Parenting

My Kids Don’t Need Me

Somewhere along the way, she stopped needing me to hold her hand as we walked in the parking lot. Somewhere along the way, he stopped needing me to read him stories before bed. She stopped needing me to wash her hair with the raspberry scented shampoo. He stopped needing me to tie his shoelaces. They don’t need me to choose their clothes or feed them or brush their teeth for them. At least not anymore.

My kids are growing up. And with it comes the inevitable – they need me less and less in their lives.

I should be relieved. This is what I wanted, right? The independence, the freedom, finally being able to do what I want to do?

Maybe not.

Somewhere along the way, I got used to being needed. It became my identity – and my idol. I realized that I need to be needed.

Now, those of you who know me personally are probably thinking: what’s she talking about? Her kids are tiny.

That’s true. Somewhat. While I’m far from being an empty nester, this mom thing changes in the blink of an eye. One moment you’re looking into the startled eyes of a wailing newborn and the next minute your kid is like, “Don’t kiss me in front of my friends.”

Yup, letting go is hard. But I’m learning to loosen my white-knuckle grip on my kids — and release them to God.

Somehow, in my mind, I’d subscribed to this idiotic notion that I could protect them from all harm. That I could be their sufficiency. That I could create a perfect storybook world for them.  But then came my lightbulb moment: My kids don’t need me. They need God.

And they have the freedom to find God only when I let go and let them discover Him for themselves.

I’m slowly overcoming my need to hold on to them — so they have the chance to fall into the arms of the One who won’t ever let go.

I’m overcoming my need to fight their battles for them – so that they can trust that if God is for them, who can be against them?

I’m overcoming my need to interfere in every decision they make – so they learn to face consequences and learn that God works everything out for their good and His glory.

Learning to let my kids fly – and sometimes fall in the process – is the hardest thing about mommyhood. I want to bubble wrap them, mark them as “fragile,” and ensure that the world is kind to them.

But if I clip their wings, they won’t ever see the beauty of the unexplored.

If I overprotect and hover, they don’t have the space to look up at the vastness of the universe and the awesome power of God.

If I force feed them Scripture, they don’t have the chance to discover for themselves that His words are sweeter than honey.

Yes, I still have a role – an important one – and will be their mama till the day I die. But my role is a lighthouse, pointing them to Jesus. My role is to train a child in the way he should go.

Training doesn’t happen in a cotton candy world. It happens on the ground and in the trenches. When fuzzy blankets are ripped away, you discover you’re alone – and that’s when you envelop yourself in the always-there presence of Jesus.

So, I learn to overcome. Overcome my fear of them getting hurt. Overcome my desire to protect. Overcome my need to be needed.

**This post appeared originally on IndiaAnya.com. 

Susan Narjala
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Susan Narjala works for a non-profit in India that supports the education of underprivileged children. She is also a freelance writer and has been blogging for several years at Alliteration Alley. Her writing has appeared in Relevant magazine, Her View From Home, Parent Co, Huffington Post India and the MOPS blog among other sites.

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