Something happened recently, I will try to paint a picture....
I was at a train museum with my 7 and 2 year olds. It's a small place in the basement of a museum. There is basically a hallway and a small room. I was doing the multitasking thing that all mom's do, dividing my time between my two kids who's interests are in different areas. My son LOVES trains, he was in the hallway observing the trains. My daughter was in the small room taking advantage of the activities present for kids. There were not many people down there, maybe 3-5 at most. One of them I noticed was a woman with a child about my son's age. My son is very friendly, he was hanging with the little boy. My presence was known; I was with him more than my daughter because his age demands more attention. My mom then came in with my brother's kids and came to me asking if I knew the woman that was holding my son. I didn't know her and questioned what she saw. A lady apparently was holding my son in the hallway by the trains, but near the exit. My mom walked in and heard my son's voice and realized that it him, but it was not me holding him. My mom greeted my son and the woman put him down. She then disappeared after giving my mom a look of disgust/confusion. I described the woman that was downstairs with the little boy my son was socializing with, and my mom thought it was the same woman, however she said she didn't see a boy with her. It was a little unsettling to me, normally people don't pick up children that are not their's. I decided to report it to the museum. Not for anything other than to have some awareness if something were to happen later in the day. They could maybe use what happened with us as a "puzzle piece". Per the museum's suggestion I decided to make a report to the police as well. My deep rooted instinct feels that my son was never in real danger; but I wanted to be on the safe side based on the situation.
Another day, another scene: I was at the pool with my husband and our 2 kids. We were by the lounge chairs amongst a few rows of lounge chairs. Very few people were around as it was dinnertime, and we were ready to leave. I did something most moms have probably done, I held a towel around my daughter to change from her swimsuit to her dry clothes. We were very discreet.
Between the museum and the pool situations, I recently had my lovely husband questioning my parenting skills. OUCH! These circumstances have forced me into taking a deeper look at the way I parent. And I've come to conclude I am the best mom I can be at this time!
I am a mom that wants my kids to get the most that they can out of life. I want them to see the stars and reach for them, I want them to just enjoy life without fear. I tend to sit back and observe my kids from a safe distance to stay out of their way as they play. I enjoy watching them use their resourceful ways and creativity and own skills to figure things out. I am always there to help if needed, but overall I stand back. I try not to hold them back from doing things, even if what I see is a little scary. They are always safe, I ensure safety; but I let them know to test their limits by chearing them on and building their confidence in themselves. Fear is an evil part of life. It stops you from truly feeling and exploring new things. Something that looks scary is many times the most invigorating! Breaking through that fear is often times the most rewarding experience!! I want that for my kids.
I lived the majority of my life with panic disorder. I spent my childhood hiding from "normal" kid things to do. I didn't go on field trips, I ditched class because I felt sick, I even left sleepovers in the middle of the night. I missed out on a LOT. I don't want that for my kids.
Acilia, my oldest seems to have that "first child fearful nature" I believe I am partly at fault for this. She was my first child, I had the time and the eyes to be on her 100% of the time. I didn't let the bath water hit her face, therefore at the age of 7, she still has yet to willingly go underwater, or even get her face wet. Hates it!
My son, age 2, I have taken a different approach. I have been forced to let go of 85%of my germophobia, I am constantly holding my breath as I watch him explore because he is more risky. He is FRIENDLY too! He will go up and say hi to ANYONE. Generally he asks my permission to do so "Momma, say HI?" and I let him, but if I am not within his direct eye sight, he just takes it upon himself to toddle over and promote conversation with anyone and everyone. He stops my heart. I don't want to squash his. He is learning his guidelines. He holds my hand as we cross the street, as I coach him on how safe he is even when he sees a car in the distance, because he has mommy's hand. He is (obviously) not allowed outside by himself at the age of 2, but with him I fear the day he figures out how to open the door on his own!! Acilia, I never would have had to fear that, she would never leave my sight! Just now at the age of 7, she will go play outside on her own, because she has her list of rules (stay in the yard, never go by the street, don't talk to anyone you don't know) and she feels comfortable doing so.
I will admit I internally FREAK OUT when my kids are dirty. Ack ! I can't stand it. The wipes come out and the hand sanitizer too! It's for my own sanity; clearly the kids don't care if they are dirty!! That is something I can't help, so they will have to deal with. Other things though, I want them to feel free; to be kids; kids explore.