I am an overprotective mom. I am sure this is not news to anyone, but I kind of feel like I take it to another level. Especially with the girls.
With the boys, in some ways, I was more lenient with them. They were boys. They grew up in the same neighboorhood that they started elementary school in. As long as they were together, I knew they were fine. And they were. It was after high school that some bad choices were made, but that is another blog.
The girls did not go to the same elementary school as the boys, even though we lived in the same neighboorhood. Because of Gracie’s delays, she had to go to a different school that offered the program she needed. When Sofia came along, we had to keep her in the same school as Gracie. Just simple logistics and all. The girls never really grew up with friends in the neighborhood, because they did not go to school with any of the neighboorhood kids. And, listening to the stories my then middle school and high school boys told me, I was okay with them not hanging out in our neighborhood.
I do not know if times have changed or in the day and age of social media do we just hear about more? I have a fear. An honest to God paralyzing fear that someone will violate my girls in the worst way possible, and this fear, coupled with their elementary school years has turned me into an overprotective mom.
My boys would spend the night out at their friend’s house. Of course, I would make contact with parents, make sure everything was on the up and up. Back then the sleepovers would consist of staying up all night and playing Mortal Combat. And, I know this is wrong, but they were boys. They had a little bit of “street smarts” to them, common sense. I could not imagine allowing my daughters to spend the night at someone’s house (assuming they were ever asked!) I read too many horror stories online. “Jessica spent the night at Melissa’s house. It was during the night that Melissa’s stepfather groped Jessica.” You know what I am talking about, we read about it all the time. Hell No! I cannot risk that. I will not risk that. In my mind, I rather be considered an overprotective mom than risking anything with the girls. Is this a normal thought process?? Serious question.
So, I am overprotective. Also, and I know this, but I tend to maybe do too much for the girls. “Do you want me to cut your steak?” “Bring me your clothes and I will wash them.” You guys, my boys were washing their own laundry at 9 years old, and they were good at it! I prided myself on how I taught them at a young age to wash their own clothes while knowing one day their future wife will thank me.
Why is it different for me with the girls?!
Today, I took the girls with me to the grocery store. Something that I do not do often because I worry about sex traffickers. Just due to our schedules, they went with me. We bought a lot. Two carts worth of groceries. I told them “Okay I can push one cart but someone needs to push the other.” They look at each other with a mixture of fear and confusion. “You guys, it will be fine, just follow me.”
Gracie~ “Not it!”
Sofia~ “Fine Gracie, I will do it. Geez!”
So off we go through the way too busy parking lot. No issues, we made it to the car in one piece and loaded it up. We emptied one cart first and I told Sofia “Take this to the cart return, it’s right there in front of us.” She took it, kind of giving me the side eye, which is her nervous look. We then unloaded the second cart, and I told Gracie “Okay your turn, take this to the cart return.”
Gracie~ “What’s the cart return?”
Me~ “The thing where you return carts.”
Gracie~ “How did I do it?”
Me~ “The same way Sofia did it.”
It was at this point where I sensed her nervousness. It threw me off. In that moment of seconds, I realized that not only am I holding her back, but she really does need to become more independent, right? I stopped loading the groceries and gave her my full attention.
Me~ “Gracie, you will be fine. First, you turn the cart around so you can push it. Then you just push it straight ahead into the cart return thing. You make sure to push it in with the other carts. Then you look both ways before coming back to the car.
With autism kids, you have to break everything down step by step. In fact, if you are not familiar with autism, please let this be the takeaway from this post. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting someone with autism. Everything and I mean everything has to be broken down in steps.
So…Gracie takes the cart. Then she kinda freaks out because she cannot get the cart completely lined up with the other carts. I tell her “It’s okay, you did good come on back.” And then she runs back without checking both ways.
Now….I do not know where my thought process is. Have I sheltered them that much that returning a simple cart to the stall freaks them out? Or, is Gracie’s reaction typical of those with autism? Did I not give her the proper step by step instructions? Is my fear of something bad happening to the girls hindering them? If so, how do I fix that?
I am at a loss here. Am I overthinking? Is this all normal? Am I the only crazy parent out there who has this paralyzing fear? Anyone????