Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Different Life Philosophies

My Mom was talking to my Niece, saying sometimes people tell you not to do something because you don't have the judgment to know you shouldn't do it.

I, naughtily, added that sometimes people tell you not to do something because they're scared, and that sometimes you need to try things even though they're scary.

My Mom was not thrilled. Evidently, I messed up the life lesson.

I don't have a kid. I love and like my niece and nephew, but I recognize that my feelings for them aren't in the same realm as a parent's (or grandparent's). But still, it seems like scaring a kid who's already pretty overprotected and timid is just wrong. I understand the impulse to be overprotective, but I really admire parents who balance letting their kids go run around and be kids with teaching them appropriate manners for when it's time not to run around and be kids.

I grew up being pretty overprotected (not compared to some kids today, though) and totally frustrated with it much of the time. My Mom's first impulse about everything was "no." I try to make my first impulse about everything "yes."


My Mom came to my room calling me this morning at 6:49. She wanted to make sure I knew I had an 8am meeting.

Apparently, she did such a bad job raising me that I'm habitually late for everything and can't hold a job, finish a degree, or anything else.

Of course, as a teenager, I was pretty habitually late getting up in the morning. But then I wasn't a teenager and I stopped being late. I guess my Mom missed that transition.


  1. Anonymous6:43 AM

    Have you seen the movie Bend it like Beckham? Well, it's a little age inappropriate but my older daughter loves it. The underlying message of the movie can be summed up, I think, in a line from one of the characters: "Your parents don't always know what's best for you." I've had friends and family wonder out loud whether that's really a good message for my kid. My response is and always has been ABSOLUTELY. I don't want her to be limited by things that scare her, let alone things that happen to scare *me.* I can advise but I'm not always going to know what's best, so she needs to make her own way.

    It's a lot less comfortable for me that way but, I think, much better for her. Which is a long way of saying I'm with you on this one!

  2. This is something I've said to mr. delagar about fifty times since the kid was two years old and climbing up on a window (about two inches from the floor)(She'll fall! he cried): "She can't learn from experience if you don't let her have experience."

    Yeah, stop the kid if the kid is about to charge into traffic or drink bleach. But if she's going to do something relatively harmless that might earn her a bump? Or a D-? Experience should always be so cheap!

  3. that's hilarious about your mom waking you up!

    as the parent of 2 young adults, i have to say that it is hard work, learning to back the hell off and have them take care of their own stuff. we had to be very intentional about the process because son did not go to college and lived at home for a while -- the combo of wanting adult freedoms but teen-like bailouts was not tolerable. i'm tamping down my inner nag on a daily basis, with daughter home for the summer.

    parents spend their whole lives worrying for their kids. i'm well-known as the parent who warns of every possible danger, but also the one who hears their hearts; my husband handles adventure activities and taking risks, but also is more concerned with rules. and we rely on the aunts, uncle, and grandparents to round things out, as people with different views who also love our kids. it's OK to have different perspectives; your message is one she needs to hear.

  4. Ugh ---- I sooo know what that's like to suddenly revert to being 12 or 13 when visiting the parents --- I hate that!

    The up side is that this is only a visit, and you can look forward to her going away (and develop selective hearing while she's there).

  5. I've always thought your mom was an interesting one because she so plainly didn't think her job as a mom was ever done and that somehow she must not have done a good job, and yet she raised one of the smartest, most independent women I know. She must have been doing something right, even if she can't see it for herself. ;)

  6. Bardiac, the problem was that by the time you were NOT habitually late, you were not living at home, right? So she didn't see it.
    But this would drive me nuts!

  7. Just Pam6:45 PM

    Ha! While I'm sorry you have to endure the indignity of your mom waking you up because you're obviously not capable of doing so on your own, I still have to laugh. My fiance's mother still sends him "to-do" lists for his house, stuff like "get screen door fixed", "talk to yard guys, they're not doing a good job" and "mulch flowerbeds". He's only been a homeowner for 15 years!