? Probably no,t but again, I am not perfect. I don’t expect my kids to be either, but maybe I am being a hypocrite by sending them the message that they are. By cleaning up their messes, I am not allowing them to fail and we all know failure is a component to success! It is how we learn.

Knowing I have the power to erase their mistakes is clearly only a band-aid. I am now realizing these boo boos I am helping to create will leave scars if I don’t let them fully heal on their own.

I am slowly learning that I can’t always wear my supermom cape. It sure is not easy and by slowly, I mean s-l-o-w-y, but I will get there.