Friday, October 1, 2010

In which the Spaz says "Go outside and play!"

I read an article today about the End of the Supermom Era. And I have to say, I love it when I read things like this. It makes me feel better about myself.

Because I am the opposite of the Supermom. And it's funny... because in reality, I feel sorry for the Supermom's kids. Supermom has it all together. Her house is immaculate, her hair is perfect, and her nails and feet are done. She wouldn't dare leave the house without make-up and she's absolutely never going to throw on a shirt that may or may not have a small hole or stain she believes no one will ever notice even though that shirt is comfortable and technically clean.

Supermom drives an SUV and it is clean. Inside and out. Her two children are always clean and well dressed and if she has girls they don't leave the house without corresponding hair accessories.

And I am not that mom. If you're a consistent reader of my blog, you've probably picked up on that.

But I am a damned good mom. I will do whatever it takes to make sure my kids are successful and healthy and happy. Even if that means I will go without. I will teach them that there is a lot more to life than what other people think about you and that what you think about yourself will always be more important.

I will let them fall in the dirt and pick themselves up and dust themselves off and move on with their lives. I will let them climb to the top of the monkey bars and pray with all I've got that they don't fall off and break their arm. But if they do, we'll chalk that up to one of life's experiences. I will let them ride their bikes to the park and know that they know how to cross the street without me holding their hand.

I will teach them how to do their own laundry, make their own bed, cook their own dinner. I will teach them to manage their own money and make good choices. When they are out on their own, without me there to help them, they will know how to make a decision.

They will walk in the woods and respect nature. They will know to leave the world better than they found it. They will walk through their childhood with their eyes open and their minds quiet and ready.

Because one day they will have to grow up. Adulthood will find them whether I want it to happen or not. And it's going to be a lot easier on them if they know how to take care of themselves when it comes along.

Believe it or not, it's a battle to raise my kids this way. I'm constantly fighting a society that wants to baby their children until they leave the nest. The school district that won't allow my 7 year old to walk home from his bus stop alone, the well-meaning adult who tells my 10 year old not to climb the tree at the park, the other mom who looks at me like I'm crazy for letting my 9 year old go to a sleep away camp with her Junior troop over an hour away. They're learning, they're growing, they're becoming a little more independent every single day.

I'm always there watching and praying and pushing media hype out of my head. Yes, there are children that get hurt, children who are victimized, and children who never return home to their families. And those stories rip me apart to the point where I can barely bring myself to listen to them. But where does the risk to benefit ratio lie?

When do I stop protecting my child and start hurting him with over-protection? When I see children who can program the DVR but can't pump a swing by themselves, I have to wonder how that's even possible? Our children sit in front of gameboys and televisions and iPods and computers until they're heads swim, but half of them can't ride a bike without training wheels. And what's really more dangerous? The Disney channel or my middle class rural suburban neighborhood?