So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

You always carry her.

You hold her a lot.

You pick her up so much.

Carrying my baby brought on a lot of commentary when I was a new mom.

“Up,” my daughter would signal upon arriving at a park, preschool or playdate. She was “spirited,” as author Mary Kurcinka described: extra sensitive, perceptive, uncomfortable with change.

She’ll become too dependent.

Enabled.

Clingy.

I still lifted.

Museums? Mall play areas? Movies? Big, busy and loud equaled my child’s need for smallness, space, and security.

Colorful play structures that lured toddlers, made mine draw back. Attending children’s concerts usually led to vacating our seats and heading to the quiet room.

I envied free-at-the-knees moms with empty laps who enjoyed eating and having a conversation at parties. They didn’t have to reply, “Mine just needs time to warm up,” when asked why their child wasn’t participating.

As the onlooker sitting on waiting room benches during birthdays at kid gyms, I tried to look amused by the squealing of children yet didn’t want to look discouraged by my downtrodden daughter. We’d roam the room or I’d escort her to the circle of kids gathered around the instructor.

Let her go alone.

Stay back.

You’re coddling.

I still lifted.

“You have to raise the child you have, not the child you wish you had,” says author Dr. Kathy Koch.

Now that nearly-raised child is as independent as July 4th. At 15, she loves going to movies with friends and eats in noisy food courts. She manages her schoolwork and communications with teachers. The one who once ran from the masses now performs on stage during choir shows. She auditioned and made her school’s mock trial team . . . another public performance, oriented activity.

Each year since having left her former school, she is invited to give tours to perspective parents at the annual open house. The principal feels she is a confident leader, poised, and a clear communicator. She volunteers Sundays in a first grade class and landed a camp counselor job, desiring the opportunity to work with kids. This once fearful child decided to step out from her small, private school to attend a large public high school where she did not come in under the security of a friend group. She marched in alone.

I list these examples not to brag but to say that if you are a Coddler Mom, years from now, you may see a gap from where your child was teetering to where she is standing. Baby steps taken have left imprints of self-assuredness and independence in my daughter’s life. She’s still cautious, doesn’t rush in, and there are still hurdles to jump in getting through uncomfortable situations. Here’s what helped:

Knowing and Accepting My Child’s Temperament

You can change and control your response but not your child’s personality. Rather than trying to talk my child out of being uncomfortable, learning about temperaments, development, and approaches that elevate children’s spirits, builds esteem, and honors readiness, was invaluable.

Respecting My Child’s Discomfort

Offering empathy with, “I know you feel afraid,” or “I know the noise hurts your ears,” relaxes an anxious child and gives words to their feelings. Suggesting to return another day, communicates that fears don’t always stick around and strength develops in trying again.

Communicating Plans Ahead of Time

My daughter did better knowing what to expect before an event. When walking into a store I’d suggest, “I’ll carry you until we reach the door and when we get inside, you can ride in the cart or walk next to me.” Laying out the plan enabled her to step in with more ease and giving choice gave her the opportunity to make a decision comfortable for her.

After a day out, I knew my daughter needed quietness to recharge, which she still needs today. She schedules the timing of activities with her temperament in mind, and knows when she needs down time to recharge. She directs her choices based on what she knows about herself. Isn’t that what we want our children to be able to do?

I wish I had seen that every lift up to my hip provided security to later step alone. I should have trusted the passing stages of development more, my fears and words of others, less. For that baby who needs holding now, just might be coddling you when it’s time to live life beyond your hips.

To a Coddling Mom I say:

One day, your arms will retire and be put to rest from lifting. Carrying will have its final day.

You are giving your child love and support.

She’s going to feel accepted, unhurried, and have freedom to launch at her pace, emotionally strong.

Keep lifting.

You may also like:

I’ll Hold You Instead

Mama, You Feel Like Home

The Nights Are So Long

Linda Tang

A wife and mom of two daughters, Linda has authored a YA romance novel and writes for parenting publications. Her PR and marketing career has circled the globe working at Miss Universe, Inc, ‘TEEN Magazine and KABC TalkRadio in Los Angeles.

What I Wish Someone Would’ve Told Me About Gender Disappointment

In: Baby, Motherhood
Pregnant couple holding boy or girl sign

I was in the corner of my closet hiding behind my wedding dress and every formal I’ve ever owned. It was dark, stuffy, and felt like a good place to hide. I’d just found out I was having a boy, and I was devastated in ways I didn’t think possible and was trying to hide what I was feeling from the world around me.  What kind of mother isn’t completely enamored with her baby-to-be? Did this make me a monster? I should have been happy. After all, I was having a healthy baby. That’s like winning the lottery. Instead, I...

