Feb 10, 2009

No Matter How I Try.

I know my blog title claims I over think everything but I must confess there are a few things I am pretty sure I do not over think they are certain things that I am only aware of because throughout the years I have observed my friends doing them, things like:

putting sunscreen on
using moisturizer
owning hand sanitizer
not letting your kids go to a public restroom by themselves
not touching any surface in public unless you cover your hand first with your shirt
using your foot to flush
using your elbow to press the buttons on the elevator

So many mom's, and even some dad's, seem to have this radar, that is always present, detecting possible danger in every place they are, possible things to be afraid of, the gift to for see potential bad situations. Thank goodness I had a roommate in college who knew all about the dangers of wearing headbands in your hair and how they, over time (of course) squish your brain. I had never thought about it:)

Thank goodness I dated a guy who's entire family was obsessive about sunscreen and sunglasses, otherwise I never would have known. No, I still do not own sunglasses...but I have been meaning too.

I had a very clean, happy home growing up with two parents who I am pretty sure were not overprotective. Which I am very grateful for. Some personalities may not do so well in that environment. I do not know what kind of person I would be today if someone was always making me afraid of things like germs and safety and protected me so much I was too afraid to do anything like go to college or leave the state where my parents were.

I get the magazine Real Simple and in January there was a very amusing and yet interesting article written by a woman who grew up with an overprotective mother. She talks about how as a young child she used to help her mom be on the lookout for "unidentifiable smears" on the checkout conveyor belt and baggers who put the fish and fruit together. Then she says in about 7th grade she found her mom's "unchecked impulses" much more difficult to tolerate. She tells about getting called into the principals office because her mom had phoned the school because she could not remember if she had peeled the waxy edge off of her bologna and wanted her daughter to check before she ate her sandwich. Then she talks about being older and ending up sitting in her host families living room in France watching the Berlin Wall come down on TV while all her friends had hoped a train to see it in real life. But she couldn't go with them because of all the fearful thoughts of porta-potties and dust. She ends up realizing later in life, after years of fighting with her mother about everything from fire retardants all the way up to the fear of fear itself, that she realizes her mother's fears were an act of love.

I love my children but why does my brain not see the world like that? How could I be 40 years old and have 7 kids and not use the wipes that grocery stores provide for you to wipe off your cart before you touch it? How could I have raised 7 kids and been the kind of mom who let them cry in their bed when they were babies? How could I have left them with babysitters without a second thought? And worse of all.....gasp....how could I let them spend the night at friend's houses? How could I have never owned a baby monitor? You would think at some point all these naiveness would go away....wouldn't you? How could I let them go to college 2 time zones away? How am I fine with letting my 19 year old go on a mission to Estonia in April and not have a single fear or worry...well other than getting the passport, visa and immunizations on time:)

I am trying to think what I am afraid of so I can tell you and all I can think of is spiders, my kids ending up on parole, :) being misunderstood, being late, and being ignored. I used to be afraid of driving in the snow but living in New England and being forced to face this fear has made it so that is no longer a fear....not a love..... but not a fear either :) Maybe I am suppressing all my other fears, or maybe I do not know myself well enough to know what they are :)

Even if I end up not having any other fears and never end up being an overprotective parent be ever so sure that I have other issues that are definitely ruining my children :)

P.S
I noticed that as I was re reading this post and fixing grammar etc I found I kept remembering things I was afraid of and had to keep adding them to my list that originally simply said I was afraid of spiders.

7 comments:

another day in the life of... said...

don't worry about it, i mean even teh overprotective mother in the article let her daughter eat bologna!

the skeans family blog said...

I hear ya on those issues! I do use wipes occassionally due to unknown germs and etc... Sometimes I do flush with my foot because of what the ladies room looks like-ugh. But I am not an hourly overportective person/mom. Oh and by the way.........I am sooooo scared of spiders!!! Especially down here in TX. It has opened up a whole new "fright" attack for me.

CJ said...

I think any Mother will worry about "what if's". You have 7 kids, your married to Brian and your not insane... I would say you are doing something right.

My Mom always says she wishes she could go back and re do it all knowing what she knows now. I get mad when she says this because I think she was a perfect mother! She let me know what she believed, what her values were and what she expected of me. She told me if I ever got into trouble she might be sad or disappointed but she would always love me. She was sweet, honest, hardworking, fun, my best friend, loving, caring, kind, kept a very clean home, spent time with me.

Both my Mom and my Dad (a former DI in the Marines) taught me about dangerous things and strangers and we even practiced getting into the car fast at the grocery store in case there was an odd man standing around. It is automatic that I lock all doors and windows and check them throughout the day and before going to bed. I am very aware of my surroundings. We always lived in good neighborhoods but still break in's would happen and as a female you had to be very aware going anywhere alone. Had I not been taught some of those things from my parents I would have been in a couple of very bad situations especially when I was coming home from work at 2am and and a car load of guys blocked the on ramp in front of me and jumped out of their car with guns and ran towards my car.

Had I not been taught to think quickly when in danger and defend myself I might not be here today. Had I been sheltered to the point that we didn't discuss bad things happening I would have froze like a deer in the headlights thinking oh my how could they be doing something like this! So because of my parents fears and little quarks I am alive making this incredibly long comment on your blog.

The Motherboard said...

I'm afraid of spiders too.

Garcia Fam said...

Jennifer!

I am the worst friend. I found your blog through Kristy a while back, but this is the first time I've gotten to read it. You are hiliarious! (BTW, I hope you remember me!)


My friend Rochelle and I refer to what you're describing here as "Mom-dar" it's a type of radar that I do not have. I am a super fun mom who loves my boys to death, BUT I was not born with Mom-dar. I often let my kids do all kinds of things that other mothers I'm sure cringe at - climb up the slide, eat with their hands, play with playdough, play in the sandbox, run everywhere, (okay, so now they're starting to sound lame, but there are a lot worse!) I just don't see the big deal, until someone with this "Mom-dar" points out the obvious hazards. I think it takes us all for the world to go round - those crazy over protectives and those of us that are blissfully unaware!

Good to "see" you again. I can't believe you have kiddos in college and about to go on missions!

Anne Marie said...

How liberating for your kids to not have as many fears passed onto them! They will have a much easier time adjusting to leaving home and so forth. Hope your last Friday went okay. I can't believe how busy you are.

Mama Parker said...

I do the sunscreen thing but only because I HATE getting burnt.

I have only been moisturizing for the last five years or so.

I have two hand sanitizers in the diaper bag and some antibacterial wipes in my car. I have recently started wiping down the shopping cart but only because Eli likes to chew it and ew!

Haven't had to do the public potty thing yet with kids.

I usually use a paper towel to open public restroom door when leaving the bathroom. Not my shirt because EW germies on my shirt! ;)

I definitely use my foot to flush. Not my own toilet though. ;)

Elbow for the elevator? That's a new one and I would probably smirk if I saw someone actually doing that.

I think I have a lot of irrational fears that started after I became a mom, usually involving something happening to my kids.

Other than that, I am afraid of: WalMart. Oh, and China. That's about it at the moment. :)