Monday, April 28, 2014

Parenting 101

I think it goes without saying that I have never said, nor will I ever say that I am a perfect parent.  I am far from it.  I consider it a successful day when my kids are clean, fed and safe.  It can go either way on the clean and/or the fed, but I have been accused, more than once, of being overprotective.  It is a true case of "if keeping my kids safe is wrong, I don't ever want to be right."

Currently Ryan is mad at me because I won't let him play flag football.  To me, it is the gateway sport to tackle football.  There is no doubt in my mind that he would make an excellent player, and that is part of the problem.  He will really like playing, and catch the attention of some coach that will want him to go to the next level.  He is big, and kind of fast, and very enthusiastic.  How do I say no then?  It is hard enough for me to watch him playing baseball after the unfortunate incident last year.  Can we just take a moment to imagine how bad it would be for all of us if he got hurt playing football?

Enough about that.  Here is where I was really going with this post.  Over the weekend I was working a trade show booth in a very popular, open-to-the-public area attraction.  I was in a conference room that held five or six booths.  I had been working about 45 minutes when this small child walked into the conference room.  There had been a lot of kids with parents walking through all day, so I didn't think too much about it.  After a few minutes all the other visitors walked out and this child was still there as more people came in.  I kept my eye on him until he wandered over my way.  I asked him where his parents were and he said that his mom was out in the hallway, leading me to believe that he walked ahead of her and she would be coming in a few moments.  I told him to hang out with me until she got there, and I gave him my phone to play with until we found her.  Fifteen minutes later there was still no sign of her, so the lady from the booth next to mine went to find her.  Meanwhile this child had built something on Minecraft and had mastered Ham on the Run.  (Go on, I dare you not to sing "Band on the Run.  I know, it is impossible.)

It turns out that his mother was out in the hallway where there were other vendors.  I understand how hard it is to get a babysitter, not to mention how expensive it can be, but this child had been with me for TWENTY MINUTES and she had not missed him.  How could she have possibly expected this baby to stay with her for hours on end unsupervised.  There were over 3000 people attending this Expo, not to mention the regular people that would have been there for the actual attraction.  This kid was very willing to talk to me and also very willing to play with my phone and eat the candy that was on my table.  The only thing I was missing was the puppy and I could have had the kidnapper's hat trick of cliches.  It was a disaster waiting to happen. Over the course of the next few hours he wandered in four or five more times.

I really try to mind my own business and not to judge other people's parenting styles because, as Robin Robert's mother says, Everybody's Got Something.  Lord knows I have no right to cast the first stone.   I don't know this family's story, and frankly it is none of my business. I am sure this child is rambunctious and ornery and pushes his mom to her very limit, much like Ryan does to me.   I am just sending up some thanks to this child's guardian angel and hoping she sticks close, because that family is going to need it.

Now if mine can help me with this flag football problem and convince Dave and Ryan to pursue a less dangerous hobby, I would really appreciate it.


Tricia McLain said...

You are probably not going to like what I have to say but you asked! HA! As a mother of a football player I totally understand your concerns. Football can be a dangerous sport! But honestly most sports have some degree of danger to them. I should know since my kids have done just about every sport imaginable. Concussions from cheerleading, torn ACLs from soccer, blah blah blah. When Kayla wanted to play soccer again this year I was scared and it was very hard. But I couldn't tell her she couldn't do something that she loves to do. And Cameron LOVES football, and I would never tell him he couldn't play because I was afraid of him getting hurt. I want to protect my kids just as much as any other mother, but sometimes you just have to trust and let them go. And pray a lot. I know a lot of mothers feel the way you do. But they can also get hurt walking down the street, riding their bikes, or playing with friends. If you feel that strongly about it then I would say stick to your guns. Motherhood is not for sissies! Love you and good luck!

Kate said...

I agree that if Ryan loved football I would have to let him do it. He only wants to play because three of his friends are doing it. He has never watched a game on TV and doesn't know what a first down is. I see your pictures of Cameron I have thought that you were a stronger woman than me because I couldn't do it. Who knows, maybe he won't like it and this will be a done deal. Thanks for your help. On some days I think I can let him do it and on other days it makes me sick to think of it. It will probably come down to he can play flag as long as he understands that there is not enough medication in the world for me to handle him playing tackle. Lord help me.

Anonymous said...

I'm a single parent and unfortunately I have spent the better part of my daughter's life making up for that by quite literally giving her the world. I am now paying for my inability to say "no" tenfold. I admire you for sticking to your guns, however, in my experience I have also learned that sometimes by not letting them do something, it makes them want to do it that much more. And when they put their minds to it, kids can be pretty ruthless in their pursuits!