Saturday I ran an errand leaving my husband to care for my 20 month old for about an hour. Overcoming overprotective mom syndrome was very difficult for me while I was out of the house. What normally happens during daddy time is that they play around the living room and make a big mess. But to my surprise, when I arrived back home they were not wrestling around the living room. The living room was in the pristine condition it had been in when I left that morning. The back door however, was open. So I assumed that they would be out back playing on his outdoor play equipment.
Lions, Tigers and Bears!
We have almost a half-acre of property out back and it’s filled with brush, limbs, wood piles, snakes, spiders, poison ivy and probably lions, tigers and bears (my overactive mom imagination thinks so at least). I walked outside and observed as my husband started moving wood and my kid just wandered around in the natural areas. Jumping over old tree stumps and climbing over mounds of dirt. I never let him wander like this outside because I’m so super paranoid he will find a snake or something crazy back there. We always stick to our 10 X 10 play zone with the outdoor play sets. So I took a peek outside to see my husband chopping up wood and my toddler carrying sticks back and forth to the wood pile!
Let Him Be…
My husband was keeping a watchful eye on him but in a really nonchalant manner. He was trying to teach my kid that he can be independent. He can trip over a root and get himself up. Every fall, tumble and snag doesn’t need mommy or daddy there to rescue you. (In my defense, I don’t run to his aid every time he trips. I am not bubble boy’s mom). It’s a really great thing. Initially though, I worried because I feel like our very natural backyard presents new dangers that are out of my control. Inside, I can put the chemicals out of reach and I can keep buttons off the floor but outside is new territory. Maybe that’s what it is… I’m a control freak. That explains a lot. But that’s a topic for another day.
Today I want to say that after all the worry, concern and constant peeking out the window to check on things one sound resonated with me. My child’s joy and laughter. There’s that other sound that I can’t quit explain. That sound that lets me know that my child is happy and totally content in life. Maybe it’s the sound of him incoherently singing the first three words of “Head, shoulders, knees and toes”. Letting my kid play in the backyard without constant barriers made him happy. He spent time with his dad and saw his dad doing things other than cleaning and cooking that he see’s me do all day. It makes him well rounded and exposes him to some vitamin D.
To The Future…
I found my son’s small shiny new work gloves. The are adorable, but when I place them side by side with his dad’s gloves I see what I hope is his own future. I hope that he will one day have his own pair of gloves like his dad has. A pair of gloves that are worn by hard work and diligence that he learned from his dad. And more importantly, gloves worn with hours of time spent with his father.
The scenario reminded me that my kid is a toddler and can handle way more than I think. At this time in his development, it’s okay to let go and let him explore more things without worrying about him as if he is still a baby. He is a toddler and though it’s important to monitor his whereabouts and what he is doing, I don’t have to steer him away from things I’m unfamiliar with. The back yard is a big cheap play ground of entertainment. And beyond that, it’s a classroom where he learns about gravity, nature, animals, plants and insects. Day by day I’m learning to be less overprotective. Being less overprotective pays off now in allowing him new experiences and later when he can prepared for life on his own. Those kinds of things are why motherhood is such a wonderful adventure. Saturday, I took one small step in overcoming my overprotective mom syndrome. These are just beginning.
Kim’s is the party planning, cupcake loving, celebration catalyst behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. Kim was a pro event planner for over 7 years before she became a full-time blogger. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day and more! Kim aims to inspire you to create parties, celebrations and gatherings that everyone loves!