So the age old question….do single moms overprotect and overcompensate for being a single mom?
My husband and I had an aunt who was raising her children as a single mom. She was very protective of her children, and mollycoddled them in buckets. The talk was always that it was excessive, and that she was not doing them any favours. I also recall the discussion that these children were not totally functional as a result of said mollycoddling. Of course, I was very much involved in that discussion…as I was one of those people…. you know…..the perfect mother…I had a solution to every problem…a suggestion for every dilemma ….well until I actually became a mother myself…which is when every perfect mom ceases to be perfect!!
The period in which I was not yet a single mom felt so brief compared to when I was a single mom. To be honest, during that period (those first few years of being a mother), everything is a bit foggy..…you know, just getting through each day at a time. So, for me, I cannot really remember what my method of parenting was back then. I just did whatever I felt needed to be done at the time. What I can say, however, is that since becoming a single mom, I have memories of me breaking out every level of crazy when it comes to protecting my children!!
Even in retrospect, I feel my conduct was justified. I have been accused of being over protective, a micro mommy and overcompensating. I admit….all true….but are all moms not like that?? If they are not….are they right and us over protective mommies wrong??
Does the fact that we feel our children’s pain more than they do, mean we are overcompensating? Is that not just totally normal for any parent, particularly a mother, to hurt for their young? Inherent in mothers is a primal instinct to protect our young, is it not?
There were a few times in my children’s past where I hurt so deeply for them, that I felt like I would just die!! Years later, during family conversations, it came to my attention that some of these incidents where I was preparing to ‘just die’’ were either not remembered by my children, or were not that traumatic to them. But easy for them to feel that way after the fact. I was there at the time, and believe me they were hurting…granted, never as much as I was, but hurting nevertheless!! So did I hurt too much for them? Can you hurt too much for them? Is it because I was raising them alone, and did not have their dad to tell me to calm down and stop over reacting? You know dads, particularly with their sons….wanting their boys to be men, to fend for themselves, to learn how to deal with things….that kind of irrational attitude.
Was I over compensating? I do not know. So many questions and no answers…..best I find someone without kids….the perfect mom….to enlighten me.
Anyway…for regular readers of my blog, I think it is safe to conclude that I am totally an overprotective micro mommy. But yesterday, I took this to a whole other level….which I still believe was not an overreaction! The fact that 9 out of my 10 friends believed it was, does not preclude me from believing that the 1 friend, who called me privately to support my cause, was right, and the other 9 were wrong. And no…she is not a single mom!!!
The incident involved my older son Pepper….obviously. I worry way less about Salt. Not because I love him any less, he is just smarter…wiser….sharper….oh what the hell….less dense!! So Pepper knows me so well, and also understands me completely. The reason for his insight is twofold. Firstly, he is so like me…..intuitive, emotionally intelligent, perceptive…..but denser….I am less dense than him!!! Secondly he worries about me a lot. So from the minute he was old enough to be a demented and tormented soul like his mom, he would worry about me. He wants me to be happy, safe and CALM (poor Pepper!!!) So when I ask him to message me when he gets to his destination….he gets it…and he does it. On the rare occasion that he might forget, he will reply the minute I ask if he is okay.
So he had to go in to work yesterday, which was a Saturday. After what would have been enough time for him to get there, I had not heard from him. So I messaged the child…message sent…..delivered…..no reply. Just give him time to settle in…after all, he had left, come back for his wallet…left…come back for his phone…before leaving. Perhaps he was a bit frazzled, I reasoned, trying to remain calm. Luckily Salt and I had an errand to run, so I was distracted. just a smidge. Driving to our destination, I mentioned my concerns to Salt, who rolled his eyes, and said Pepper was fine, and I needed to relax. Now I need not tell any female, especially a mom, what it does to them when they are told to ‘’relax’’!!!! But I was driving, so I had no choice but to do nothing, except …..obviously….at every red robot, check to see if Pepper had read the message yet.
I want to phone him…but I don’t. I thought to myself. For those silly, ignorant, calm and clueless people who do not understand why I thought that, let me explain my logical thought process. The fact that the message had two ticks, means that the message was delivered. This was good. This meant that the phone had not been stolen, as it had not been turned off yet. BUT, if it goes to voicemail when I phone….that is when I will totally and completely lose all sense of reasoning. That would mean that he has been involved in an accident. I do not even want to tell you where my thoughts trailed off to in that regard…as I shudder to even put those thoughts to paper. They just need to stay where they belong….in my demented head!! Alternatively, he could have dropped his phone somewhere, or left it in the car. However, Pepper knowing me as he does, would have halted any meeting that might have been taking place, to retrieve his phone from the car, so his mommy could be messaged that he was indeed safe!!
“I am going to phone him when we stop”, I told Salt (trying to convince myself that he was feeling as anxious about his older brother as I was).
‘’Whatever mom…just relax…he’s fine” the *&^%$#@ naïve, insensitive and ignorant twerp insisted.
If I was not so anxious, I swear I would stop the car right here, offload Salt in the middle of the highway, and drive off yelling “relax, don’t worry, you’ll be fine!!” I thought to myself. But I regained my sanity, and just ignored his irritating rational reply.
So destination reached, message still unread. I called…just rang…..that is kind of a good sign. That means the phone is still on. Meantime, out of the corner of my eye, I see Salt messaging and calling like blazes, who I can only assume was his brother. Heaven help him if it was not!! After about ten calls, Salt suggests we go into the shop to do what we needed to do, again telling me to relax.
‘What do you want to do mom?” he asked very soon after we entered the shop, realising that I was not going to be of any use to anyone, as my mind was now racing around like a race car.
“Let’s drive to his work,” I replied with the OBVIOUS plan of action.
“And then what?” he asked
“Well then we can see if the road is clear, and if he arrived at work,” I said, all of which made perfect sense to me.
So there we were…….doing what I would imagine ANY mother would do. Thank all the puppies and kittens, there was no sign of any accident on the way there. Being a Saturday, his workplace was totally deserted and closed up. No problem…..I found a security guard, and explained that I somehow needed to know whether my child arrived at work. This sweet man then went to check the cameras, came rushing back (skipping more like it), so excited to deliver the good news, that he had seen Pepper’s registration number in the parking. By that stage, I had aged 20 years, lost 20 kilos and damaged my nerve endings irreparably. But what a relief!!
Anyway…driving home, I mentioned to Salt that perhaps I should have asked if I could go into the parking. Pepper’s lack of response still made no sense. Maybe he was in the car, and ….well….again…that needs to remain in my head. Or maybe he got the registration wrong…..or….so many thoughts…too many thoughts…..
“Why don’t we go back, and you can ask if the security guard will let you go in and see him,’’ Salt mumbled, which of course I took seriously.
‘’I really should have done that rather’’ I replied.
‘’MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM can we just go home…..he is FINE….RELAX!!’’ an exasperated Salt yelled.
So my question still remains….are single mothers over protective of their children?