Clearly, Ashley was having a bit of a mommy meltdown.
After allowing her to vent until she ran out of breath, I asked her a simple, obvious question: Why are you wiping her ass?
Ashley answered, “I have to wipe it because she doesn’t do it well enough.”
With that, her real problem became clear: Ashley is perpetually overwhelmed, over-scheduled and in a rush.
Unfortunately, in our efforts to be good parents, we forget that the real goal of parenthood is to make ourselves functionally obsolete.
It is essential that parents prepare their children so they will be ready to leave home and live independently.
And yet, we are marinating in a culture that encourages mothers to create dependency.
I remember the first time the elementary school nurse called me at work. I believed that if she was calling me, there must be an emergency. Silly me.
She was calling because one of my boys didn’t like what was in his lunch and was hungry.
“Are you serious?! I am with a patient who has real problems and you’re calling me with this??!!” is what I didn’t say.
Instead, I said that my son can either eat his lunch or deal with being hungry and please never call me again unless it is medically necessary. She was appalled.
Back to Ashley. Since most moms who see me want strategy, not just support, I offered her a simple 3 step solution.
- Slow down.
- Stop wiping her ass.
- Sit with her in the bathroom and teach her to keep wiping until the toilet paper has no more poop on it. Clean toilet paper = clean tushie.