Who Said You Can’t Do It?

They said you couldn't do it-Prove them wrong!

“Mom! I’m done!”

I hear this battle cry exuberantly called from the bathroom many times each day. One of my children has finished up in the bathroom and needs my help to wash their hands. I used to rush in and help, to make sure they were doing a good job, getting nice and clean, and not making a mess. But for the last year or so, since my children are now 5 and 6, I have called back, “Do it yourself. You know how.” Which is usually met with a sigh or a begrudging “Ok mom,” because they are used to mommy coming and doing it for them.

Just recently, I realized that I never hear that call from my 3-year-old. I know she washes her hands-as evidenced by the huge puddle of water covering the sink most days-but she just doesn’t think she needs my help to do it. I started wondering why she, who is so much younger than my other children, is more independent than they are? I came to the conclusion that I never made her feel like she couldn’t do it.

When my other children were potty training, I would stand nearby, waiting for them to be done, then help them finish up and wash up. If I had to walk away for a minute, I made sure they knew to call me when they were done so I could help them. By hovering around and insisting I be there to help, I instilled in them a belief. That belief is “I can’t do it myself.” I enabled them to constantly ask for help and rely on me, instead of taking a chance and figuring it out by themselves.

On the other hand, my 3-year-old just recently potty trained in this last year. While I was still by her side helping her through the process in the very beginning, she soon got the hang of it herself and quit asking for my help. I believe it is because she was constantly listening me tell her older brother and sister that they could do it themselves. She then assumed that this meant she could do it herself as well. She had no reason to believe “I can’t do it,” because she heard mommy always saying “You can do it,” even if I wasn’t talking to her.

Does this mean that my bathroom sink is constantly wet and the hand towel is usually dripping with water? Yes, yes it does. And when I realize she is in the bathroom, I usually go in and remind her to wipe up the counter and leave it looking nice. Still, I would rather take the mess.

The mess signifies that she knows she is capable of doing something herself.

The mess signifies that she isn’t afraid to fail, because she hasn’t been conditioned to believe that she will.

The mess signifies that she is willing to try.

This same daughter is the one that will get herself dressed (many, many times a day!), match her own socks, and brush her own hair. She is also the same daughter who will come help me fold laundry, and clean up her own messes-even if by “folding” she means bunching into a ball, and by “cleaning up” she means shoving it all under the couch or into a corner.

Could it be that she simply has a more independent personality. Maybe. But I believe it is because she has watched me try to foster independence in her older siblings (yes, the same independence I trained out of them!), and has learned that she can do these things as well. I wasn’t hovering over her from day one giving her all kinds of reasons she couldn’t do it by herself. Instead she watched me giving my other children all kinds of reasons they could, which gave her the same reasons. She is capable. She can do it.

Do we teach our children that they just can’t do it by our attitudes? Or do we instill in them a belief that they can do anything they set their minds to?

And what about us as adults?

Do we choose to not even try something new because we just know we will fail? Who said?

It doesn’t matter what you are trying to accomplish–homeschooling your children, starting a new business, losing 50 pounds-you can do it! If someone is telling you that you can’t, prove them wrong. If you are telling yourself you can’t, time for a major attitude check.

Who said you will fail? Prove them wrong!
Click To Tweet

No, you won’t succeed at every thing you try, every time. That’s life! “Steve Jobs was fired from his own company; Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison; and Abraham Lincoln failed in business, had a nervous breakdown, and was defeated in eight elections.” (source) Yet today we think of all these people as huge successes. You know why? Because they didn’t believe the lie of “I can’t do it.” They persevered through failures, learned their lessons, and came back stronger than ever.

What are you trying to accomplish today? Put one foot in front of the other and believe that you can do it! Sure, you may fail. But what if you succeed?

Sign up here to get my weekly newsletters:

You might find me linked up to some of these awesome blogs!

  • Becky

    My husbands favorite saying, “Never let good enough rob you of your best.” If we think we can’t, we won’t. If we know we can, we will! Thanks for the reminder to NEVER give up or lose faith.

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      That is a great saying, I will have to remember that one!

  • http://www.jinglejanglejungle.net/ Mary Burris

    Not having any children, I’ve never had to experience any of this, but I like your theory that she heard it enough times with the other children that she just picked up on what needed to be done without your prodding. Nice post.

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Thank you very much and thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  • MOMentous Mom; Perfectionist

    This is an awesome post at a time I need the reminder that I can do it. I have been stuck recently and this is an great reminder. I am also starting potty training and have been hovering a bit making sure she gets it and doesn’t need my help but I will start telling her she can do it because she can and it is a great life lesson for any child!

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      I’m so glad that this post encouraged you in some way. And I know how hard it can be to want to do everything for our children, but I have found that it makes them more dependent and stifles the learning process.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you have a great week!

  • http://michellerosado.com/ Michelle

    What an insightful post. My beloved Mom shared her wisdom in the same way, always striving to raise me as a strong and independent woman. Thank you for sharing. #ibabloggers

  • http://angiesangle.com Angie Agerter

    I love this. It totally made me smile as I was reading it. I love that she is trying, no matter what she is trying. Adults can learn a lot from her, you never know if you are capable of something until you try it. And if you fail, try again!

