How to Let Go and Let them Grow While Still Holding On

This post is brought to you by Dreft. All opinions are my own

Now, I know what you’re thinking of that title: how can you let go and hold on at the same time? It’s a contradiction! Clearly a grammatical error, right? You can’t let go AND hold on! It’s scientifically impossible!

Well, here’s a newsflash: parents defy the laws of physics all the time! We’ve all heard the old story about the mom who lifted the car off her child. I don’t know about you, but I can barely lift the spare tire out of my car on an average day! I’m just kidding. I don’t have a spare tire. Something I discovered at the worst possible time, by the way.

So I propose that you CAN let your children grow and let go while still holding on tight. I’m going to give you a few tips on how to do that to get your creative juices flowing!

How to Let Go and Hold On at the Same Time

Bonding over Books

I started reading to my son before he was even born. I continued reading to him from infancy through early childhood. Now that he’s nine, he doesn’t need me to read to him. He’s moved on to chapter books. Sometimes, though, he still lets me read a chapter to him before bedtime. Even when he’d rather read alone, we bond over books because I take the time to know what he’s reading. I learn the characters and stories. Then we can talk about the plots and what he loves about them. I’m hoping as he gets older, he’ll discover some of my favorites and we’ll have even more to talk about!

Inside Jokes


Believe it or not, Jacob and I have inside jokes dating back to when he was just two years old. Ask him about the Indiana Jones Whip from the toy catalog that we spent hours looking at during the holidays (it replaced his bedtime story for about a month) and he’ll still sing in my voice “never gonna happen!” Some things from his 1st year, I told him about later and they became inside jokes (the Chili Pepper Halloween costume!). These little jokes between me and him keep our bond alive, letting me hold on to those moments while letting him grow up past them.

Familiar Scents

The familiar scents of babyhood can help us let go while still holding on to those precious babyhood memories

Never underestimate the power of familiar scents. Jacob has a stuffed puppy that he’s had since he was a year old. It has a packet filled with lavender inside. I also used lavender room spray to “keep the monsters out” when he was a toddler. So that scent always reminds me of his childhood. I also used Dreft Laundry Detergent when Jacob was a baby because my mom used it when I was little and really loved it. That scent instantly reminds me of his babyhood, and apparently reminds my mom of my infancy. How cool is that? It spans generations of incredibly cute babies! I’m talking award-winning cute. I have county-fair blue ribbons to prove it!

Did you know that Dreft actually has an in-wash scent booster so you can capture that long-lasting baby-fresh scent? It’s called Dreft Blissfuls and it’s specially designed to complement Dreft detergent and dissolve completely in water. It’s made for moms of kids ages 1-5 who miss those baby days, but you can use it during all stages of childhood. I’ll be honest, I totally want this for my OWN bed linens. Can you imagine wrapping yourself in a quilt of baby-fresh scent? Ahhh, the memories!

Walking Down Memory Lane


I am a digital picture hoarder. As of this moment, I have 7,475 photos of my son, all organized by month and year. That’s 18.5 GB. By the time you read this, I’m sure I’ll have added a couple hundred more! When I’m feeling particularly nostalgic, I pick a year and start walking down memory lane. Jacob often catches me looking at his pictures and asks about them. No one can resist hearing about their own pictures and memories!

The truth is, as parents we let go AND hold on all the time! We let them go when they take their first steps, but hold on when they first get on a bike. We let them go on the first day of school, but hold them close in a celebratory embrace when they get their diploma. We let them go when they get married, but hold their hand in the delivery room when they have their own children.

Letting go and holding on are not mutually exclusive. So go ahead. Hold your baby close. Then let him go explore the world! I promise he’ll come back!

How do you let go while holding on? Share in the comments!










33 thoughts on “How to Let Go and Let them Grow While Still Holding On”

  1. Our big bonding tradition is dinner. We always have dinner as a family, so much so that our kids will actually grumble a little when we are on the road and have to eat out.

  2. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    I always bond with my boy over books, he seems to be soothed by my voice reading him to sleep. Children really do grow up so quickly, it’s important to hold on but let them grow too.

  3. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    Children do grow up way too fast, enjoy them every second and rejoice in their achievements. They are our children and remain so even when they are nearing 40, so you also always worry a little about them. They do have to become independent and so you have to let go, a bit at a time. Eventually hopefully along come the grandchildren to cherish and love too.

  4. I’m still holding on. My kids are eight and nine years old and I’m not ready to let go yet. LOL! Dreft is a good product. I used it when my kids were babies.

  5. Derft is the best!! That’ll I used when my princess was a baby! Can’t believe she’s already 3! Time really does go pretty fast!

  6. My kids are starting o have their own individuality and I am so anxious when they are old enough to go out of their own. Time glies, all we can do is cherish every moment we can spend with them.

  7. Bonnie @ wemake7

    This is something I am having a hard time with right now. It was like I was meant to see this post today. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Just thinking about letting go is making me anxious. I’m a little nervous and worried actually because my son will be in middle school next school year and he is already talking about girls. ;)

  9. This is great and so true. I do all of the above and although I find it so hard to “let go” I try. My poor oldest has to deal with me as an overprotective mom!

  10. They grow far too fast and I find it terrifying thinking of them coping without me helping [mine are babies]. I’m a digital hoarder too though ;)

  11. I am still holding on and my twins are 18 years old. Ha! But seriously, it’s hard to know when the right time is. You just trust and have faith when you do .

  12. This post really hit me in the feels. I am having such a hard time right now. My oldest is 12 and my youngest is 5 and I feel like I am losing them. Okay not really, but you know what I mean. One minute they are babies and the next they have a girlfriend, and an attitude and I’m all like “Who the heck are you right now?”. Ugh these are trying times and the dangers are everywhere but they have to make their own mistakes and learn on their own in so many ways. I think I need a hug!

  13. Ugh, they do grow too fast! My daughter is 3 years old and I can’t believe she is growing up so fast! I too have a ton of pictures but I wouldn’t have it any other way! We will look back on those moments.

  14. I hate that my kids are growing up. They are still little enough that we continue making memories together, I just hope they love them as much as I do.

  15. Dreft was the only detergent I trusted with my kids’ clothes when they were little. They are all grown now and we are all great friends.

  16. These are great ideas. My kids and I are still close even though they’re grown up. For us it’s a matter of being interested in similar things.

  17. I always used Dreft when my kids were babies. What a great way to remember when they were little again. Smells do bring back memories for me.

  18. This is for sure a hard thing to do! Wait til you see my post today. It’s about my daughter graduating from college! I have had to let go and hold on during many times during my kids lives so far. We’ll never totally let go of course, but they do have to learn to be independent. I guess you just learn as a parent how to do this in your own way. (I used Dreft when they were babies too!)

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