There was a time when I was a timid new mom and the thought of having my parenting skills broadcast in public made me want to run and hide. I imagined that I would be one of those mellow moms with polite kids (hahaha!), and that all those stories about tantrums in the grocery store or accidents at the park wouldn’t happen to me. It wasn’t part of our DNA, or so I thought.
Turns out motherhood had different things in store for me, and I’m just no longer worried about what other people think. Now I’m that unapologetic, overprotective mom who speaks up in front of anyone, anywhere, and IDGAF what anyone has to say about it.
Take this past weekend: My kids were at a birthday party being hosted at an indoor pool. It is winter here in Maine and so the thought of splashing around with foam noodles made my kids wild with joy. Before we even got to the pool, I laid down the law in the car. “Listen up, kids, while we are there, I expect no running, no throwing, and when you’re in the water, you stay close to the other kids from the party, got it?” I got four rolling eyes and two nodding heads in response. My kids are used to me prepping them for damn near everything.
It was an hour into the party when everyone heard me clapping my hands together loudly (because my kids couldn’t hear me over the elated shouts from the 50 other kids in the pool) and me using my stern mom voice to call out my children’s full names. They stopped and waded over to me. “If I catch you dunking each other in the pool again, we are leaving, capiche?”
I could see the looks of judgment from a couple of other parents, but see, here is the thing: I’m in charge of those two beating hearts in that pool, and I will do everything in my power to keep them safe — even if that means being the exasperated mom barking out orders from time to time.
When my oldest son comes home from school crying because the bigger kids on the bus were taunting the younger kids, then guess what — I’m the mom who calls the bus company and gives them the 411. I don’t need to worry that my kid is paralyzed with fear because some punk fifth-grader gets his kicks from torturing kindergartners.
My children are not allowed to play with toy guns that look real. I refuse to let them have easy access to junk food, so they have to ask before getting into any snacks besides the fruit bowl. They haven’t experienced the glory of toy commercials because they only watch PBS. My job as the parent is to prescreen all this crap and expose my kids to the stuff that I think is appropriate for them.
I don’t do these things to be an asshole parent, but it is my job to make sure that my kids are safe and that they get a fair shake at a childhood that will help support their learning and growing into good, solid people.
So when I hear that some kid at school throws a punch at my kid, even if that kid is a friend, and even if that punch was “just rough-housing like boys do,” you can sure as hell bet that the teachers and other parents are going to hear from me pretty damn quick.
When my kids get sick, I make them stay home. Any sign of fevers or vomiting or fatigue that isn’t the colorful acting of a child trying to get out of school will land my kid on the couch with a blanket.
I love the moms who go by the mantra “I’m not your friend. I’m your mother.” I get that. I own that too. My kids are only kids for a short while, and my job is to keep them safe, give them every opportunity to grow and flourish, and make sure that while they are figuring themselves out — before they go out on their own — I am there to help guide them.
I’m an overprotective mother because, like any parent, I love my kids and I want to keep them as safe as I can, while I can. My job isn’t to make friends with other parents or be popular with my own kids. My job is to be the Capital “M” Mom.