Stumbling into Confidence

“You raise your kids for the world.”

My Paw-Paw first uttered these words of wisdom to my mom, and now she has passed them down to me as I navigate motherhood. As my children get older and face new experiences and obstacles, this seven-word phrase has taken on new meaning.

I get it now. All I want to do is shield my children from any negative emotion or situation and prevent broken hearts, scraped knees, bad grades, or rejection. I can’t though, and I’m finally coming to terms with something else … maybe I shouldn’t.

It seems my mom’s go-to statement of “one day, you’ll understand” is finally hitting home.

“You raise your kids for the world.”  

I turn to this quote when I feel weak watching my daughter struggle to put her socks on or when she is having a meltdown because she can’t watch her favorite princess movie. In those moments, all I want to do is fix it and make her life easier. “Let me help you put your socks on,” or “Okay sweetheart, let me run across town in rush hour traffic back to the library and get the princess movie we just returned.”

It’s in these moments though, I remember our little girl isn’t going to be so little one day. And although all I want in life is for her to need me FOREVER, I also recognize that I want her to feel confident and capable of handling whatever life throws her way.

Because the truth is kids are precious, not fragile. Children need to be loved and nurtured, but also tested and challenged to be healthy, well-rounded individuals. Of course, I’m not saying that kids should fend for themselves. I believe there is a healthy balance.

Balance is what I’m striving for.

I want my children to feel capable of facing anything, but know there is a soft place to fall. Letting my kids scrape a knee or two, but being there with Boo-Boo Bunny to ease the pain. Even while I momentarily feel weak, I know they are growing permanently stronger.

Maybe kids are meant to be handled with care but not bubble wrapped. As I watch my three-year-old form friendships and discover the world, I remind myself to take a step back. As I reluctantly loosen my grip with each milestone and challenge, she becomes ever more resilient and brave.

So for now, my goal is to be there when my kids stumble. Sometimes I’ll be too close and other times too far away, but I’m learning with each struggle, big or small. And one day when my children leave this nest my husband and I have built, my hope is they are not only ready for the world, but the world is ready for them.

Tiffanie Pitre is a wife and full-time working mom to a three-year-old (Norah) and one-year-old twins (August and Millie). Tiffanie was born and raised in New Orleans, but has been calling Baton Rouge home since 2004 when she enrolled at LSU. Upon graduating from the design program, she started working at the advertising agency Xdesign, where she now leads the team as Art Director. Tiffanie and her husband Stefan are always looking for new things to do as a family, and never let multiple backpacks, strollers, and bags weigh them down.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is spot on. I let my kids learn how to navigate the world through experience, but I am there for guidance and the occasional “back in my day” for comparison. I am a tough adult largely due to my mother’s hands-off approach to parenting, and I want my children to grow up with experience and decision-making ability.

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