Let's face it, all moms get scruitinized...it's like part of the fine print that we agreed to with the Universe/God when we got pregnant. The thing is, sometimes I feel like it was a clause written into a contract with invisible ink. The no holidays, no minimum wage, no medical benefits, no sleep type of work that we sign up for because we simply want to love and give to another human being.
Getting criticized by both sets of grandparents is inevitable and annoying enough, but when random strangers like to impose their opinions on me, not because they're being kind, but simply because they cannot mind their own business -- THAT drives me up the wall! Why do some people care so much as to whether I am tail-gating my kid like a dog on a leash? I don't want to be a helicopter mom, I don't want to hover over my child -- and that's my choice. (Yes, this article is inspired by that mom who insisted I go walk my dinosaur-son in a park and not have him pretend to be a dinosaur while playing amongst other kids, including hers).
To all the scared grandparents out there, I understand that times have changed. Depending on where you live, it may not be safe to let children out onto the streets to randomly make friends with neighbours' kids, yet that still doesn't justify hovering over a primary school kid like a puppet master. Parenting is such a delicate balance between showing a child love (as they understand it, not just as we would want to give it), giving direction, cautioning them to be "safe" and giving them freedom to explore and express the true essence of who they really are. If adults don't like to be stuffed into a box, why would children? On the one hand, we are are encouraging the next generation to be creative and to think outside of the box. On the other hand, we find ourselves (okay, "I find myself") wanting to impose my will on my child.
As my child gets older, I've noticed that I am constantly reminding myself of all the different ways I want to lead him by example. Sure, sometimes it backfires, like when he talks to me with sarcasm or like a teenager...but sometimes it actually works! When he shows compassion towards others and a curiousity towards larger social concepts such as "poverty" and being a "good" person, I take credit for that. *wink* And I pray that he will maintain and transfer his passion for dinosaurs into other facets of his life.