Sam, my eight and one-half year old son, gave me the sweetest compliment yesterday.
Sam: Mom, you're the best mom I know.
Me: I am?
Sam: Yep. You're definitely not an OPM.
Me: Uh, thank you. Now what is an OPM?
Sam: Over Protective Mother.
Sam: You let me ride my bike on the trail by myself, and you let me bike to the playground by myself. You don't make a big deal about what time I eat or go to bed. That's why you're the best mom ever.
Best parent ever, or negligent parent? The jury's still out on that one!
Helicopter Moms. Or OPMs, as Sam calls them. Yeah, that's definitely not me. I like to think that I'm raising free-range kids (as the title of this book implies). I know my parenting style, and it's just north of laissez-faire.
I'm not the Mom that arranges play dates. I believe in spontaneous neighborhood play.
I'm not the Mom that shuttles her kids to every sport and after school enrichment activity. If my kid shows a real interest, then I'll make the effort. I won't stress myself and others by overloading the family schedule.
I'm not the Mom that's volunteering every day at the school to keep tabs on her kids and their teachers. I know my kid, and he's completely honest about his successes and failures.
I'm not the Mom that's trying to prevent every possible scratch, bump, or injury. Common sense should always prevail, and I'll remind my kids to make safe choices. But Sam will muck in the creek and play in the woods and get poison ivy from time to time.
I'm not the Mom that must know where her children are at every hour of every day via text, cell phone, facebook, or face to face contact. My sons enjoy their freedoms at school and college, and I enjoy hearing about their adventures when we do connect.
Raising free range kids can be a balancing act. The little devil on one shoulder tells you to worry and fret more, while the angel on the other shoulder tells you to let go and let God. Every day comes with its own problems, and I've learned to take these days one day at a time.
In all honesty, I can understand the worries of the helicopter mom. The world is a scary place to raise children. I believe, to paraphrase the words of Jesus in the gospel of John, that the world still loves darkness more than light. But I refuse to camp out in the darkness. I have to parent by faith.
Negligent Mom or Best Mom Ever? Today, I'll settle for being good enough. I love being a mom to my sons, and they love me. Why worry?
An easy, one layer wonder card that's bright and cheery and fun!
Stamps from WPlus9 ( Heartfelt Mix), inks from SU, white card stock from PTI.