The “Coddling” Parent

Recently, I had a peculiar conversation with a woman waiting to pick up her grandchild while I waited for my daughter at her school.

I usually get to avoid the awkward parent pick-up small talk because I have my glorious buffer in the form of my son with me. He runs around like a mad man, while I “chase” after him.

On this particular day, Mark stayed home from work due to illness, so I left our son home while I did the school pick up routine.

The woman I mentioned, spotted me almost immediately and approached me. Admittedly, even on a good day, I would be annoyed by this, but I was especially irritated because I was also sick and barely had a voice. Needless to say, there wasn’t any part of me in the mood to chit chat.

I even warned her of my sickness in hopes of avoiding the interaction.

I wasn’t so lucky.

She begins by motioning her head towards a young mom talking on the phone while rolling her baby around in her stroller.

She says in a disapproving tone, “So, do you think the baby will wake up if she stops rolling the stroller?”

I was put off by her cattiness right away.

“Lady, I don’t know you. I don’t know her. I don’t care what she’s doing. WHY DO YOU?!”

…Is what I wanted to say, but the likelihood of seeing this woman again was highly probable, so I decided to go a different route.

“Maybe. My guess is she’s doing it subconsciously while on the phone. When my kids were younger, I did similar things. I still find myself rocking as if I had a baby in my arms,” I politely answered.

She replied curtly, “Oh, I just raised my kids to be more independent.”

[insert eye roll here] This lady was so lucky my faculties were not up to par.   

So, according to her, nurturing your child is taking away from their independence?!

Are you freaking kidding me?!

Both my kids have a strong independence gene, which I encourage, but they’re still children. They need comfort, nurture, and guidance from their parents.

I hope this doesn’t come across as holier than thou, but in these situations, I like to use them as a teaching tool. No, I don’t think I’m smarter than this woman, but my perspective is obviously very different than hers, so I gave her an example of why it’s still important to be mindful of what our independent children are up to.

I mentioned how my children are extremely independent, but if I left my daughter with autism to her own devices, we would be in the E.R. twice a week. Or, even Pace, who is a bit more sensible with his independence, is only a 4-year-old boy. I still need to keep him safe. It’s my responsibly and pleasure to ensure my kids feel safe, protected, and loved.

So, if some judgmental grandma thinks the modern mom is too coddling, that’s her problem. And, it’s a sad problem to have. I can’t imagine any mother has looked back on her life and regretted holding, kissing, hugging, rocking, etc. her children.

Also, on a side, grim note, maybe this woman should listen to true crime podcast regarding children abductions. She would probably change her tune about letting her children or now grand children be completely independent.

Just sayin’.

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