When I was pregnant with my second child, and eventually my third, I had this really deep sense of guilt that I was taking away from the child(ren) that I already had, by adding another to the mix. I recognized that as normal and I was able to talk myself through the guilt and first few crazy months until I could not remember life without our newest addition. Now, with three active boys, I am convinced that I am a better mom to three than I was to one.
I have been dreading the thought of Brady learning to ride a bike without training wheels for awhile now. We bought him a bike for his birthday in November,but he only had the chance to practice a couple of times before winter took over. I was, admittedly, relieved when it became too cold for me to run alongside him on his bike.
I was chatting with a woman at the grocery store (yes, I am THAT mom!) this morning, and she was telling me that when her kids were small, she just let the house go and played with her kids and she did not regret it. Those words were echoing through my head this afternoon as I prepared to fold some laundry and mop the floors. I decided to put it off and head out into the beautiful sunshine with the boys.
I parked the van at the bottom of the driveway and pulled out the bikes and helmets. I figured I might as well get the inevitable over with.
I spent quite a while holding on to the seat of Brady’s bike, and as predicted, I could NOT let go.
“Let go!” he’d yell.
“No, Brady, you haven’t learned to balance yet.”
My always helpful and ever-present neighbor Mr. Jeff came over.
“Why don’t you just let him go,” he asked. “He has a helmet on.”
I could not explain it to him. I know he would be fine (as in not fatally injured) if he fell, but I also knew that he would probably hurt himself, and I just was not ready for that.
Mr. Jeff inspected the bike and filled up the tires for me and promised to fix the brakes that seem a little sketchy.
Sully kept asking for help in mounting, dismounting, and turning his bike around in the driveway. Colin got bored and fussy in the pack-and –play. As I was running around tending to the other kids, the most amazing thing happened. Brady started playing with learning to balance himself on the bike (without interference from his mom), and he learned how to put his foot down to stop him from toppling over. Sully learned how to get on and off his bike by himself.
I am pretty certain none of these things would have happened if I was only tending to one child. Actually, I know that for sure. I am too controlling and too afraid of watching my kids get hurt to allow them to learn for themselves.
And that is why I am a much better parent to three kids than I am to one, because it stops me from being the helicopter parent that, deep down inside, I truly am.