30 May 2013

Mama Memoirs: Return to Innocence.

This post is a slightly rant-ish and so for that, I apologize in advance. I have actually written a post along these lines in the past but this is on my heart so often. The Mama Bear in me is stepping out right now so bear with me.

A few weeks ago, I was out on a walk with the boys, we stopped at the playground for a bit so Bennett could get some of his energy out. There was a lady there with two little girls, I'm assuming these kids were her daughters. The little girls were playing and swinging like normal little kids. I watched as the lady lit up a cigerette and started talking on the phone. Two minutes later, the older of the two girls, I'm guessing she was around 4 y/o, went over to her "Mom" and started digging through her purse. Meanwhile, the lady had no regard whatsoever of the smoke that was being windblown directly into her daughters face. A few seconds later, this lady noticed that the little girl was digging around in her bag, swatted her hand and told her "stop it right now, go play or we're leaving!" And just carried on with her phone conversation and cigarette. Everyone has their own way of parenting but, WTH.

I see this kind of thing happen all of the time. Adults blatantly disregarding their children's needs and best interests. What are these little girls exposed to on a daily basis? They are way too young to be dealing with that kind of behavior from anyone, let alone their supposed Mother.

Later that very same day, I was reading a facebook post about how a little boy around Bennett's age said the F-word. I was shocked to see 10+ comments of people saying "oh my gosh, LOL"... etc. I'll just come right out and say it, I don't think that's funny, not at all.

But what impacted me the most was this comment on the thread: "Well, you can't shelter them forever."

Frankly, I hate that statement.

Of course I realize that when people say that, they are usually referring to tweens, or teenagers or whatever. And I get the reasoning behind it, to an extent. But this little boy who was using this awful curse word, was FOUR years old. Maybe it's just me, but I will most definitely be sheltering my kids until MUCH older than 4 y/o.

I look around and see what is happening in our society and my heart skips a beat, in a bad way. There continues to be more and more violence, television is offering more leniency on foul language, and sex and drugs are becoming the "norm" for middle schoolers, and *gasp* even grade schoolers. And what's worse, is that our culture seems to be more tolerant of it. Truthfully, that scares me to death.

Every. Single. Thing. affects our kids. Our language, attitudes, who they spend time with, and the things that go on around them. A little boy saying the F-word and a young girl inhaling second hand smoke is unacceptable in my book. That's not me being overly judgmental, that's me being a Mother.

Children are pure, and untainted, and offer the most sincere kind of love there is. No one is perfect, and as adults & parents, we all make mistakes, and don't always act as good examples. But I just wish people would work harder to be more careful around their kids, and to maintain children's innocence a little longer. Let our kids be KIDS without all of the negativity.

That's not to say I'm going to put my kids on lockdown and hide them from the world or anything dramatic, but for the most part, I will always out of my way to shield them from things that could negatively influence them. Call me overprotective if you want, but I am not ashamed of it.

I know how this might come across and I promise I'm not trying to be self-righteous. I am the first to admit that I have a lot of work to do. I have done things in the past, and probably will continue to do things that makes me a hypocrite in writing this. But I really am trying to work on myself to be a better influence for those around me.

I want this world to return the innocence to our children, and stop robbing them of it at such a young age. I look at my two little babies and want nothing more than for them to hold onto that purity for as long as possible.


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32 comments:

Michelle said...

OMG! Shared to FB because this is 100% golden. I love this so much.

Kiara Buechler said...

I couldn't agree more. They have a whole life ahead of them to deal with all the sadness, tragedy and stress the world will throw at them, no need to introduce it quite yet.

Michelle Thomas said...

I totally agree! I am so vigilant of what my kids watch on TV and what they are exposed to, there is plenty of time for them to be "adults". For now, they can be innocent and I am ok with that :)

jen said...