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Jennifer Lazarski

    Very inspirational and so true! Thanks for sharing! #IBAbloggers

  • Linda

    This post couldn’t have come any sooner! I have babied my son also and I’ve recently had to back off (he’s six by the way), for example when he’s pouring a drink I can’t help but get involved. I’ve noticed that by me interfering so much it’s made him kind of needy. But I think its great to let our children have some sense of independence. Empowering post!



    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      It’s so hard not to baby them. I mean, they were just babies yesterday, weren’t they?

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for leaving the link to your blog, hopping over to check it out now.

  • jendan515

    Congratulations on the potty training, I know that is a huge accomplishment! I think I made your first mistake with my boys, I hear “mom” at least 50 times a day, “I need help with this and that”. I am trying to correct it now by saying you can do it, you’re a big boy, but so far it’s going slow, maybe one day it will sink in (hopefully).

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      It will sink in, just keep on doing what you’re doing. They won’t be little forever :-)

  • Melissa M. Miller

    Oh boy! My 15-year old son still pulls the “but you make the best sandwiches”, yet he does his own laundry because he doesn’t want it “contaminated” per se with any others. I feel like I could have done a better job at making my son feel like he can do things by himself, or better yet to want to do things by himself.

    Your post is really inspiring! There’s still time (25 years, okay, okay….it might be as little as 3…SNIFFLE).

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Oh yes, I remember that line. I used to ALWAYS get my dad to make me sandwiches when I was a teenager with that one. But it was so true, he really did make them better!

      • Melissa M. Miller

        I will hold on to the premise that my sandwiches rock while I can. It’s a good exchange for doing his own laundry.

  • http://whatsonthelist.net/ Joanne T Ferguson

    G’day and thanks as this post brightened my day!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  • http://www.practicingnormal.com/ Mariet Schroder/Practicingnorm

    I think by the fifth child I was just too tired to do everything for her so she grew up quickly and independently. Sometimes I feel a little sad about how quickly she did not need my help. Great reminder that it is important to encourage them to do things on their own. #Wednesdaywisdom

  • Kori

    Honestly, being able to prove someone wrong is a great motivating factor. And probably one of the things in life that keeps me going. Whenever someone tells me I can’t do it, that just makes more determined to do it.

    Visiting from Women with Intention Wednesday

  • Nicole Hallford

    I love this – such a good perspective to keep in mind!

  • http://www.viewfrominhere.com Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    You know, linking up this week for Women With Intention has been a message that I needed to hear. Repeatedly. Thank you for sharing this today, know that someone who needed to hear it, did.

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      I’m so glad it helped you!

  • Messy Mom

    This is so great. I relate to all of it. It looks like we both have children around the same age and followed the same pattern of expecting more and lightening up with each one. I am definitely inspired by reading this and love the picture of the cutie in the Captain America mask!

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Thanks, she is a cutie :-) thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • http://emilylagrange.com/ Emily la Grange

    Love your post Miranda! Very inspirational! Funny, I’ve been there with my 3 as well. Also think by the time number 3 was doing his thing I was soooo busy so not so fussy!

  • http://3dlessons4life.com/ Lyli Dunbar

    MIranda, so lovely to “meet you” through Friendship Friday today. Love the name and focus of your blog. — Great analogy here. Blessings :)

  • http://www.thedeliberatemom.com/ Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    I love this! It’s so important to encourage them to practice these skills! Yes, it may “make a mess” but the feeling they get of accomplishment and independence is so worth it.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  • Mary

    Love this! Parents do teach their children by example and in the expectations that they instill. I love how your three year old taught you and you shared it with all of us. Blessed you shared this at The Weekend Brew.

  • Erin Vincent

    Great post! It is so important for our children to realize their independence. Thank you for a lovely post!

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Terri Presser

    Thank you for sharing such an encouraging post at Good Morning Mondays. Thank you for the reminder that we can do it and to just get on and prove it. Blessings

  • Jen

    Hi, Miranda, thanks for joining us and sharing at Grace and Truth this week. :) I really liked these lines here: “The mess signifies that she isn’t afraid to fail, because she hasn’t been conditioned to believe that she will.
    The mess signifies that she is willing to try.”

    I’m going to be thinking on this post for a while, both in my mothering and in my own personal life! :)

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Thank you so much! I’m happy you liked the post, and those lines. I hope they can be a blessing to you as you ponder them!

  • Amber

    What a beautiful post! It sounds like your youngest is definitely very self sufficient! (My #3 is the same way!) Thank you for linking up with us at the Best of the Blogosphere this week. Hope to see you back next week!

  • http://www.emmymom2.com/ Emmymom

    Love this post! It is funny my third in some ways is my least independent. In some ways he thinks he is just as big as his older siblings and can do anything, but in other areas he wants me to help him still. I think it is because he is my last and my baby and so I think of him that way and probably do too much. Definitely got me thinking. Thanks so much! Oh and I am picking this as my favorite and feature for the week for the #bestoftheblogpshere link up!

  • Pingback: Best of the Blogosphere Link Up #12 - daydreaming beauty()

  • http://www.mum-bo-jumbo.com Kelly Ninyette

    You make a really great point! Although I only have one son, I am often found lingering by when he is trying to go to the potty or wash his hands or whatever he is doing. I think I will now try to take a step back and encourage him more by saying, “You can do it!” Thanks for linking up at the Tots and Toddlers Thursday Link Up Party, I hope to see you again tomorrow for this fortnight’s party!