Monday, November 16, 2009

Confessions of an OPM

Hello. My name is Amy and I am an Over-Protective Mama (otherwise known as OPM). I also will introduce you to the hubs, who is an OPD (yes that would be Over-Protective Daddy). We fully acknowledge this, and for the record have no plans to change.

When Rock Star was just a baby and we found ourselves falling in sync with the rhythm of his spirit, his needs, likes and dislikes and like all new parents, were receiving gobs and gobs of advice. We made the decision to live by the philosophy “if it works for our family, then we do it.” At the time we had a wonderful pediatrician who fully supported this practice and often told us, “You are the expert on your child. Trust your instinct and do what you know your baby needs.” Her support and encouragement to be the parents our child needed, not the parents others thought we should be was more of a gift than we could have hoped for.

Our Rock Star is now four and Itty Bitty twelve months and we still practice this philosophy. We know what our children need. Their needs can vary daily, even hourly. Some nights we have little ones who need us to rock them to sleep or need to sleep with us. Some mornings they need an hour or so of snuggling and reading and others they want breakfast and to be on the go within seconds. Some days there is an increased need for hugs and closeness and others they are brave little beings venturing out exploring new territory. But regardless of what it is they need, my job is to be present for them. Whether it is to scoop them up in my arms or to watch over them from a distance, Mama is there.

As Rock Star gets older I am surprised at how many people find it odd, or even detrimental to his development, that I remain near and available to him. I am not a believer in shoving my kids off in to the world with the expectation that they will learn how the world works. I am an educated, capable, grown woman and I often find the world to be harsh and confusing. Why would I expect my child to go it alone? Here are the common questions/statements (actually they are often more like accusations) I get about being an OPM:

You can’t always rush in to save your kids.
OPM Response: Watch me.

How will they learn to deal with things if you are always around?
OPM Response: First, there are other ways to learn than from fear and failure. Second, is it not the inherent job of a parent to be the one to teach and guide? I choose to use example. My kids can’t see my example if I am not around.

Your kids will never want to leave you.
OPM Response: If I am lucky.

You will raise needy and dependent kids.
OPM Response: No, I am raising children who know they can depend upon, trust, and take comfort in their parents. This will give them confidence and reassurance to explore and venture out into their world because they know Daddy and Mama are always here to come back to if needed.

There are enough lessons the world will teach my kids by the sheer nature of life. They will no doubt be hurt, confused, and frustrated over the years. I figure why not alleviate what I can? Contrary to what some think, my children do not live in a bubble (but that is only because I have yet to find one on eBay), they are out there living and learning but they are, and always will be, doing it with Mama lurking nearby just in case they need me.

For those of you who read my editorials in the Pointe, sorry for the duplicate. I am tired and busy!

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