Moronic Mom 101

posted by Momo Fali on July 6, 2008

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.

    Comments

  • Birdie


    Bless his heart & his little finger! HIm & those little digits. It’s been quite the year for them huh? This one would be called a life lesson though, right? I bet that’s the last time he’ll touch the end of a spent sparkler! Bubby had one and turned, but instead of turning left, he turned right to go down the steps which put the sparkler about an eight of an inch away from Sissy’s arm. I hollered at him & asked what on earth he was thinking & he’s twelve! What will we do when it’s time for them to start driving Momo?? 😛
    btw, we lick all our batter -tee hee!

  • amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay


    god- poor lil man!!!
    I agree with you- listen to the voice
    It roars
    wisdom from places you did not even know
    xo

  • Lisa@verybusymomwith4


    Poor little guy–it’s been a few tough months for him 🙁
    I just don’t believe the whole batter thing–I mean unless you let raw eggs sit out in the sun for a while, I think it’s OK. I LOVE batter 😉

  • holly


    i’m sorry, but i’m giggling my butt off here, because the one time you decided to relax is when there were firearms involved.

    i’m going to make you feel better.

    one time, when queen of hearts was 3 (i think) she was into jumping and wanted to jump from the bed to me. harmless! so she did it, then wanted to do it again. “back up” she said. so i did. a little. and we were having so much fun that i didn’t realize maybe i’d gone too far on that last one.

    the rug burn on that nose was a daily reminder of my stupidity.

    yup. schmuck badge earned that day.

    but i think (particularly this weekend) this is just one of those things that happens, like getting your finger slammed in the hinge of the door. DAMN that’s painful. but the fingernail grows back.

  • Amy


    Just to play devil’s advocate, do you think he would’ve known better than to touch the extinguished sparkler if you had been less overprotective in other areas?

    I mean this in the most gentle, most I’ve-been-there-too, most loving and supportive way possible. I am NOT NOT NOT judging you, not at all, because I tend toward the overprotective, too. My mother gives me a hard time about all the things I don’t let my kids do (play with her evil dog), and the things I do that she never did (hand sanitizer, 5 point harnesses in toys, etc.).

    Anyway, I think we, as a culture, tend to be overprotective of our kids, and I think it bears asking – are they learning the things they need to know about the world (for example, that things that just quit burning are hot) if we’re wrapping them too tightly in bubble wrap before we let them out into the big scary world?

    It’s a tough balance to strike, between letting them make their own decisions and accept their own consequences and therefore learn and protecting them so that they don’t get hurt or feel pain or end up dealing with consequences that we wouldn’t wish for them. I struggle with it daily, and I find that the balance point moves as they get older.

    All of that said, your boy has bad luck with fingers. Maybe he needs to start wearing protective gloves or something. 🙂

    Hugs,
    Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous


    I know you and you’re not too overprotective. If either of my kids had been through all the things your son has been through I would never let him out of my sight.

  • DysFUNctional Mom


    I am overprotective in a lot of ways and I don’t apologize for it.
    Poor kid, I hope he’s feeling better now!

  • Aunt Debbi/kurts mom


    on the brighter side, he won’t do that again.

  • Half-Past Kissin' Time


    A sparkler? Come on. It’s a cheap lesson, and it wasn’t the sparkler’s fault! As you said; be logical. Your mistake was not in letting him have a sparkler; it was in forgetting to tell him that the metal gets hot. But still not Schmuck-worthy.

    I will reinforce one of the “paranoid” mom worries for you…This weekend, Mr.4444 told me that three guys from the hunting camp “Up North” are blind in one eye. What from? BB guns! So, the old “You’ll shoot your eye out!” thing is TRUE! Sparklers, though? No big deal. I’m sure he’ll never do that again…

  • gaining some lb's


    yeah….that has happened with all 4 of my offspring. Think I would have learned after the 1st huh?

    Hope his boo boo is better

    peace
    #2

  • Jamie E


    awww, so sorry. I am a hover mom when it comes to sparklers…the hubs-not so much. Twice Ben was attempting to use the sparks from the sparkler to ignite grass and weeds. I had to go out an supervise from that point on….poor little guy, I always kick my own butt hardest, thinking of the recent pool incident, I think you saw it…anywho-at least he’s ok.:)

  • meleah rebeccah


    Aw. I am so sorry to hear that our favorite boy was hurt with an 1800 degree sparkler. Not. Cool.

    But, I agree with you. When you are a parent, there really is no such thing as too over protective. and ALWAYS trust your instincts.