Great post. The world seems to move so much faster now. It really is hard to shelter your kids from the horrible facts of life. My son will be 7 in July and over the course of this year we've let go a little and allowed him so independence (i.e. being outside with his friends without one of us). This was a hard move to make; we hear on the news every single day about a creep approaching kids. Makes me want to vomit. The expectations out of our kids is at an all time high as well. My son is learning things in 1st grade that I don't think we even learned until 3rd grade! It's crazy! The advice I was given and that I stand by is that I cannot stop my kids from growing up but I can be apart of it every step of the way, even when they don't want me there. I will be as present as humanly possible. When they're older and need rides, I will do it regardless of where they're going. Always be present.

Unfortunately, I can't judge the woman at the park too harshly. I've been there...on my phone while the kids play. Sometimes mom just needs a break and the park is a great distraction. The smoking...well...I'd let it go. I don't agree with it but what I hate more are the moms who smoke in the car with their [young] children. I want to rip their eyeballs out.

Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] said...

I'm not a "helicopter" mom by any means, but I make sure that Braden is watching TV shows that are approved by me...but I also want him to learn on his own. We live on an acreage and he's at the age now where he can be outside, unsupervised. We do not live by busy roads, he knows his boundaries to stay in the yard, mostly he just plays in our garden with his diggers, and of course I can see him at all times and check on him frequently. Sometimes if he does something he has been told not to do (play on the retaining wall) and he falls off (1 foot) onto the ground and hurts himself, it's an "I told you so" lesson as he's starting to learn that his actions have consequences. The kind of parenting that is "let them find their own way" where the kids essentially raise themselves with no rules, no boundaries, no limitations...I do NOT agree with that. We are raising our boys to have respect, to listen, to follow rules, and to be little gentlemen.

Nicolette said...

I completely agree about keeping kids innocent as long as possible but I often find that I'm not in the norm. For example, I only allow my kids to watch certain TV shows. Because of that they don't know some of the more popular shows or songs. I've had other parents and even family members question our choices. Saying that my girls will be in shock when they get to school and we should prepare ourselves for potential behavioral issues. The pressure to conform starts way too early.

My personal pet peeve is some of the songs I hear kids as young as four singing and dancing to. I know they don't understand what they are saying but in my opinion a preschooler should not be singing about sex, implied or otherwise. I'm not a prude but there is an innocent free spirited way a four year dances and than there is what they are mimicking from TV. I just think we should embrace their natural silly dancing and let them be kids.

Kate Rogers said...

I see the same types of "parenting" all the time. It really kills my soul. I do think that we cannot shelter our children from things however, like you I think this applies more towards older children. I cannot shelter my 10 year old from the F-bomb but I most certainly can from my 2 year old. My husband and I just had this "argument" because he was talking to one of his crews and was cursing so our 2 year old repeated it. He thought it was funny, I did not. I ended up lecturing him and the toddler about how we cannot use that language so freely.

This society scares me to death and as a mother, it is my job to shelter my children from whatever I can. I love that your Mama Bear came out.

And seriously, my sister didn't speak to me for months when I confronted her about the second hand smoke her son was receiving from her bad habit. I went off the deep end when I saw her take his pacifier out of his mouth her the hand that was holding her lit cigarette. =(

Kate @ www.raisingthergoers.blogspot.com

StephanieB said...

Its sad when raising your kids innocently becomes the struggle. Society thinks harming your children is when its physical. If we could only see the mental bruising I think there would be a lot more laws on parenting. I appreciate your post Mandy. Your Mama bear is in the right woods :)

Kenzie Ashcraft said...

THIS.IS.PERFECT. Sharing with my friends because you just hit the nail on the head and took the thoughts out of my mind. Thank you so much for this! EVERYONE should read this.

XOXO

Ruthy Taylor said...

it is so heartbreaking when you see how some people parent. I always have to calm down and tell myself 'I don't know what this person may have just gone through to make them react to their kids like that,' But often I so want to say something. Clearly none of us are perfect. I'm sure I'll blow up in front of strangers one day. But man...blatant disregard for a childs health is just sad.

andrea said...

Amen sister! I love this!!!! I have surprised myself in how conservative I have become since having children. I would probably keel over if I heard my kid drop an F bomb, haha! I have two daughters, and with my oldest in Kindergarten I fully get that you can't shield them forever. But I'm certainly going to try! They are innocent for a very short time as it is, and I feel like part of my job as their mama is to protect that as long as I possibly can.

