Monday, February 19, 2007

Is my reality real?

There are things that I know to be true. Like, the sun will continue to rise and set. Nordstrom will continue to be too pricey for my stay-at-home mom budget. Birds fly south for winter. Fruits, veggies, and dairy keep us healthy, while refined sugars, cheetos and white bread will keep us sane. And there are things I think are true. 100 years from now science may disprove me, but I firmly believe that there are substances out there (bleach, ammonia, transfats) that we can relatively easily avoid and that are suspected to cause health problems.

As a mom, isn't it a part of my job to use my best judgment and keep my kids away from the things I think to be potentially harmful? I know that some of my fears are irrational. Like my fear of balloons. And kites. (I'll never be able to explain, so don't ask!) And I do everything I can to not pass those on to my kids. But other worries are entirely rational and it's worth teaching my kids to be cautious in certain situations. What, in that, says that I'll raise my kids to be afraid of everything?

Is what I see as reality actually real? Or are they right? Am I really overprotective and paranoid? I tend to think that my reality is real. That I possess information they don't, and that information guides my choices. Of course, we all weigh the sources out there and choose what to cling to and what to discard. Is my perception skewed?

Am I really a bad mom because I don't want Little Man exposed to an R-rated movie that's packed with fight scenes and murder? Or because I don't want Bean eating raw eggs that could be tainted with salmonella? Sure, I ate raw cookie dough as a child and lived. And chances are, she will too. But as long as there's a chance that it has salmonella, what's the harm until waiting until it's cooked to eat it? Does that really make me a 'scared, anxious, overprotective mom'? Or when I wipe the chemical residue off a toy that someone else has just cleaned with bleach, and I can still see the little slimy bleach bubbles on it - am I really paranoid just because I want to wipe those off before putting it in a 2 year old's little hands?

I'm so sick of the judgment. When it comes from a stranger (which it inevitably does, sometimes), I can shrug it off pretty easily and move on. But when it comes from someone I know and love, someone I see regularly, and they make judgmental comments about what a paranoid freak of a mom I am, it doesn't take long before it gets old.


Mella said...

You're certainly not a paranoid freak of a mom - and you're absolutely doing the best that you can for your children.

As mother's, we need to treat each other with a certain amount of respect and space, when it comes to parenting decisions. Each of us has our own style, technique and level of comfort with what we allow our children access to. Few instances can be judged as wrong - the majority are just a difference of opinion, or of lifestyle. But they aren't wrong - just fodder for Mommy-Guilt.

Try to wipe off the comments as though they're bubbles of bleach that you're wiping off of a toy.

You're only doing what you see as right - and you should stand proud in that.

Novice said...

Amen, Kathy. Amen, Mella.

Kathy, I'm certainly going to check your blog out more often. I'm glad you commented on Mella's site.