Taking The Leash Off!
by Erin Prewitt on May 4th, 2015

Today I took our dear little dog, Levi, for a walk.  Usually I walk Levi on a leash.  Levi has been in our family for 4 years, and for some reason today I thought that maybe he would be fine off the leash.  So I asked Levi, yes I asked out loud (I am one of “those” pet owners who talks to their pet and I am NOT a bit embarrassed about it.) “Levi, do you want to walk without your leash?”  I don’t speak dog, so I chose to interpret his wagging tail as a yes!  I was nervous.  What if he walked away?  Or what if someone walks along who can’t stand dogs and gives me one of those shaming looks for letting my dog off the leash?  Even though I was a bit anxious, I did it anyways and to my happy surprise he stayed with me the whole time!!  He loved the freedom, he never walked too far away from me, and the best part was he did less marking (that is a miracle, my dog likes to pee on everything while walking).

Levi walked proudly in his new unleashed state.  I realized how simple it was to just take his leash off and how well behaved he was without it.  My mind started to wander, I thought about how so many of us humans leash ourselves.  Then I thought, “Is there any area in my life that I have self-leashed”?  What if I could be like Levi?  Are there areas in my life where a leash is no longer needed?  My mind immediately focused on motherhood.  I started to think of all the ways I felt limited, maybe even tied up about being a mom.  Somewhere along the line I had decided what “good” mothers do.  They play with their children (especially kid board games).  They make child friendly meals.  They know how to create a warm and inviting home.  They have no problem carpooling kids to activities, heck, good moms say the more kids the merrier.  They take pride in doing homework with her children, and most of all, they enjoy it!!  Countless times I have walked onto my daughter’s school campus and compared myself to all the moms scattered around me.  I compared how they got down on their knees to talk with their little ones, or how some of them seemed to effortlessly handle their three plus children under the age of 7.  I listened to mothers talking to one another about all the activities their children participate in and how driving them about town is just a part of being a parent.  I imagined these very same moms cooking those child friendly meals while simultaneously helping their children do their homework in their very tidy homes.   

Between my made up standards of what a good mom is, and my tendency to imagine perfect home lives created by all these super-moms, I always came up short.  I was not and probably never would be a “good” mom by those standards.  I am not a fan, and I rarely participate in playing child board games.  If I cook, it is generally something I like.  I loath the idea of carpooling and by no means is more kids the merrier.  And then there is homework time.  I will describe it as a very painful daily event at my house.  One other thing, I am clueless on how to decorate a home, let alone make it warm and inviting.

I continued my walk with Levi, and I guess I have to admit, I continued talking…but this time I was talking to myself.  I asked myself what does being a good mom look like?  My thoughts wandered to Izzy, and tears began to tickle down my face because I instantly recognized that she accepts me as her Mother exactly as I show up.  Izzy learned that if I made dinner the rule was “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”.  She comes to me with new ideas for new activities she wants to participate in.  But she is strategic in how she introduces her requests; “Mommy, what if when soccer ends I take singing lessons?”   She knows that I am a one activity a week parent.  This year she has turned into a problem solver when it comes to homework time.  Recently she said “I have a plan, let me show you how I am going to process homework this week”.  As I continued on my walk, I grasped the fact that I, Erin Prewitt had disempowered myself as a parent.  Nobody else has done it, it was all me.  I thought I was lacking as a Mother that I did not have the skills, interest, or DNA required to be like those other great Moms.  

I stopped walking abruptly because I found clarity.  I found self-awareness that it was me that had leashed myself to these crazy and unrealistic standards of what good moms do. I made up these standards, and if I made up these standards of what a good mom looks like, then I could change them!  This brings me to something recently shared by a wonderful client I work with.  She said to me, “Erin, there are two rights I have as a woman:  I have the right to change my hair color and I have the right to change my mind.”  I just love that statement! 

So I am changing my mind.  I am taking off the leash I have tethered myself with.  I am freeing myself and changing my mind!  It has been a few days since that walk with Levi.  After mulling it over, I have concluded on a new vision of what a “good Mom” is:  A good Mom is one who believes in herself and teaches her children to do the same.  I may not be a good Mom for most kids, but I know I am the perfect Mom for Izzy.  Now maybe I should go change my hair color!?!?

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Kristofer Young, DC - May 4th, 2015 at 9:26 PM
I like you, your writing, your thinking and your talking out loud!
And I don't like kids' board games!
Thank you again for a great opportunity to think and unleash!
Carrie Collins - May 5th, 2015 at 4:13 PM
Love it Erin! And I absolutely agree. I never quite fit in with what mothers were supposed to do. I do cook a little, but I do not sew, or do crafts, or clean my house as much as I should. My children have all grown to be wonderful people in spite of me and I am proud that I raised kids to think for themselves. Miss you and love you.

Kathleen - May 6th, 2015 at 12:56 AM
You dear Erin are an awesome mom and yes you are the perfect Mom for Izzy. Remember, she chose you.
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