Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Oh No, I've Become "That" Mother

    This is not new information, I am a bubble wrap parent.  I am so afraid that my precious little angels might get hurt, that I don't let them explore the world, because of my fear.  Basically I have taught them that the world is a scary place and the best and safest place is in the safety of Mommy's arms.  I know I do it, and I am struggling against this.  I am trying to encourage the kids to push their boundaries (from the safety of a baby harness, just kidding, but I totally would if they'd let me).  In other words, I'm sending them mixed messages.
    My generation is that generation that thinks that the world should be a perfect place where children wear protective gear to walk down the street because what if they took a bad fall on the sidewalk?  My generation pushes for everyone to get metals at sports events because it's important that everyone feels like a winner.  We lavish praise on our children for things that really don't deserve praise "I really like the way you washed your hands after you went to the bathroom!  High Five!"
   When I was a young parent I was not a bubble wrap parent.  I encouraged Gabe to take risks.  In some ways I was too hard on him because I wanted him to be perfect to be the best.  I was tougher with him than I am with these guys, but I also appreciated what a gift he was.
    I remember sitting one day with Gabe at Red Lobster.  It was a pretty special day because back in those days I was a single mother and barely had two nickels to rub together.  He was sitting there like a little man, back all straight, feet nearly touching the floor.  He felt like a big boy.  I sat there completely enjoying him.  He and I sat chatting, enjoying the moment that we were in.  An older mother (sadly she was probably around the age that I am now) and her child were seated at the table beside us.  Her child was around Gabe's age, maybe a little younger.  Gabe was at most 4 at that time.  This woman sat there, oblivious to anyone else around her.  Her attention was firmly on her child, but everyone else was a captive audience, whether they liked it or not.  She sat talking to her child like a crazed children's entertainer.  "Do you want to use the bbbbb-l-ooooooooo crayon?  Oh how wonderful", as she gasped with excitement.  She sounded a little like Dora the Explorer on Meth.  She used a big booming voice as she rewarded her child for picking a crayon.  If I had a gun at that moment I don't know if I would have shot myself or her.  It was agony to listen to her, like nails on a chalk board.  Every single word was over pronounced in a listing sing song voice.  I could not enjoy my meal or my child because I so wanted to go over and shout "SHUT UP!  We get it, you're a GREAT MOM!  If I tell you you're the best Mom ever will you please use a normal voice?" to the mother beside us.  Thankfully they left before we did.  That moment has been tattooed onto my memory.  The memory is so embedded that I can almost smell the food.  
    Fast forward to a resent trip to Red Lobster.  I am no longer a single mother, and I am no longer the mother of an only child, oh and the worst part, I am no longer young.  I am sitting at the table highly complimenting Elly on her wonderful colouring (honestly not that great, but I didn't want to make her sad, I mean we were out to have fun).  I commented on how much I liked her "b-l-oooooooooo" fish.  I almost choked as that memory of that crazed idiot mother flashed into my head.... Oh no, I am that lunatic older mother!  I am that older mother that everyone around me wants to choke.  Oh cruel fate.

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