I’ve been spending a lot of time with extended family and friends this summer, most of whom have little ones. It’s clear we all have our own individual parenting styles yet all of our kids are taken care of and loved. Some people take the laid back approach but I’ve realized I’m not one of those people.
I constantly follow behind my one year old daughter cringing at every misstep she takes. I gasp when she trips and jump to catch her even when she isn’t really falling. I don’t let her eat gravel or run down steep grass hills. I chop up baby snacks that she could probably chew by herself. I don’t let strangers hold her, even at church. I cuddle her when she gets upset. I tell the bigger kids they can’t pick her up. I even still sit in the back seat of the car next to her when I can.
Over the past few weeks I’ve gotten a plethora of comments from people about my over protective behavior. I’m coddling her, she won’t learn to self soothe, I’m spoiling her, she won’t have any fun, that’s what kids do, I lived through it, she’ll be fine…and my favorite and the most frequent…kids are resilient.
I generally just ignore it because I know people usually mean well but I’m over being looked down upon because I want my baby to be safe, loved, and comforted. Yes I am protective but I’m not OVER protective. My daughter runs and laughs and plays. She enjoys snacks and games. She walks, talks, dances, and interacts better than all of the kids her age we know. Obviously I’m not holding her back by holding her close.
And I get kids are resilient, we wouldn’t be here if they weren’t! But one of the perks of being the parent is changing the things from your childhood you want to be different for your kid. I had an amazing childhood and I was always cared for but I spent a lot of time outside and I remember making the best of it but not loving it all the time. I was told cowgirl up a lot and while it worked for me as a child, I don’t see that working for me as a parent. I want to do things differently and because I’m the mom this time I can! It doesn’t mean my parents were wrong or that I’m wrong, it means I want to parent my child in the way that fits us and our lives just like my parents did with me.
I think many parents don’t realize the difficulty some face to have a child. I was never suppose to get Gracie, I fought for years and years to have her in my life, of course I am going to be cautious with her! She’s a miracle, a gift, a precious fragile gem that deserves to be treated as such. I want her to know I tried catching her at every fall. I know I can’t keep her from all pain…she just tripped and cut her baby lip a few nights ago…but I can try and there isn’t anything wrong with me trying.
I’m all for parents using their own parenting style as long as their kids are safe and cared for. If you want to use the cry it out method go for it, but don’t roll your eyes when I choose to rock my baby to sleep. If you want to let your kid cry it out when they bump their head that’s your call, but don’t tell me that hugging my baby and saying it’s okay is going to make her grow up to be weak. If you want your kids to pop water balloons in their face good for you, but don’t tell me I don’t let me baby have fun because I won’t let her bite into a balloon at one years old. Let me and my baby be me and my baby our own way. If it doesn’t work it’s not your problem but it’s clearly working as of now.
Yes, I’m a protective mother and my plan is to continue being one. Unapologetically.