Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Lifelines: A Mother’s Love

Lifelines: A Mother’s Love

I felt the familiar feelings of frustration mixed with guilt starting to bubble up inside me, and I knew it was time for me to detach. I had done all I could for Aviva; now she was going to have to deal with the situation herself.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

lifelines

Photo: Shutterstock.

It was the morning of my daughter Aviva’s school trip. Her class was going to a place where they would get wet, and they needed swimming gear as well as a change of clothing. 

With 20 minutes left until she had to leave the house, ten-year-old Aviva decided that her regular swimming bag was not big enough to fit all her stuff. “Mommy,” she called out in a panic, “I can’t fit all my stuff in the bag!” 

I stopped in the middle of dressing my two-year-old, and hurried to Aviva’s room to help her. On the tip of my tongue were the words, “Why didn’t you pack last night? I don’t have time to help you now.” 

Instead of letting these words out, I took a deep breath. Criticism wasn’t going to be helpful now. Focus on helping the child, not berating her, I instructed myself. 

“How about we put some of your stuff in a separate bag?” I suggested. 

“NO!” she responded. “That’s so nerdy.” 

Another deep breath. Don’t argue with her reality. She needs support, not judgment. 

“I have some more bags down in the basement,” I said. “Maybe we’ll find something that can fit all your stuff.” 

We went down to the basement, and I showed Aviva several different bags that were eminently suitable — at least in my opinion. She disqualified every one of them. 

“I’m not going to be able to go on my trip!” she moaned. “I don’t have a bag!” 

I felt the familiar feelings of frustration mixed with guilt starting to bubble up inside me, and I knew it was time for me to detach. I had done all I could for Aviva; now she was going to have to deal with the situation herself. Her unhappiness is not a reflection of me as a mother. She’s entitled to figure it out on her own, and she’s entitled to my support as she does that. 

“I’m sorry you don’t have the kind of bag you want, sweetheart,” I said. “I need to finish dressing Yossi. If you need me, I’ll be in the living room.”

Photo: Shutterstock

Glancing at my watch, I saw that Aviva had to be out of the house in five minutes. Don’t pressure her, it’s just going to make things worse. Trust her to come up with a solution. Now it’s her problem, not yours. 

With that, I walked away calmly. 

Two minutes later, Aviva entered the living room carrying one of the bags I had showed her. “Mommy, can you help me pack this up quick?” she asked. 

“Sure,” I said. In less than a minute, the bag was packed. I gave her a kiss, and she was on her way, still pouting slightly. 

Job well done, I congratulated myself. Just because she’s pouting doesn’t mean I did anything wrong. And to the other voice in my head, the one that said, What a lazy, incompetent mother you are, always down to the wire, I said, No, Ma, that’s just not true.

Related Stories

A Drop in the Ocean

Dr. Ari Greenspan

It was the opportunity of my dreams: a week on a sailboat bobbing up and down on the ocean waves, no...

Come My Way

Faygie Levy Holt

Smaller Jewish communities across the country are looking to grow numbers by enticing people away fr...

Cut ’n Paste: “Have You Seen My Bunk?”

Zack Saltman

Some people have been quoted as saying, “A day camp counselor is one of the easiest jobs in the worl...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you