Oh man, moms are RESCUERS! I know, I’m a confessed rescuer myself. In our defense, ours is a difficult situation – the ones we care for sometimes need to be rescued -literally!
But when we don’t understand the appropriate limits of rescuing; if we don’t understand why we are doing it or when we should be doing it, we are doomed to make our children into entitled monsters.
So, what do we do instead? In this episode, I address the common form of rescuing we see all around us and ask YOU the question – are you a rescuer too? If you are, tune in this week to my Facebook Live Training to learn more about rescuing, when it is healthy and when it is not and “How to STOP Rescuing Everyone!”
Welcome back mission-driven moms. I have a daughter who is a really gifted gymnast and we’ve gotten thrown into this whole gymnastics world. She goes to all these meets and practices all the time. Its really crazy. As part of the gymnastics program that she’s in, our gym happens to host meets. There’s two meets that they host each year. One of them in particular is in our area and as parents of the team athletes, we have to volunteer at this meet.
A couple months ago we had this particular meet and I was supposed to volunteer. I was assigned to sit at a table and not let people come through a specific door because that wasn’t where you paid. So I’m sitting outside, it’s early morning, the meet hasn’t started yet and I’m just doing my job of making sure people don’t come in this door.
The other mom that’s supposed to sit at the table with me, she actually also happens to be on the parent-board, comes over to talk with me, explains the details of my job at this table and let me know that she’s going to be back in just a little bit. You need to know that even though this meet is close to where we live, she and her daughter opted to stay on-site because the meet was being hosted at a nice hotel. And, her daughter is a little bit older than mine, maybe 12-13, which meant that her daughter was competing a little later in the day.
So, this mom had gotten up and come over early to the meet because she’s on the board and had helped put everything together. She had left her daughter in bed and then after making sure I was situated, she had gone back to the hotel room and woken her daughter up. When she did, she told her, “You need to get moving around, get dressed and get ready to come help out at the meet. Then you can compete later on today.”
As part of helping her wake up, this mom had stopped by on the way back to the hotel room and gotten her daughter a Frappuccino. One of those really tall ones with lots of sugar and stuff in it to wake her up and because her daughter loved them. She had bought her some doughnuts too.
Well, her daughter is back in their hotel room and this mom is with me instructing me more on what to do when she receives a call which goes something like this: “What? What happened? What are you talking about? It’s all over the floor! Are you kidding me? I just got that for you. Okay, it’s okay. Don’t cry. It’s going to be okay.”
Of course, I don’t know what’s going on until she gets off the phone and says, “Oh my heavens! I just went and bought her a Frappuccino because she loves them. She had taken two sips and she spilled the entire thing all over the hotel room floor! Luckily, it was in the bathroom area so it’s just on the tile and she grabbed some towels and she’s cleaning it up.”
Then she asks me this really interesting question. She asks, “Do you think I should go get her another one? Because she’s kind of crying and upset about it. Or do you think I should just let her have the consequence of not being careful enough and spilling this Frappuccino?” I was like, “I don’t know.”
I don’t even remember if I offered my opinion or not but if I did I would have said, “Well, you know she spilled it so she can go without. She can eat something else.”
But I can’t remember anymore if I said anything or not. But the mom then replies, “Yeah, I really should just be tough on her and let her have the consequence. Not only did she spill it, but she was upset with me and she was being rude to me on the phone because of this. She was telling me I need to go get her another Frappuccino right now! Because she has to have that to wake up. I just think I’m going to let her have the consequence. Well, I need to go do some other things and I’ll come back in a little while since you know what to do now. You should be all good to go.” Then, as she’s wandering away, I hear her make a phone call to a friend and they’re chatting about what has happened with her daughter.
Well, I stay at this table and keep doing my thing. About an hour to an hour and a half later up walks this mom and her daughter with guess what? You’re right! A brand new Frappuccino in her hands! The mom had called a dozen people to find out who wasn’t there yet and had them stop over at Starbucks and get her daughter another one and bring it to her. So she ended up paying for it twice because this daughter was mad and upset that she’d spilt her own Frappuccino.
Then the most ironic thing of the whole event happened. The daughter and the mom walked over to my table, they chatted for a minute, the daughter took a couple sips of the Frappuccino. Then she set it on the table next to me and went inside the gym. She never drank any more of it! She literally only had a tiny portion of that Frappuccino!
I have thought about this experience several times because it unfortunately reminds me of myself. This mom pulled a classic rescuer move. Her daughter was playing the victim. She wanted this accident to be somebody else’s fault. She was upset with herself for dropping it and angry at her mom for not initially wanting to rescue her. Then this mom, by giving in, taught the daughter the lesson: if you mess up, if you have a problem I’m going to rescue you – from your own mistakes and from your own problems.
I remember a few years ago when we started learning all about this, I really had to look inside and recognize that I really am a rescuer. I definitely have gotten better at it and I didn’t do destructive things but I definitely needed improvement. I also realized that in my marriage as well as with my children and in many of my relationships I tend to fall into the rescuer mode way too often. I want to cushion the blow for people. I don’t want them to experience the pain but that’s not always the best answer. We teach people the wrong lessons about how to treat us and about what our boundaries are; about what is healthy and right for them and about what their real responsibilities are. Then we we debilitate them. We limit their growth through this behavior that we have. Unfortunately, I also see it in a lot of other moms that I know.
So, I want to invite you to our Facebook Live training this week on Thursday, May 24, 2018 from 6:00-6:30 pm PST. We’re going to talk about how to stop being a rescuer and what to do instead. I’m going to introduce you to some really awesome things in terms of the drama cycle, some introduction to boundaries and some other awesome things that we’re going to go over. Then we’re going to chat about it and do a Q&A afterward. Some of this material is covered in the MDM Academy that’s launching this fall but some of it is not.
So make sure that you join me for this super valuable information that’s been super duper helpful to me!