Robin Gorman Newman from Motherhood Later discusses how she gives her young son a sense of independence.
We received a notice in the mail today from Seth's day camp. They don't waste anytime trying to get you to sign on the dotted line for next summer. This summer isn't even over...thankfully....and I certainly don't want to wish it away.
The flyer was an invitation for Seth, who enters third grade in the fall, to attend one week of sleep away as part of his day camp experience next year. They make special arrangements for kids age 9 and up. We asked Seth if he might like to do it, and he said he wasn't sure. I could tell he was intrigued by the notion, but nervous at the same time. He asked if there would be daddy long legs there. I said there might be since the rooms are cabins, and the grounds are very rustic. Had to be honest. He detests spiders. Seth is growing up....quickly. To imagine him on his own for a week is something that's a bit hard for me to swallow. I know the day will come, if he chooses to attend, but how will the house feel without him? As much as I get overwhelmed with his clutter of toys all over, laundry on the floor, empty drink containers, pee stained toilet seats, etc., I adore his company...well...most of the time. There are times when I need my own space, as anyone does. But, he's generally an upbeat, kind kid who, yes, tires me out, but who makes me laugh and gives hugs like no other. Would he like sleep away? We put him to bed now...and my husband lies with him most nights until he nods off. We help him put on pajamas...yes he can do it himself...but he prefers not to. We help him dress in the morning....sure he can pick out his own clothes and put them on, but he welcomes assistance. We prompt him to brush teeth and pee before bedtime. Would he do it on his own? I imagine he'd mimic the other boys who would be in his bunk. Would he come home a changed child? Would he resume his old habits? Would I miss it if he didn't? It's nice to feel needed, but it's also good to know that, especially if we're in a rush, he can get himself prepared to leave the house. Parenting is all about raising a child to go out into the world and embrace his autonomy. We know we've done our job when we can send our child out there with confidence, strength, good values, street smarts, etc. No parent lives forever, and later moms may have an even higher consciousness of this fact. Though I don't dwell on it, I already know what it feels like to lose a parent, my mom, who never saw me become a mom. I know all too well that the best you can do as a mother is to let your child know they'd be okay without you. I'm not suggesting you need to verbalize that, but rather instill in them a sense of security and inner peace to know they can conquer whatever lies ahead, and to embrace all that life has to offer, and to always hold the love of their parents in their heart, where it will never fade, whatever the future brings.
Robin Gorman Newman is the founder of MotherhoodLater.com, a worldwide organization for those who became a mom at 35+. She publishes the ezine Baby Bloomer and blogs about later in life parenting, theatre, family travel and products. She is Associate Producer of , a new off Broadway show. Robin also works as a Love Coach for singles and authored the books Motherhood Out Loud How to Meet a Mensch in NY and How to Marry a Mensch (being adapted for the stage). She has made appearances at shows in NYC including Dinner with Friends and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, has been seen on CNN and The Today Show, and has spoken at Canyon Ranch and Mohonk Mountain House. She is a member of The American Society of Journalists and Authors.