Stop Being the “Fixer” (Guest Post)



You are amazing really – you are able to fix the unfixable. Where there is strife – BOOM – all of a sudden, peace – thanks to you. You can fix hurt feelings, fractured friendships, missed deadlines, stubbed toes and miscommunications.

You can turn potential losses into wins, disappointments into lessons learned and resentment into forgiveness.

As a mother, you are a terrific fixer. You make things better with a kiss, hug and word of support. One simple phone call and you can magically heal a wounded friendship or earn your child a second chance. You can take over a project or a problem when someone you love doesn’t have the ability to advocate for herself and you can see trouble coming a mile away – averting it with your superhuman powers.

You can do all of this and so much more. But should you? 

If your child is being bullied at school – it’s time to step in.  But if your child is having a problem with a friend, there might be an opportunity to help her figure out how she can solve the problem on her own.

Often, if we just take a short break and suppress the urge to jump in and fix things immediately, we give our children the time they need to create their own solutions.

And even the greatest fixers in our world, have to take a break sometimes. You deserve to put your feet up and allow your little fixers to show you what they have learned from you.

The truth is, they need that opportunity too. They need to strengthen their fixer muscles by taking out their own tool boxes and getting comfortable using them. And don’t forget where they got their tools – from the master – you!

Coach Me Quick Tips for taking a break from being the fixer:

  1. Notice what triggers your desire to jump in and fix a problem. It might be a child telling you that something did not go right for them at school or during a sleepover.
  2. Start by asking questions. Be curious with your child and learn everything you can about their feelings and the circumstances surrounding the situation. You may notice during this discussion that you would love to solve this problem and you know exactly how to do it. Suppress the desire to share this information with your child but let her know that you will work with her until the problem is figured out – she is not alone.
  3. Ask your child what solutions she has thought of and help her expand her answers and ideas. Ask her what result she is hoping for if she is able to solve the problem on her own. You may have thought of a better, faster or easier solution than she has – use your superhuman powers to keep those ideas to yourself!
  4. Let her stew a bit. Give her time to reflect and then revisit an hour later or the next day.
  5. When you bring it up again – start by finding out what she is thinking – the problem may have resolved on its own. Or, she may have come up with a solution that is satisfactory. If so, celebrate and support.  If there is still no solution, offer some ideas – make it a collaborative conversation.

Remember you are giving your tools to your children everyday – with your example. You choose the tools carefully, wrap them up with a beautiful bow and deliver them with each loving act. And you’re doing a great job. Now they just need an opportunity to learn how to use them.

Kick Guilt and Stress to the Curb and Become a Happier 40-Something Mom:  Jamee Tenzer, PCC, BCC has been coaching women for over a decade. Now she’s sharing the tips and insights she’s learned plus tangible strategies that will make your life easier. She specializes in coaching Breadwinner Mommies and Mentoring new coaches.


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