Every morning my two year old insists that she put on her own socks. And every morning after struggling admirably and succeeding with one she turns to me, with the other in hand, and says “help, please Mum?” As a new mum, I have often heard that my role as a parent is to bring my girls up to be independent and self-sufficient.
I don’t quite agree.
There is a lot of emphasis in our society on independence, standing strong, not having to lean on anyone. But the truth is that sometimes we need to. Sometimes we just can’t handle all that this world throws at us on our own. Sometimes we need people around us, supporting us and tackling things with us. Whilst I do want my children to be able to put on their own socks, or develop and foster their own ideas, or work through arguments themselves. I also want my girls to be able to ask for help if they need it.
I want them to be able to say, “hey, I have this idea and I need help developing it”, or “I can’t solve this argument, can you please mediate?”, or “please can you help me with my socks?” I want my girls to grow up to be the kind of women that can handle the ups and downs of life by themselves, but also the kind of women that know it’s okay to say “help, please”.
And importantly I want them to know who to ask for help … the two year old’s big sister is useless with socks! So while I teach them independence and self-sufficiency, I also teach them that sometimes it’s okay to ask for help and how to look for the right people to ask. ‘Cause we all need help with our socks (and other things) sometimes …