Lydia Schmitt said...

Preach it! People don't understand why I am very protective over what my kids see and hear, but I am so happy to find that someone else gets it! I needed to read this. Innocence is such a beautiful and fragile thing. The longer it can be protected the better. Parents are made to be guardians of their children's mind and heart.There is a time that yes the veil will be peeled away, but we will have already prepared them for it and they will be ready. Not like now, so many children know too much information way before their little minds and hearts are mature enough to bear the burden. Awesome post.

Ashley said...

So true. Just this morning while at gymnastics a mom said shit and bitch in front of not only her kids but the rest of the ones in the room as well. I also have a friend (who has her own kids, who we rarely see anymore) who would smoke and cuss in front of Ryann. I just don't understand. I think I am relatively lax about some stuff, but there is no need to use fowl language in front of a child, and it isn't funny if they repeat it. And for the love, just be respectful of other people and their children. Just because you're ok with your kids seeing one thing, doesn't mean everyone is ok with it.

Aileen Johnston said...

Totally agree. I used to smoke before I fell pregnant but NEVER smoked in front of kids. Also I swear like a savvy worker (us Scots can make whole sentences out of swear words) but I don't swear in front of kids and am certainly becoming even more aware of it now that my daughter could be speaking soon. Kids should be kids for as long as possible. Well done on the post xx

Krista said...

I totally agree with all that you've said here. One of my very good friends raises her daughter in a totally different way than I raise mine. I don't judge but certain things bother me so much--like when her 3 year old says "Mommy go to the gym. I don't want a fat mommy". My daughter doesn't know what fat means. I want to keep her young as long as reasonably possible. I don't think it's cute or sweet when little kids grow up too fast and say and do mature things. There is plenty of time for that. For now, I love that she's 2.5 and I want her to act her age and enjoy it. I know I'm enjoying it!

Whitney W said...

I could not agree more! It breaks my heart to see children robbed of their innocence. I know we cannot shelter them forever, nor do I want to, but I feel like a child should get to be a child for as long as possible. They have their entire life to deal with adult issues, as parents I think it is important we protect their innocence and let them be little for a little while.

Karen Bettencourt said...

I totally agree! Yes Tristan has watched adult movies like superhero movies and such (you know the ones where the worst you hear might be crap or even damn) but he knows what words are wrong and has told other people not to say those words when he hears them (smart little 3yr old there). I know he loves his superheros and I know I cannot totally shelter him but I can make sure he learns rules, boundaries, respect, and responsibility. He will learn that being a boy doesn't give him more power or authority over girls and that being a boy does NOT give him the right to be mean and hurtful. Same with Emmett as he gets older. I will not put up with either one becoming one of "those boys" who think they are perfect in every way or better than another. Also we will not get on the topic of sex because well... they better never pull the "well I'm a boy and I can't help it" crap. Their uncle is 21 and still a virgin... they can do it too.

Btw, I love those mama bear moments :).

ADSchill said...

Yuck. I know where you are coming from. I saw a couple smoking and pushing their baby around the other day and it made me sad. Yes, they are outside, but still! Can't they wait until they are alone and the kids are asleep or something?

I agree that more care needs to be given to protecting young children. There is enough hardness and unsafe situations out there without parents adding to it. I would be very upset if Cooper was swearing at 4 years old, or if someone was smoking around him. Just do your best to put them in healthy situations and the rest...well, we'll have to deal with it when we get there.

Good post!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. Just this last weekend I was at the park with my three year daughter and inlaws. MIL was pushing my daughter in a swing when a woman walked up with a small baby and put her in the swing next to my daughter WITH A CIGARETTE IN HER MOUTH! I got upset and said to my FIL and husband that we needed to get my daughter away from the swings because the woman was blowing cigarette smoke. I made my husband go get her.

I'm not going to tell someone they can are can't smoke, but seriously on a playground with 2 dozen children (ha, a dozen of them were hers if that says anything)!!!

