22 June 2015

Meet Jaclyn from Beauty and the Binky : Childhood Independence is Overrated

I am a young, fashionable mom. I never cook, but I do get dressed every day. I truly believe in and advocate for a woman’s ability to birth, breastfeed, and maintain her own identity after conceiving. I wrote the book on night wakings, I graduated from the University of Pumping at Work, and I built a 30 pound child with my breasts alone. ...all while wearing a pencil skirt and heels. I admit that I’m not “good” at anything, I just try really hard. I believe a little effort goes a long way.

I once watched a clip from a talk show where the guest was answering audience questions. The guest was a mama who breastfed her older toddler, even though society typically looks down upon it. The toddler was around 4, if I remember correctly. ...you can imagine how those questions went. I was intrigued by an older woman who stood up and said that she taught Pre-K at a daycare, where 4-year-old's "needed to be independent." I spent a lot of time dissecting her arguments and relating them to breastfeeding. It was especially important to me that the woman who spoke up about childhood independence did not have any college education or any formal training on childhood development. This was important to me because, if she would have taken childhood development classes (or typed in a few Google searches), she would have known a bit more information about childhood independence and how the breastfeeding mother is actually very likely to raise an independent child.

I also started thinking about my own child’s independence. Is he independent? What does independence look like for a toddler? Do I even want him to be independent?! I came to these 3 conclusions and I wanted to share them with you, in case you’re over there fuming about having to tie your child’s shoes for the fifth time today. Grab a much-deserved glass of Shiraz and join me in these realizations:

  1. Independence actually means self-rule and separation
...which none of us want for our children. Did you know that independence means "freedom from outside control or support?" (Definition taken from Merriam-Webster.com.) I don't know about you, but that isn't even close to being my goal for my two year old. In fact, I think he could use a little a lot more outside control...especially in the grocery line...and the car...and at nap time...and...well, you get the idea. As for the last part, I will go ahead and assume that we all agree that don't want our children to be free from support.
  1. Teaching children to be independent is actually quite a dependent process
...which is basically the opposite of “independence.” I know what you’re thinking, “she’s getting all crunchy on us now,” but hear me out. Read through that list of 8 tips to teach your child to be more independent and you will find that all 8 tips are highly parent-led! In fact, these 8 tips sound more involved than the normal route of doing things for your child!
  1. We actually want our children to be mature
...which means “complete in natural growth or development.” (Definition taken from Merriam-Webster.com.) Think about it. We want our children to be at the point of dressing themselves...or putting their toys back into the toy box when they’re finished. These qualities come with maturity. These qualities aren’t based on “freedom from control,” but rather from being “completely developed!” Maturity and development take time and support. I think we can all agree on that! At least I can, especially while looking back on my 15-year-old-self.

All-in-all, I’ve decided that I actually do not want my child to be independent. In fact, working to help him become independent is apparently a lot more work than keeping him dependent on me and will result in utter chaos, since it is, after all, defined as freedom from control! Aside from the jokes, I came to a quick realization that true independence looks a lot different than the idea of independence that I had in my head! As we venture through motherhood, we’re bound to stumble upon information that completely upturns our own beliefs and thoughts. There’s a learning curve to this whole mom thing, huh!
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.


  1. Really enjoyed this post Jaclyn, love all the points you made. I do think that the true definition of independence is a lot different than what most people think of as independence. Love the third point about really wanting our children to be mature, rather than independent.

  2. Thanks, Justine!! It was definitely a bit eye-opening for me to think through these things! It's funny when we accidentally change our own beliefs. :D