I sat back in my chair, watching all the kids playing. Laughing at the games they invent with kids they just met.
I didn’t join in because it wasn’t my place: they were having fun and with other kids playing in that room at the Children’s Museum, I didn’t need to be in the way.
It had been years since we’d been at that museum, since it’s not nearby. And that last time, it took both my husband and I to keep an eye on the kids. I don’t remember ever sitting down then- we were too busy trying to keep track of three kids: were they still in the same room as we were, were they safe, were they behaving?
But now… I tell them to stay in a certain room and they do. While accidents can always happen, they’re past the toddler/preschool age where you worry when there’s a ladder or other climbing structure. And they know what behavior I expect of them(I still check in with them and remind them, but they don’t need anyone right on top of them all the time).
So, I became a sitting mom: something I thought would never happen. All those years of having to be right on top of my kids when we were out somewhere like that had me convinced I might never sit again.
Yet, there I was, just sitting back and watching. Snapping a few pics, chatting with another mom, laughing as my boys would check in to tell me what they were up to.
It’s a new stage of parenting, this being able to step back and let them go.
There are still certain times when I step in: when they try something new for the first time, like ice skating, or if we’re somewhere where it’s not safe for them to be on their own, and my kids will probably be graduating from high school before I feel comfortable with them being in water without me nearby.
And sometimes I join in because they want me to- a water gun battle in the backyard(I am the CHAMP- don’t mess with mama!) or being the one to sit with them on a rollercoaster or at the movies.
Other times I might join in despite their eye rolling, because I want me to, still wanting to be an active part of what they do, of the memories they’re building.
But, this weekend, it hit me that they’re needing me less and less.
While part of me hates the very thought, another part of me finds joy and pride in becoming a sitting mom.