Miss Janet said...

You are a wonderful mama!

Blessings,
Janet

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Christene @ MommaBird said...

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I would never give a second glance to any mama who was using formula or disposable diapers or doing the CIO method. But there are just some common sense things that would make my jaw drop smoking and cussing is high on the list. The other is hitting your child out of frustration (which I feel is a fault in the adult than the child) which is very different from spanking. I don't want to judge other mamas, but since being one I have this urge to protect all children, even if they aren't mine.

Amanda H said...

Totally agree!! Since when is sheltering our kids a bad thing is what I would like to know. To me "sheltering" is "protecting" and I will do whatever I have to do to protect my babies and their innocence as long as I can!

Kristin said...

I see things like this all of the time! It makes me so sad. There are so many children who don't get a chance in life, and don't get a chance to be children!

I see parents smoking at the park all of the time. Makes me so angry! And when we left the zoo earlier this week there were two people sitting on a large rock in the middle of the exit (since there is no smoking in the zoo) puffing away! All of the families and children had to walk through their cloud of smoke to leave!

A few weeks ago my son had to have a minor surgery. While in the pre-op waiting room we were entertaining him with party blowers. A little girl around 2 or 3 came close and was interested in what we had. My husband took a brand new one out of the package and handed it over. She was delighted and immediately started blowing it. A few minutes later we heard her mother exclaiming, "Where did you get that!? Get that nasty thing out of your mouth!... etc" Then she spanked her. This poor little girl was already in her hospital gown and waiting to have surgery. My husband felt bad, like it was his fault, but had the mother been watching her young child in a crowded waiting room she would have known where it came from and that it was new and clean. We felt so sorry for her.
Ok, longest comment ever. This post really hit home with me.

thelittlebluebungalow said...

I shared this on twitter. such a very good post.
I'm not a mom yet so I can't speak on that would never happen to me.. and i know people judge me because i get told you're not a mom so you wouldn't know. But honestly there is a huge difference because I just know common sense. And what you described is just horrible.
The one day I was at the park with my mom and my little cousin. Another little kid was there and was being so mean to my cousin that I had to tell him to stop because the mom was somewhere else.

Sometimes Mandy the world is sad. And I hope that more parents will learn how to cherish their children. And if they don't want them - there are PLENTY of people who just want to be a mom so bad (me).

WeeMasonMan's Mom said...

Oh man, I totally hear you. I totally HATE seeing/hearing little kids singing and dancing to ridiculously inappropriate music. Not funny at all. And parents smoking with their kids right there (especially in the car) makes me homicidal

I am, however, a complete weirdo because I also don't let Mason drink sugary drinks (Kool-aid, apple juice, punch), eat fast food, or regularly have stuff like cookies. I figure he has the entire rest of his life to eat crappy food and while I can control his diet 99.9%, he should be eating stuff that's decent for him. I totally cringe when I see a one year old drinking pop....

Andrea Becher said...

Yes, yes, yes! Agree 100%. The more I see and hear stuff like this, the more I want to home school my children.

Katie said...

While I understand your point, especially about kids swearing, I want to point out that smoking is legal and highly addictive, which is why it can be an incredibly hard habit to break. My mother has smoked my entire life (not while pregnant or in the house) and I have turned out just fine and never suffered harmful effects of second-hand smoke. Obviously, I don't condone smoking but I strongly believe that smokers should not be condemned in any way. Having one bad habit does not affect your ability to be a good parent, and, like you said, we all have our ways.

Brandee said...

YES - Agreed!!

3 Frogs and a Princess said...

Love this! I actually found and read it yesterday through Becky but had to come back to comment. Such truth and I hate it when people say we can't shelter our children too. Isn't that what a mother is suppose to do?! I truly believe that one of the main issues with today's kids is that they see too much, experience too much and test too much. I'm totally fine with my kids being sheltered because I want to hold onto that innocence as long as possible. There will be plenty of time for them to be exposed.

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Rj and Jessie said...

I agree completely. I love this post so much. It's like you took the words right out of my mouth!