We Love Our Kids, But That Doesn't Mean We Still Do Everything for Them

When my three children were babies, I did it all for them. But now that they are teens, I have a different philosophy.

woman with a cleaning bucket in hand

Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Getty Images

When I had each of my three children the love I felt was all encompassing. I'd never wanted to do so much for a human as I did for them. There were moments I felt like we were the only people in the world, and I wondered how women have dealt with this kind of Mama Bear instinct. It was overwhelming, and there wasn't a thing I wouldn't have done for them.

When I was driving alone with them and they'd start to cry, I'd pull over and try to feed them, check their diaper, and make sure their body temperature was okay.

If they wanted to listen to Disney Tunes for five hours, we did.

I lived by their schedule and was home every day for their nap time and early bedtime and never once felt like I was missing out on anything—they were my entire world.

I tasted pureed peas to make sure they were the right temperature before feeding them, and I despise peas.

I walked them for hours if they couldn't sleep and slept on the floor next to their crib if they were up with a cold or stomach bug so I could be there if they needed me.

I let them have my French fries if they were really interested, and believe me, I never used to share food.

But since having teens, I've changed my tune. I no longer do everything for them. That ship has sailed for many reasons.

Like this morning when I peeked in their bathroom and saw a pound of hair in the bathtub drain and food chunks in the sink from their braces, I thought, nope I am not doing that.

They are old enough to know that kind of mess needs serious cleaning, and they are capable of doing it as soon as they make the mess. It's not my fault they let it build up until their bathroom looks like it's housed 10 college kids for an entire semester.

Or when they wait until the last minute to get their school work handed in on time and have to stay up late. There's no way I'm writing a note to the teacher to see if they can have more time or let them sleep in the next morning. That's another mess they made that they are responsible for fixing.

And if they've broken the rules at school, I'm not going to step in and hold their hand while they take responsibility for the situation and make it right. That's a one-person job they need to learn how to handle on their own.

Do I show them support and unconditional love at home and give them advice on how to handle these situations? Yes, I do. And I believe that doesn't mean bailing them out of a self-induced situation.

Do I have a problem handing them the bathroom cleaner and a rag and telling them to clean up the food and hair on their bathroom even though I don't use it and they probably won't do it up my standard, as they gag and dry heave? No, I don't.

I may a bit of a neat freak, but I refuse to let them treat any room in our home like a pig sty.

And if we leave the house on a bitter cold day and I remind them to bring a coat and they don't, do I let them have mine if they are freezing? Absolutely not. Those days are long gone.

There was a time when I’d do anything and everything for my babies, but they aren't babies anymore.

Some days I hate that fact, but you know what I don't hate? Having them clean up after themselves, taking responsibility, and knowing they really want to admit I actually am right about the coat thing but not being able to say it.

I'd still jump in front of a moving vehicle to save them, but clean their nasty bathroom?

This mom isn't doing that.