    I know when we were growing up we didn’t really have the same sort of safety measures, but um…I am sure there have been one too many accidents / incidents that inspired the creation of these new and improved safety measures. I for one try to impliment as many as possible.

    Glad The boy is OKAY

    xxoo

  • Mr Lady


    You would have a nervous breakdown if you spent more than 10 minutes in my real life company, I am sad to confess. How come our love can never be?

  • Drowsey Monkey


    Yeah but see … he learned. So next year when you give him one he won’t burn himself. Sheesh … I’m not a mom, can ya tell?

  • Sadia


    Poor little guy. And here’s to overprotective mothers … except mine, of course, who was TOO overprotective. I’m not too overprotective. Really. (Helmet? Check! Licking batter? No way! Scraped knees? If my kids insist.)

  • Rachel


    Poor little guy.
    It’s okay to be a bit overprotective. We just recently had our prayer group praying for a 7 month old whose mom had set her on the counter while she put away groceries. She FELL OFF the counter head first. Thank God she’s okay. She was in her carseat, but really…. there’s just times where you have to be super cautious. Others may find you to be overprotective, but I can’t fault you because there’s no such thing as overloving.
    They will be better because of you.

  • Heather


    I think the reason our generation is overprotective is because we DID live through things like not being strapped into carseats, climbing chain link fences, not going to the doctor even for hideous deforming injuries. We DO know better.

  • Bean


    I love this post. I bit my tongue Saturday night on our weekend trip when my MIL did sparklers with Joey, then gave him a bunch to take home (that was after they gave him a Brach’s peppermint to suck on). I actually feel a bit better about sparklers upon reading the link you have to them. Common sense, caution, and now, remembering to tell them it’s still hot afterwards! I don’t know if I would’ve thought to tell Joey that now at (almost) age 6 – I mean, they know stoves and fire pits are still hot afterwards, right?

    And about the whole “Well, they’ll only do that once and then they learn” mentality – I’m not so sure. I watched Dateline last night and a boy (5-7 years old, not sure) was riding in the trailer on the back of a riding mower when he fell out and the mower ran over him. His mid-section was shredded – insides out – almost died. He lived. The parents bought a new mower with a little trailer and the first thing he did was jump in the trailer and want to ride in it again. Now, I teach Joey that when you fall down you get right back up, and even if you get hurt or are scared to do ‘it’ (pertaining to bike falls and the like) again, you face your fear – but come on! I think that child did NOT learn his lesson from riding on a mower attachment! So, I don’t always think that kids realize and learn with the “they’ll only do that once,” thinking.

    However, with the sparkler – yes. I don’t think he’ll ever touch a just-extinguished one again! I’m just saying that parents can’t always count on that thinking to teach them. That’s where we “overprotective” bridge the gap!

    I hope his finger is better. 🙂

  • wheremytruthlives


    While I’m not an advocate of ignoring the inner voice (heaven forbid), I do believe firmly that experience is the best teacher. Ever. I am the child of some pretty rediculous overprotection (yes, there is such a thing). At 18 I ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction of my parents, committing every crime they refused me and gaining a truly valuable first-hand understanding of sex, drugs, alchohol and many simpler aspects of life.

    Sure eggs may give you digestive grief, but your kids won’t believe that until they experience it. Yes, sparklers are dangerous but your son knows that now, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Helmets and seatbelts are not negotiable because you may not live to learn the lesson if you don’t use them. Common sense tells you that if the consequence won’t kill or severely harm a person, making the mistake is probably the most effective way to learn a lesson.

  • Jill


    My parents were overprotective when I was a child, to my benefit. “Honey, I don’t want Jill mowing the lawn. She could lose a finger.” Unfortunately now, I’m pretty much afraid of everything and don’t know how to do anything, which, come to think of it, also kind of works in my favor. “Honey, can you mow the lawn for me? I’m scared I’ll cut my finger off.”

  • Tom


    Been there. Let the two-year-old play with a sparkler. He reached down to pick up the “pretty” glowing red molten mass on the concrete and ended up with a nasty burn on two fingers. Luckily his mom was right there with ice and burn gel and mitigated the wound pretty good.

    So now when he asks, I tell him he has to wait until he’s nine.

  • Misty


    poor thing!!!
    I am not an overprotective mom all the way across the board but I tell you what, my kid is not roaming the neighborhood with all of the other kids. She isn’t watching any movie she wants, etc… What I’ve found is, that a lot of parents/people criticize. and when their original reason is gone, they will find some other way to criticize our parenting… you are wise to trust your instincts!

  • Hottdog


    You’re not a schmuck.

