"Less and less do you need to force things,
until you finally arrive at non-action."
Apply this to mothering and you could say that, despite all appearances to the contrary, mothering is not about doing. Yes, it arrives at your door trailing lots of doings – changing endless diapers come to mind – but, if I may be so bold, I don’t think Lao Tzu would quibble with that kind of doing.
They key is to do what is necessary. If you only do what is necessary, there is no need to force anything. It is necessary, oh so necessary, to change a diaper.
But let’s take the gigantic developmental milestone of learning to walk. Absent a physiological impairment of some kind, a child needs absolutely no help learning to walk. She will take care of that business entirely on her own time, in her own way. And yet, how often do you see a parent hunched over holding his child upright on unsteady, unready feet?
I think Lao Tzu would call that unnecessary action. What is the point of holding your child up to walk when she is perfectly able to do it on her own? Who is that really for?
Would non-action leave you with an aching back?
Would non-action create dependence in a child where there was none?