Letting go even when it scares you

Scott wrote in our most recent blog post about the moments he chooses to do things he doesn’t want to do, because it matters as a parent.  My “I don’t want to do that!” moments most often involve letting our daughter do something that scares me.

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Does anyone else’s stomach drop a little at those “letting go” points of parenthood?  I will never forget that sensation in my belly when I, quite literally, let go for the first time when teaching my daughter how to ride a bicycle without training wheels.  But it had to be done.  I had to weather the fear and discomfort as my fingers uncurled away from the bike seat, so that she could grow as a person.  Not only that, but letting go allowed me to experience sheer joy at seeing her proudly pedal off in triumph.

Whether from a first sleepover or a rock-hopping adventure through a rushing river, I’ve gotten that pit-in-the-stomach feeling fairly often since my daughter was born.  I’m grateful my husband has a more adventurous spirit than I (even though it is aging me), because I know it allows our daughter to experience things she probably wouldn’t otherwise.  (I walked away in tears on a hike one time, because I couldn’t watch my husband and daughter peeking over a waterfall.  Mind you, they were SEVERAL FEET away from the edge and on a flat, dry surface.  In other words, NOT a dangerous moment.)

When parents let go, our kids benefit.  They gain confidence.  They learn new things.  They become more comfortable in their own skin.  They get to experience a lot of firsts in the relative safety of their parents’ presence, instead of later when we aren’t there to guide them.  You know the best part, though?  They have FUN!

I have to get comfortable with my discomfort, so that my daughter gets to experience life at its fullest.  I have to conquer my fears, so she can learn to conquer hers.  A rapid heartbeat, butterflies in the stomach, and sweating palms are a small price to pay for a mom trying her best to raise a kid who is getting to grow in confidence and have the time of her life.

About author


Lori Smith and Scott Smith are higher education professionals with a combined 30 years experience working with college students. We also happen to be married to one another and are raising our own potential future college student.


  1. John says:

    I absolutely adore the way you express yourself in writing. I feel like I’m right there having a conversation with you and the topic of this post lends to that voice very well. I’m a parent myself and letting go is one of the hardest things for us, but one of the best things for our children. It’s important to keep them physically safe, but to soar like an eagle!! Thank-you for sharing. It meant alot to me.

    1. CollegeSmiths says:

      John, thank you so much for the kind words. They are so appreciated!

  2. My son is 8 so I feel like a lot of these moments lie ahead! But that safe level of uncomfortable is where the growth happens!

  3. Kamie Berry says:

    I have had several moments like this. One was very similar where I nearly broke out crying when my husband took my daughter to look over the edge of a cliff while we were hiking. I love your writing style; it’s very relatable. Great post!

    1. CollegeSmiths says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Kamie! It’s good to know I’m not alone!

  4. Nikki Maddox says:

    This is so me right now. My daughter recently got her driver’s learning permit. I’m trying to give her as much driving time as possible so that she is prepared to drive on her own. While my nerves are on edge riding with her, I know I’ll cry the first time she drives away without me.

    1. CollegeSmiths says:

      We’re not quite there yet, and I already can’t imagine! Sending you some strong vibes to let her go that first time!

  5. Joy says:

    Great content! I love it

    1. CollegeSmiths says:

      Thank you, Joy!

  6. You’re not alone! I’m a don’t-do-that-you-might-die mom. I feel like watching my little ones growing up is one of the scariest and most wonderful things I have ever done. Like a roller coaster without a safety bar. Just when I master one stage, they move on to the next and i’m hanging on for dear life. Haha! I think it’s getting easier with each child. I’m getting more laid back and more permissive. My poor first daughter is a bit high strung like me from my constant worry. I think it’s a first child thing. Good luck Mamma!

    1. CollegeSmiths says:

      Thanks! Good to know I’m not alone. We only have one, so she takes the brunt of it. I’m thankful for my calm spouse!

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