I have sometimes been lectured by those close to me that I don’t let my kids be kids. From lap belts in cars to the use of public toilets, I have bickered with people about their safety and health precautions more than a few times. If there was such a thing as a holster for anti-bacterial gel, I would be packing heat 24/7.
Friday morning, after mixing up some brownies, I wouldn’t let my nine year old daughter lick the batter-covered spoon. The chocolate might taste good going down, but the raw eggs don’t always feel so great coming out the other end. I got some grief for that decision…most of it from my daughter. My husband didn’t back me up either.
I licked the spoon and bowl many times when I was young, but I also rode bikes without a helmet, I never put on a seat belt, and I rode on freeways in the back of a pick-up truck. When you know better, you do better, and that’s been my motto as a parent.
But, on Friday night, I made a conscious decision to ignore my own good judgement. I actually thought to myself, “Maybe I need to lighten up”.
Instead of listening to the other, more-intuitive voice in my head, I heard everyone else saying, “It’s no big deal! Come on! It won’t hurt anything!”…and so I let my son do something I had never allowed him to do, and I handed him an 1800 degree sparkler.
The next thing I knew, he was screaming. He touched the still scorching sparkler after it had extinguished and it burned his middle finger. Not bad…you know, just a small 2nd degree blister. Not bad…just enough to make him cry and shake his hand for over an hour, before Tylenol kicked in and he finally calmed down. Not bad…but, bad enough that I feel like I should win first place in the Schmuck Mom of the Year contest.
I learned my lesson. It could’ve been a lot worse. I won’t ignore the voice in my head anymore. I don’t care if people think I’m overprotective. What kind of word is overprotective anyway? Is there such a thing when your kids are involved? Isn’t it our job to protect them? I’m not saying we need to hover, but let’s at least be logical.
I’m sure most of us have at least one circumstance, if not a lot more, where we look back and wonder, “What was I thinking?” If a well-informed, at least somewhat intelligent, 37 year old woman, can cave to peer pressure, it’s no wonder that kids and teenagers make dumb decisions.
I can only hope that when the time comes for making choices, my son and daughter will be able to tune out the noise, trust their intuition, and be smarter than their schmuck of a Mom.