Monday, February 8, 2010

Sometimes I Do, Sometimes I Don't

Do people sometimes criticize you for doing too much for your child with a disability? Do they say, “Let them do that? How else will they learn?”
I have, in fact, said similar things to other parents of children with disabilities. I even wrote a blog post titled Don’t Love Me Too Much on this subject.

I believe we need to let our children try and sometimes even fail so that they can learn. But often when I am ‘doing’ for my child, it’s more for me than her.

Yes, my daughter is capable of dressing and undressing herself. Yes, she is capable of washing her hair and completing her bath alone. Yes, she can get up and get something if she wants it. And yes, she needs to be pushed sometimes to learn how to do things for herself. But often the times I spend ‘doing’ for her are some of the sweetest times we share.

I love helping her dry off after her shower. I love helping her get dressed in her warm pajamas, and I love the feel of her skin against mine when I am putting lotion on her arms and legs. I love the softness of her hair as I blow it dry, and I love tucking her into bed just as much now that she is 14 years old as I did when she was 2 years old.

I realized a long time ago that I am a ‘helper’. I take great pleasure in helping people – my children, my neighbors, and my friends. It’s just how I’m wired to live. And with maturity has come the knowledge that sometimes it is good to step back and not ‘do’ for others, and sometimes it’s perfectly fine to ‘do’.

The moments of my life with my children are fleeting. I refuse to waste a single one of them just because someone else doesn’t agree with my approach to helping my child grow. Growth is not measured only in the number of skills one has, but also in how much they love and connect with others.


Queenbuv3 said...

I understand what you are saying. We have unused PCA hours every week. We feel that some of the only quality time we have with our son is when we are helping him. Because of his Autism he prefers to be alone. If we weren't helping him with his daily self-care skills and activities we wouldn't have much interaction with him at all.

However, there are times that we realize that we are doing too much for him and that it can hurt his ability to be independant. I recently gave him the tooth flosser and he is able to floss his own teeth with just a little bit of help.

My daughter will be 8 tomorrow and she won't let me help her with so many things already. While I'm happy for her becoming more independant I find that I miss doing those things to help her.

Sheri said...

So very sweet and so very right! :) Thanks for bringing a smile to my face today.

Trish said...

I really appreciate you sharing this. The other day I was helping my son zip his coat - not because he can't do it himself, but just to do something nice for him. I felt guilty for a second but then brushed it off.

While there are times we have to push our children to learn new things or not to be lazy, it also true that the little things we do for each other strengthen our relationships.

Ashley's Mom said...

Just like everything else in parenting, it's one big balancing act, isn't it?

Katherine said...

To help is to care, to care is to love. We mothers are pretty switched on to our children's needs & we know when to pull back and let them do things for themselves.
These special moments you speak of are magical moments that make a child feel special. A moment of bonding. I remember my mother brushing my hair as a child many times. This was something I was more than capable of doing myself & I remember quite vividly how it made me feel. Very Special!

Azaera said...

I agree with the previous commenter, I LOVE having my hair brushed by someone even though I can do it on my own. As a child my mom would brush my hair and do the braids or ponytails or whatever and it was a good time to spend talking together, and having a nice shared moment.

I can only hope that Skyler and I will share moments like those. I agree it is a balancing act.

Corrie Howe said...

I tend to do more for my children, but more because I'm a perfectionist. I have to consciously stop or else they will become like my mom, who moved out of the house, married my dad and didn't know how to cook, clean or do laundry, because her mother wouldn't let her.