Jennifer is a SAHM to a Teen Girl and Little Man, wife and caregiver to her husband, and a blogger living in rainy Western Washington state. She chooses to “dance in the rain” in spite of her difficulties, enjoying TV, movies, music, yarn, coffee, liquor and laughter!
I’m a protective mom.
Not in the “helicopter mom” way. I’m not hovering around my children afraid they’re going to kill themselves if I don’t watch them every second. When they were tiny, I found ways to leave them safely unattended while I took a shower. I let them go outside to play alone at younger ages than other moms might.
It bugs me that my kids can’t have the freedoms I did when I was a kid. Because times have changed, however, I try to find an acceptable mixture of rules that allow for some freedoms for my kids that won’t offend the social mores of their generation.
So I think I’m a pretty level-headed mom when it comes to safety vs. freedom. When it comes to somebody doing my kid wrong, or another adult disciplining my child….let’s just say there’s more emotion involved there.
Let me clarify: It’s OK for others who care for and about my kids to help discipline them. Their grandparents, my good friends and their teachers. What gets under my skin and makes me want to slap a person, is when someone thinks they can scold my child without my permission.
I first noticed this instinct in myself when my daughter was around a year old. We went to lunch with two of our best friends. My daughter was munching on fries and she swiped one from one of our friends. He turned and yelled at her, “No!” Now I love this man, but I wanted to yell right back at him not to yell at my baby!
Another time, we didn’t hardly talk to my in-laws for a few years because while visiting them something was said about spanking if we weren’t around. Our daughter was not yet a year old, we hadn’t decided where we stood on spanking, but we did know that no one else should spank our child but us.
When my son was little, there was an awkward incident at a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. The kids were playing upstairs while us moms chatted downstairs. We heard something that sounded like a fight between my son and another boy, so I and the other boy’s mom went to investigate. She got upstairs first. As I’m nearing the top of the stairs I see her grab my son by the arm, yank him down onto a bed and yell at him for whatever she thought he was doing to her son, saying he needed to show her some respect.
My son started crying hysterically. The other mom saw me, said something to her son and shimmied past me on the steps muttering something about how she’s “sorry but her kids had better damn well listen to her” so she couldn’t help it.
I got angry. The other mom may have felt my son wasn’t listening to her, but she didn’t need to grab him by the arm and yell in his face. She didn’t have the right to take matters into her own hands and scare the hell out of my kid like that.
That’s MY child, MY responsibility to discipline as I see fit. She demanded respect from my son, yet didn’t have any for me as his mother.
So yeah, I admit it, I’m a mama bear.
These were things that got me upset when my kids were little. I’m going to have to work pretty hard at not letting all the social things that are impending for my daughter as she heads into high school (OMG!) get to me too much. The idea of her peers hurting her like I know they will from time to time breaks my heart!
I plan to stay strong when she comes to me with some new angst…..and then cry for her when she’s not looking.