I hear this from concerned, young moms all the time: “My friends tell me I’m an over-protective Mom.” I suspect your friends are wrong. What you are is a Mom — period. You should not be penalized or chastised for simply doing your job to the best of your ability. Neither should you lower your standards to match those of your acquaintances who may have chosen to offer their children on the sacrificial altar of peer pressure.
How many people would consider the following to be over-protective?
- Mom wants to have a say in what her child is taught.
- Mom wants to have a say in when he is taught it.
- Mom wants to have a say in what friends her child associates with.
- Mom wants to have a say in when he associates with them.
- Mom wants to have a say in what type of food her child eats.
- Mom wants her child to avoid substances that will cause him to suffer allergic reactions.
- Mom wants her child to be safe from harmful substances.
- Mom wants her child to be safe from harmful influences.
- Mom wants her child to be safe from harmful situations.
- Mom wants her child’s needs to be met in a reasonable manner and time period.
- Mom wants her child to know unrestrained love.
Just in case you are not sure how to answer the above question, let me broaden the subject a little bit. Suppose that instead of talking about an ordinary Mom, we are discussing the owner of a business:
- The employer insists that his staff members learn to do their projects to his standards.
- The employer insists that his staff members complete their projects according to his schedule.
- The employer insists on hiring only staff members who exhibit a work ethic similar to his own.
- The employer insists on establishing safety regulations and further insists that all employees follow those regulations.
- The employer insists on approving the production materials that are used.
- The employer insists on exercising his right to reward superior performance.
Essentially, a Mom performs all the same general functions that a business owner does, but the businessman is usually praised by his peers for his efforts to achieve excellence in productivity. The Mom is, unfortunately, scolded by her peers as being over-protective.
- Where the employer may be seen as caring and compassionate, Mom is considered “smothering.”
- Where an employer may be considered efficient, Mom is called “dictatorial.”
- When an employer chooses high standards to produce an excellent product, a Mom, doing exactly the same thing for the same reasons, is often regarded as “too picky” and “a perfectionist.”
Moms, take a good, long, serious look at your principles and your standards and your reasons for choosing them. If those standards and principles were applied in a business setting, would they be praised by your customers and envied by your competitors? If your methods would be lauded for their excellence by the business world, then you can tell your critics to go find someone else to harass, because you will no longer be listening to them. (Then walk away with your fingers in your ears to prove that they have lost their audience.)
As just another Mom myself, I understand that caring Moms are not trying to control their universe; they are simply trying to do what is best for their children’s well-being. No sane mother wants to see her child kept isolated on a silken pillow as an object of adoration. On the contrary, mothers have hopes and dreams and aspirations for whatever level of success each child will attain, and every sane mother knows that this success cannot be achieved without hard work. Hard work means struggles, and those struggles come from encountering difficulties. Therefore, mothers actually want their children to confront and overcome certain difficulties, since that means that they are on the road to success.
Our job as Moms means that we act as road maps, traffic cops, crossing guards, and travel guides to help our children learn where to go, how to go, when it will be safe to go there, and how to get around once they arrive. Anyone who sees that as being “over-protective” is in the same category as those who feel automotive seat belts, traffic lights, and speed limits are “restrictive” infringements on their self-expression.
A caring Mom keeps her children from being side-tracked away from the truly important issues. A diligent Mom keeps her children moving in the proper direction and at a pace appropriate to the circumstances. A conscientious Mom is not being over-protective: she is doing her job and doing it well. Go, then, and do your job as a Mom, raising your children to the best of your ability. You have my approval.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy Standing Up Against “The Lie”.