Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Do I Win The Bad Mom Award?

Do I win the bad mom award? That's my question to you...

See, I have an 8 year old daughter and as much as I want to shield and protect her from all the evils in this world, there are certain things that I refuse to keep from her. 9.11, Newtown, and now Boston are all subjects that I let her watch reports about in addition to watching the reports of course her dad and I sit with her and have a conversation. I ask her if she has any questions or concerns about what she has seen or heard. I make sure that she knows that even though there are people who wish harm on strangers there are even more still who would rush to help those same strangers, and that those are the people who are heroes.

I have always believed that for the most part, keeping the tragedies that happen in life from our children does more harm than good. You lose out on teaching valuable lessons on humanity and the goodness of people, not to mention teaching them to be the kind of person who rushes to action in a tragic situation as opposed to standing around feeling helpless.

This extends to personal tragedies as well. When we brought my Mother In Law to live with us when she had been given only months to live after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, my daughter was 4 years old and she was included and involved in EVERY single step of the process from setting up Gramma Marilyn's new room to the daily meetings with her Hospice nurses. Hannah was allowed to ask questions, talk about anything and everything she saw and felt about the whole situation. I truly believe that because we included her in everything, it was less scary for her when Gramma Marilyn progressively got worse. She was able to spend time with and help to care for her Gramma. She was also there (in another room with the hospice nurse) the moment Gramma took her very last breath. Hannah was there when we went to the funeral home to make all of the arrangements for Gramma Marilyn and helped us pick out the lovely wooden urn that Gramma Marilyn would be placed in. During that same time period we were also caregivers to my Grandmother who was battling Alzheimer's and bi-polar disorder.

Pretty heavy subject matter for an adult let alone a child, I know. But again, Hannah was included in every aspect of taking care of Grandma, which helped her to feel more in control of the situation. Also I believe that those experiences have shaped her into the immensely caring, loving, understanding, accepting, empathetic individual that she is today. Believe me when I tell you though I have 'mommy guilt' every single day about how much she has experienced in her young life, but ultimately if given a 'do-over' I wouldn't change it. I truly believe that she can handle the truth about life and death and tragedy. I believe that I have taught her to not judge people based on how they look or who they love, that if you have the ability to help someone in need it is your job to do so.

I'm sure that to some people I'm a horrible mother for not keeping these types of things from my daughter and that's okay.  Everyone is entitled to their opinions.  However, I know that I made the right decisions for MY family and at the end of the day, that's the only thing that matters.

I pray for peace for the victims of these horrific tragedies.  I pray that law enforcement will be able to determine quickly who was behind these attacks and to bring those people to justice.  Now, let's all go hug our friends and family extra tight and maybe say a few more 'I love you's' to the people who matter in our lives.


7 comments:

  1. You have to do what is best for your family and if sharing more works than stick with it!! I remember growing up that my dad would tell me more while my mom always tried to shelter us and keep anything worrisome away from us. I def appreciated my dads openness!

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  2. I agree with your approach and when I become a mother I don't want to shield things from my children. I believe having them live in a bubble just makes them more emotionally weak later on.

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  3. I think you are doing the right thing for you and your daughter- nobody else can judge that (or should judge that)! You're a good mom!

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  4. When I was a kid, we ate dinner in the living room while we watched the evening news. I would ask question, my parents would answer. I was never sheltered from evil. I truly appreciate that now, as I enter the world with some knowledge of how things work. You are not a bad mom!

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  5. My parents let my 11 year old brother watch Boston coverage too & I agree, it shapes them, but for the good.

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  6. I absolutely agree with you. We do a diservice to our children if we shield them completely from what is going on - if they don't experience it then how are they going to learn how to cope? I don't watch the news on the television, but we did listen to it on the radio on the way into school the next day - in fact I shushed her so I could get the details. After the report was over, I was a little teary eyed, and we talked about what happened and why it is important to know about these things.

    My DD is also 8, so I think we are standing in similar shoes on that point :-)

    Melanie
    <a href="http://www.myimperfect.com>My Imperfect...

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