It’s every parents right of passage when they are faced with pushing their child even FURTHER out of the womb.
When their child must do something that is outside their COMFORT ZONE.
It’s hard enough on the child to do something DIFFERENT -children need ROUTINE – to make any CHANGE – something they are not used to doing can be hard to comprehend and possibly terrifying to them. Yet , somehow , the hardest strain is on the PARENT – we are the ones who need to look our child in the eye hold their face and explain:
“Do this or you’re grounded!”
For me, this watershed event occurred the other day at child number one’s swim practice.
It was her time to be evaluated to advance into the next level of swim team.
The week before leading up to this test all we could talk about was this exciting event! Until the minute it was time to get in the water all hell broke loose -she refused to get in the pool because she said she didn’t feel well. Her head hurt. She was tired. She just felt sick.
I knew what she was up to – I’d heard it all before….its natural. Nerves. New team. Bigger players. Longer swim meets.More responsibility….all led to one of the biggest meltdowns I had ever experienced – tantrum doesn’t even come close to describing the TEARS the BEGGING the PLEADING – THAT I HAD TO DO – to get her in the water!!
When that didn’t work I did what every good parent inevitably does:
When that didn’t work I was left with no choice but to THREATEN her with what I knew was her ultimate WEAKNESS – her Achilles Heal-
A little history here: Being my first born, coupled with the fact that my career took center stage to “Mommy and Me” and therefore I’m a late in life mama – the grandma on the playground – I have a slight tendency to coddle and shelter her…so when she wanted to give up ballet at age 4 after the first lesson even though the semester was paid in full and nonrefundable – I let her. And when she was bored with Karate at age 5 after the second class – after I had purchased enough wood planks and bricks to build a new garage- well, I allowed her to quit then too.
And on and on it went- all my little princess had to do was shed one tear and mama caved in.
ME = SUCKER
You need to know also that along with this coddling comes a homebody in a snuggie in the making and the one thing she hates doing is sleeping out – she likes her own bed….(Having run away myself – I mean left home – for college at age 17 I certainly am not fighting that one – my kids can live with me when they are married with kids and I will finally be able to say my life is complete and gain the title of “Happiest Mama Alive”)
Until yesterday…..I simply was not having it. So when the whistle blew and it was time for the meet to commence I did what I had to do….
I THREATENED to send her to sleep away camp!
Some mothers have military school in their arsenal of threats and some Jewish mothers have camp Ramah and bug juice!
Within 30 seconds she was halfway across the pool!
The best part of it all was that she was amazing!
The speed, the stamina, the determination was like no other!! She passed with flying colors!
I had never been so proud of MYSELF…I finally BROKE the curse of Mothers Guilt!!!
All was blissful until we got home and the coughing began….turns out she has Bronchitis and possibly Walking Pneumonia…..
Her “excuse” of not feeling well wasn’t an excuse after all and she had to get an oxygen treatment. ( Before you start calling child services on me you should know that I spent the night coddling her and she’ll be just fine.)
All I could think about was just how proud I am that she pushed herself as hard as she did- just to overcome her own FEAR of being sent off to camp….her ACHILLES HEAL!
We ALL have our weaknesses – our fears- our Achilles Heals-something that holds us back……
What people are capable of under dire circumstances can be EXTRAORDINARY.
If only we took EACH and EVERY day to PUSH ourselves to new limits- to confront our FEARS- to go outside our COMFORT ZONE – well, we may just experience a little little feeling called ……..ACCOMPLISHMENT.