Me Do It Myself: The Toddler Syndrome

Thank you for all the positive feedback on my first post.  Here we go again, folks!


"Me do it myself, momma..." Even as a baby, Nolan loved to try and brush his own teeth!

I hear this statement from my 2 year old multiple times every day.  Whatever the activity – wrestling with his shoes as we’re hurrying out the door, opening a carton of applesauce at dinner, or brushing his pearly whites before bed – it’s the same old song and dance.When I’m in a hurry and desperately trying to meet whatever deadline is looming, I am frustrated by the seemingly silly process of letting him attempt a task that I know good and well will end in tears of frustration.  Why doesn’t he just let me help?

Even though this independence comes with the toddler territory, I’m just as guilty of possessing the “Me do it myself!” mentality.  I don’t need anyone’s help because I can handle it. In fact, I will reject every offer of help – politely, of course – even if I truly desire the support.  An example:

Some really thoughtful person says, “I’ll watch the kids if you guys wanna go to a movie sometime.”

I think, Awesome, we sooooo need it!  When are you free? There’s a movie I’ve been dying to see that’s playing this weekend. Oh, and maybe we could even grab a bite to eat beforehand!

But I actually say, “Oh, that’s so sweet.  We’re usually so busy during the week that we just like to do stuff around the house on weekends.  Plus, ya know, we have Netflix.  Soooo, how’s that project you’ve been working on?”

And, scene.

In contrast to my own actions, I know quite a bit about the importance of establishing a personal community to support someone during both good and bad times.  Further, we’ve all heard that African proverb about how it takes a village to raise a child.

To my knowledge, there’s no proverb that warns against accepting an outstretched hand or advises braving the journey alone at all costs.  If assistance from others is a necessary piece of life’s puzzle, why is it so difficult to accept goodwill?  This is an especially intriguing question when compared to how easily most of us reach out to others when we know THEY need something we can easily provide.  So, why the paradox?

Maybe receiving assistance is perceived as weakness.  Perhaps we worry that the offer is not genuine and acceptance will be met with awkwardness or hardship.  Or maybe we are simply unsure how to adequately show our appreciation, so avoidance seems far easier.  I don’t know about you, but I claim all of the above.

I recently heard someone equate acts of service to gifts received at a birthday party.  A gift is a gift, regardless of its form.   And, it is almost always given with love and careful thought behind it.

When the package is opened, the only acceptable response is “thank you.”  The recipient wouldn’t return the present with an eloquent speech about not needing the item for this reason or that, so how is it any better to decline the gift of support when it is offered with the very same sentiment?  This way of viewing the issue makes me feel badly about all those times I’ve said no to others.  In reality, I deprived them of an important opportunity to share something meaningful with me.  In fact, they probably thought the very same thing I do when my son displays his stubbornness…..why won’t she just let me help, for goodness sake?

So, I know what I have to do.  I have to start saying YES.

Need help with the kids?  YES!  Can I carry that box for you?  Sure!

Will you join me?  Just Say Yes.  Actually, it feels kind of good.

Mrs. Reagan, I do believe there’s a new motto in town.

Thanks, Nolan, for helping me learn not to act like a toddler...Just Say Yes!



8 thoughts on “Me Do It Myself: The Toddler Syndrome”

  1. Kendy – I know you didn’t intend for this to be a sermon topic, but it sure could be for me! Doesn’t God already know at what we’re going to excel and when we need a little help? How often a painful circumstance could have been avoided if only I listened and let my Father show me how it’s done! Thanks for the object lesson, SuperMom! 🙂

    1. Jenny – if I had a dollar for every time I’ve turned down help that could have made life soooo much easier…….well, you know the rest!!

  2. Kendy, I love your insight and wisdom! So true, I think it is good to remember. Thank you for taking the time to write this and share. Well done.
    FYI… I am a former high school and middle school classmate of Jason’s.

    1. Thanks, Rebecca! It’s great to see you on here. Jason’s sweet to post the link on his FB page.

  3. Wow! I needed to read this today! Being newly married (back in March) its so hard for me to accept “help” from my husband. we were just talking about this last night. I have this “I can do it myself mentality” even though its obvious I need help.

    I guess once our son gets here, the Lord is going to use him to show me how stubborn I can be when it comes to help from others 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you stopped by today! Congratulations on your baby. Yes, you will learn so much as a parent…..just as much as you impart to them, if not more. Good luck!

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