Whether you are teaching a child to tie her shoes, ride a bike or put in contacts, there is the almost simultaneous ebb of the push and the pull.
"I can do this by myself. Leave me alone. I don't need your help."
I've heard this through the other side of a locked door more than once from my daughters. But the second you walk away, there's liable to be another exclamation.
"Mom, where are you? I need you!"
As parents, we need to learn how to ride these waves with aplomb, to switch our brains from backing off to being helpers at a moment's notice, without judgment. In other words, we can't take their rejection personally. We need to be ready to jump right back in to helper mode seamlessly.
"Wait a minute. You told me to leave you alone a minute ago," delivered in a snarky tone, is not the correct response even if that's what we may be thinking at the time.
"I'm here," is always the right response. Because no matter what they're doing, no matter how far they venture, kids always need their mothers even when we don't always know exactly what to do to help.
I'm here. I'm here. I'm here...
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.