I worry sometimes that my children might think that I am a bit paranoid (if they even know what that means). I admit that I wonder if they would be right. Being the mother of 3 little children (the fourth will be here in less than 2 weeks), I worry about them often, if not always. I restrict them from doing things that other children do because I worry about their safety. I wonder if I am the over-protective mommy, or if the other mommies are not protective enough.
I recently let my children start walking to school by themselves, they have been walking home since the beginning of the year. It is less than 1/4 mile away. I warned them incessantly of the dangers of not walking together. I drilled into their noggins that safety is in numbers. I told them that if someone stopped in a car to talk to them, don't get close to the car, always stay on the sidewalk, act like you don't hear him/her, and run the rest of the way to school. From everything I know about this city, it is a safe place to live and raise children. I just never know when that could change.
A couple weeks ago, when I was walking out of work for the day, I got a phone call that I realized was from my children's school. I answered it, expecting it to be one of the computer generated messages, so I just clicked the on button and waited. I didn't hear anything, so I said hello. It was my daughter. She was telling me that her and my son were waiting for one of their friends after school. He got tired of waiting and went across the street, and then he disappeared. She wanted her aunt's phone number to call and see if he was home. Well, I worked about 1/2 hour away. I gave her the phone number and told her to have her aunt call as soon as they hung up and let me know what was going on. I got a call within a couple minutes stating that my son had walked home by himself, he was tired of waiting. So, again that evening, we went over all the rules. They have done a fine job of walking to school together, there have been a few more instances of my daughter being left behind on the way home. Thankfully, it hasn't happened in a while, and hopefully it won't happen again.
We live in a large apartment complex. There is always a car coming or leaving it seems. We have an apartment that faces a courtyard. The children are permitted to play in the courtyard with their friends. They are not permitted to play out front next to the parking lot. I just feel that it would make it way too convenient for someone to grab them and put them in their car. We watched a Dateline NBC show a few months ago about a 19 year-old BYU student that had gone home to Oregon and was helping out in an apartment complex that was grabbed in broad daylight from the parking lot where she was cleaning. This rule has caused many complaints among the two older children. They don't think it is fair that their friends can play out front, but they can't. When I catch them out front, they get to come in for the rest of the day. They don't like that either. It has happened a few times...
So, these are just a couple of the rules I have. I never wanted to be labeled an over-protective mommy, but I suppose that if this makes me one, I will live with the label. It would be nice to have a guarantee that every child would be safe in their surroundings, but it is just not something that anyone can guarantee. Children are so precious and so innocent. They seem to inherently trust anyone. I am so blessed with the children that I have and am so thankful for the opportunity to be their mommy.