Keep Reading

The Conversation We’re Forgetting To Have About Birth

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman having a baby man holding her hand

My husband lay sleeping, his head resting on a fluffy, down-stuffed pillow in our hotel room. His bag was packed neatly, ESPN was playing quietly in the background, and he had unopened snacks at his disposal on the end table. Our hotel phone rang, and my husband groggily answered, ”Yes? Oh, sorry. Yeah, we’ll keep it down. Sorry.” He hung up and found me miserable and shaky in the shower, the thin shower curtain clinging to my legs.  “Steph, we got a noise complaint. You have to keep it down!” he whispered. This is not how I expected labor to...

Keep Reading

Bathtime Washes Away the Struggles of the Day

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler

It’s 7 p.m., which means bathtime at our house. I close the drain and fill the tub with warm water. I pump Johnson’s baby soap—the water and soap swirl together and form bubbles. The bubbles dance on top of the water, just waiting to cleanse my baby boy. I toss in your foam alphabet letters, Mr. Shark, and Mr. Penguin.  I place you in the bath and lather baby soap in my hands and give you a soapy mohawk. You are barely one and still my baby, but your four fat teeth make you look older. You chew on the...

Keep Reading

This May Be the Last Time I See Those Two Pink Lines

In: Baby, Motherhood

My little caboose, I’ve just finished staring at the two pink lines. It’s not the first time. In fact, I’ve done this twice before, and each time, I am filled with the same disbelief, gratitude, and pure joy. But something is a little different this time. Unless God has different plans for us, this may be the last time I see those pink lines. And that realization makes me want to hold onto all of the last firsts we will experience together with all my might. The two pink lines. The first time we hear your precious heartbeat. RELATED: Dear...

Keep Reading

Nothing Prepared Me To Be a Medical Mom

In: Baby, Motherhood
Baby boy sitting in mom's lap

I never saw it coming. The hours spent at doctor appointments, the coordination between specialists, the adding and subtracting of prescriptions—I never saw any of it coming.  I had a healthy pregnancy. Baby had a strong heartbeat at every appointment, and the anatomy scan showed an energetic, growing babe. There were no indicators that my water would break prematurely, that we would experience time in the NICU. Nothing hinted toward a hidden genetic condition or brain malformation that would complicate our child’s care. Nothing prepared me to be a medical mom. It was something that came fast and furious. Something...

Keep Reading

To My Firstborn: A New Baby May Divide My Attention But Not My Love

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood

Sweet babe, have you heard the news? You’re going to be a big sibling! Our family is growing, and there will be a new, squishy baby to love on and to welcome home.  This baby will be a little different from your baby doll. This baby won’t need you to feed them toy carrots or make them beds of blankets. But, they will definitely need your sweet kisses and lullabies. It’s made my heart melt watching how loving and attentive you are, and I know you’ll be ready for this new role as a big sibling.  It will be beautiful,...

Keep Reading

Everything Feels Wrong During Pregnancy After Loss

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman with baby sitting outside on blanket, color photo

To the woman who is pregnant after a loss, I see you. I know this should be such an exciting time in your life, but you have been cheated of being able to feel that way again. It is so unfair. I see you trying so hard to not get ahead of yourself after you receive that positive test result. You want to feel happiness and excitement, but you force yourself to be cautious just in case. I know you are trying to protect your heart. I recognize that you are over-analyzing every cramp, pull, and tug you feel. You...

Keep Reading

The Newborn Nights Feel As Endless As My Love For You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother sleeping next to infant, black-and-white photo

In the dark, the moments stretch too long between sleep. All night we listen for your calls: puckering cherub lips, chirps, whines, and wails. Three weeks, now, without a full night’s rest. Three weeks since this whole ordeal began. At first, we tried trading shifts in the night. In the orange and teal baby room, dim and quiet, three hours long and lonely—I thought of birth. How invincible I felt. I tried to make the strength translate. I can get through this sleepless night, I told myself. I can bear your endless feeding and howls. I can. Later, we were...

Keep Reading

I Will Forever Carry Both Life and Death

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Infant lying in bed next to matching empty bed, color photo

I have experienced the miracle of feeling life move within me. I have felt the pain and devastation of carrying a life I’d never have the chance to meet. Nothing prepared me for the bittersweet feeling of experiencing both at the same time. Celebrating the beating heart of one baby while mourning the stillness of the other. Wishing to not see a reminder of what you’ve lost but knowing that would be detrimental to what you still have. RELATED: Twin Loss Splits a Mother’s Heart in Two Catching glimpses as your ultrasound tech tries to quickly zoom past to not cause...

Keep Reading

How Do You Know If You’re Meant to Have Another Baby?

In: Baby, Motherhood

“I think I want just one more baby.” I stood at my infant’s changing table peering into his sweet eyes. Another set of eyes turned up to me from the diaper pail, wide and knowing. “I just don’t know about that,” my husband sent up as he held his breath tying off the bag full of dirty diapers. “I just feel like I have a lot of love left to give,” I responded, and he just looked at me, but I knew what he was thinking because I was thinking it too. I know I have a lot of love...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections