I try very hard not to be an overprotective mom.
I don't freak out if my son falls. I don't generally get annoyed at other kids being kids around him. He's in daycare, and I'm not one of the parents who wants an accident report for every cut and scratch.
So, it struck me as rather odd when my overprotective mothering instinct kicked in a couple of weeks ago.
We live in a townhouse complex, so there is a wall that divides our house from the house behind us. (so we have a side yard rather than a backyard). The house behind us has several children, four we think, one of whom, M, is 6 going on 7.
I met her when we had taken Rosie Rose Petal, our kitten, for a car ride and we were carrying her back home. M stopped us and asked to hold Rosie. I said no because she was really scared. But, M wanted to talk and play with Matthew. I finally told her that the next time Matthew and I were outside she could come hold Rosie and play with Matt.
I thought she would forget.
But, the next time we were outside, out she came. She wanted Matt to come over to her place. I said no. It went back and forth. I finally had to put on my mommy voice and say that it was time for her to go home. (she and Matt wanted to play on his bunk beds - I didn't really want her to come in).
Again tonight Matthew and I were outside with my nieces, my husband and my brother in law. Over she came - decked out in her bathing suit - to play in the sprinkler. Apparently she had asked her mom.
I didn't really mind it. First of all, it was kind of nice to have a 6 (almost 7) year old play in the sprinkler while I took a break. If she's playing outside, with me around, I'm okay with it. She seems nice. But, she's a little pushy.
What worries me is she wants Matt to go and play with her and her friends. There are lots of kids in the complex. I want Matthew to have friends. I want him to ride bikes and play and have a good time. But I'm not ready for him to be out of my sight.
I'm not quite ready to let go.
I'm sort of worried that I'll turn into that mom chasing her child around, bottle of sunscreen in one hand, cookies in another.
And, the other thing I wonder about ... why is this little girl allowed to run around to some other kids' house, with no concept of time or who these parents are. I would say my parents were fairly protective of me, but not overprotective. But, I guarantee you that they would not have let me go over to a stranger's home dressed only in a bathing suit. Isn't dangerous????
So, what do you think? Am I overprotective? And at what point do you start to let go a bit? I think 3 is just way too young.