  • Jaina


    You are not a schmuck, and there is nothing wrong with making sure your kids are safe! A little overprotectiveness never hurt anyone. My parents were sometimes maybe a little overprotective, and you know what? I’m thankful for it!
    As for the cookie dough and raw batter…I’ve been eating cookie dough and batter and anything like that since I was tiny and I’ve never once gotten sick. As long as it’s fresh and not sitting out on the counter in the heat for two hours before, it shouldn’t be a problem. But that’s just my two cents on that, because cookie dough and brownie and cake batter are AMAZINGLY delicious!
    On the alternate side, it’s not going to hurt her to not eat it either…just one bad habit that she won’t form.
    Of course now I’m craving cookie dough. Haha. I’m bad like that.

  • Melisa


    Don’t be so hard on yourself. At least he learned it’s not a good idea to touch a recently extinguished sparkler.

    I agree with not listening to what others think, though. Parenting to make other people happy seems to be the wrong way to do things. Heck, if moms (and dads) wanted to parent according to what everyone else thought, they’d probably start listening to their kids regarding parenting, and well, that would just be a big mess. If kids were parenting themselves, where would the moms and dads be needed?

    Did that make sense? I hope so. (It’s Monday)

  • Tara R.


    Glad to hear it wasn’t too bad… today I don’t think we can be too overprotective. My son just turned 15yo and I finally let him ride his bike off the block. What would I do without cell phones?

  • Monica


    Amen for instinct, baby!

  • nola


    It is sad that the world isn’t as safe as when we were younger. Sad that you do have to listen so intently to your little voice.

    Glad his injury wasn’t serious.

  • Michael C


    It’s a balancing act with kids it seems. I want my twins to enjoy stuff like sparklers, but then remember all the stupid stuff I did with them. This parenting stuff is hard. That’s what she said.

  • Geeks In Rome


    I’m so sorry he got burnt — but I’m sure he doesn’t think it happened due to negligence on your part!! 😉 It’s hard to know when is it letting kids learn on their own with proper warning/prep and when it’s putting them in danger.

    My mom would warn me about all the dangers out there and then let me decide whether to go for it like eat raw meat (steak tartar — ugh she let me), light firecrackers, shoot rifles, etc…

    I don’t think the intuition is there unless you have been pleasantly, endlessly nagged: “you know… you could set your clothes on fire doing that.”

    It also helps to tell your kids about your own mistakes — like NEVER drink vanilla extract no matter how good it smells!!!

  • LiteralDan


    But now you don’t have to worry about him touching a sparkler again, right? So you can cross that worry off the list.

    At least he didn’t learn himself right in the eye.

  • BusyDad


    Next to 1800 degrees, raw eggs ain’t so bad now. I will now move sparklers off the list and put cake batter on the list. Now I owe you a “lesson learned.” See, between all of us, we can make one heck of an experienced parent.

  • Bee Repartee


    Poor little guy. I hear you.

    And here I thought the voices in my head were a bad thing. Ohhh, those voices. Mom voices.

    Yeah, it’s hard to hear them these days with so many people shouting over them what you ‘should be doing’. Then the voices in my head tell me to scissor kick them in the head.

    Don’t feel too bad..it’s all about finding balance. 🙂

  • O My Blog!


    You taught the lesson of HOT indirectly and so will he pass this on to his offspring when the time comes, maybe a sparkler, maybe a hot curling iron like my daughter touched (hasn’t happened since). Either way, just another pebble in the road. It’s the rock slides you have to watch out for!
    Hope he’s healing nicely! (Aloe gel-instant cool in case you need it)

  • Jo Beaufoix


    It’s so hard to get the balance but I reckon you’ve got it right babe. Accidents happen. He’s ok and hopefully he’ll know next time. You aren’t a schmuck, just a schmu.

  • sybil law


    Doing whatever feels right for you and your kids is what you should be doing.
    I really try not to be too overprotective with my own kid. She’s my only one, so I tend to hover just for that reason, but I make myself hold back. Like you said – we didn’t wear seatbelts, or ride in car seats, or wear helmets, etc, and lived to tell the tale.
    I make her do all of those things, but lots of times she can ride her bike without the helmet. In the driveway.
    I want her to feel like 1) she can make some of her own choices, and 2) she has a little freedom.

  • Kimmylyn


    I want to print this out and pass this to my in-laws. They think I am crazy for not letting my son do something like use a skateboard without a helmet.

    I always try to trust my intitution.. it may make for a tightly wound mom..but at least my kids are safe.. 🙂

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