Most moms share a few very important traits:
Unconditional love for their children.
An innate need to protect their children.
The desire to have their children succeed.
The ability to lose every last shred of patience when their children push their buttons.
Falling even more in love with their children when they are sleeping soundly (this usually happens after whatever caused that loss of patience).
Heart-melting, full body feelings of joy, when your child does something to make you proud.
Most moms I know share all of these traits.
As for other “mom attributes”, well, they can vary greatly from one mom to another.
There are the carefree moms. The affectionate moms. Sarcastic moms. Laid back moms. Nit-picking moms. Helicopter moms.
Ding, ding, ding! Helicopter moms. Oh, yes. I relate to that. I’m guilty! I admit, I hover. I like to always have my eyes on my kids. My job is to keep them safe. There are a few reasons I turned into a helicopter mom. First, I am a rule-follower. I’m also a lady who likes to be in control. And lastly, I tend to over-worry. It’s the perfect combination to create a helicopter mom.
But I respect the vast differences in moms’ parenting styles. I don’t want any other moms to judge my style, so I try hard not to judge theirs’. As long as they love their kids, I know they are doing the best they can. So I refrain from judging other moms.
BUT. And it’s an important BUT. Refraining from judgment becomes hard when the time comes for solo playdates. Drop-off playdates at a friend’s house. Alone. Without me.
The reason it’s tough? Well, then the other mom’s parenting style is kind of important. Because for a couple of hours, they are responsible for YOUR child too. And if they have a completely different parenting style, then what happens?
A situation recently occurred when my child went over a friend’s house for a playdate. I found out later that the mom let my child and her child play outside on their street, alone. No adults or even older siblings were outside with them or watching them.
I know some parents will say, “what’s the big deal?” Well, those are the laid-back moms.
My fellow helicopter moms will agree with me.
In this day and age, I don’t think it’s safe to let young kids play outside alone. Also, if I had someone else’s kid at my house, I’d be extra careful watching them. I would never send them outside alone.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This particular mom is lovely. Very sweet and loves her children. I know she isn’t neglectful, or uncaring. Just laid-back. Which is not my style.
So this becomes a dilemma. My kid and her kid are friends. But we have completely opposite parenting styles. So what do we do?
Should parenting styles and expectations be discussed before playdates?
For instance, do I need to say, “Please watch my child during the entire playdate”.
And “Please keep my kid away from sharp knives and dangerous power tools”.
Should I ask if they have guns in the house?
Oh geez, should I also ask where they store their liquor?
The list could go on and on.
Or should I just continue to teach my children what I expect from them? And hope (and pray) that it sinks in and they remember it all when they venture out into the real world (or for a playdate) without me?
It’s a dilemma. Yet another parenting dilemma.
My answer to this particular dilemma is to yes, teach your kids everything you believe. But also, always follow your gut. If someplace doesn’t feel safe, don’t leave your kid there! If your gut tells you to discuss your parenting style with another mom…. discuss it! If you’ve seen something that has made you feel uneasy, plan future playdates at YOUR house instead of theirs.
The bottom line? When it comes to your children, always listen to your instincts.
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