Bubble Wrapped

1:02 AM Elizabeth Seckman 34 Comments

My babies. Wonderful in spite of my mess ups. 
Last week, my niece shared this blog post, Excuse Me While I Lather My Child in this Toxic Death Cream, by Sarah Kallies on Facebook. It's a tongue and cheek piece about a serious issue- debilitating parental worries (or how the world drives you freaking insane with rules and warnings).

I got a good grin out of the post.

It was so true. Parents can break down with worry.

My first son was my trial child. Poor guy. I was petrified to take him out of the house. Every time I took him out, there was a constant barrage of strangers ready to say hi to him. I was aware from watching news reports that most people don't wash their hands properly after using the bathroom, hence they were all probably hepatitis infected.

Or so I convinced myself.

So, he was six weeks old (evidently the magical age of immunity) before I took him on an outing to somewhere as loathsome and dirty as a mall. By this time, it was the end of May. A day where the thermometer reached low eighties, with a slight breeze...a breeze that could give an improperly dressed infant pneumonia. So, I put him in a snowsuit.

Later that day, I noticed he was covered in a red rash. I rushed him to his doctor- the whole time feeling immense guilt for bringing my sweet child out into a world filled with microbes and diseases. My doctor told me to take the damn snow suit off the baby- I was giving him prickle-heat rash.

I felt like a horrible mother.

I was reading all the books. I was addicted to Dateline and every news story that involved killer nannies or freak things that may cause a child harm.

Basically...I was trapped in the sunscreen conundrum. Apply too much or the wrong kind and you'll give your kid weakened bones or cancer. Don't apply, you get horrid burns and cancer.
From Deep Friar blog.For more laughs, click here!

The problem is, we live in a world that bombards us with a plethora of information and opinions.

It can make a worried brain melt down to a puddle that leaks out through the tear ducts.

I know. I've been there. Done that. Still got the tear stains on my tee-shirt.

Then one day, I had a thought: what was worse for my kids- the occasional parenting screw up, or the constant vigil of perfection? 

Was I, with my constant worry, going to create more problems than I would by chilling and allowing them to eat a few toxic chicken nuggets?

It was then I decided: My kids. My rules.

I did things that would make squeaky wheels scream.

I let them drink Mt. Dew.

I fed them at McDonalds.

I let them play video games. Even the violent ones.

I let them listen to Eminem and 50 Cent.

I let them pull movie all-nighters and never set a summer bedtime.

But I loved them.  I taught them to trust in God.  I listened to the advice that suited me. I ignored the stuff that didn't. And best of all...I stopped sharing my life with overly-opinionated people.

You see, I once had a woman give me a condescendingly high-arched brow and a lecture on the evils of salt when I added the poison to my kid's popcorn.

Yeah, yeah...salt is bad, but I explained to her the risk/ reward ratio of the situation...popcorn is so much better with salt, therefore worth the risk.

She wrote me off with an eye roll and never tried to help me again.

Thank God.

So, as I read Sarah's post, I thought- poor woman. I should send her a note and tell her-

It's obvious you love your babies. Tell the world to go to hell and raise them the way you want. You know better than anyone else what your children need or don't need. Trust yourself. Take a deep breath and relax. Enjoy these years. They go by in a flash. I'm pretty much at the finish line of child raising. I did it my way and I made mistakes. But I have great kids. And in the end, that's all that matters. 



Thanks to our hosts LexaL.G, and Tonja Drecker for this weekly good things check in! 

Took Carter (Boy #3) to WVU for his new student orientation. He got enrolled in his classes- a schedule that consists of chemistry, biology, and calculus on top of his Honors classes. It's good to know my kids were blessed with bigger brains than their parents.

Conner (Boy #4) is learning to drive. I've been making him accompany me on all my running around town. It's so nice to have a personal driver!

The beach countdown has begun! Thirteen days until saltwater therapy time. I am usually able to get writing time in on vacation, so double yay!




34 comments:

  1. What a super post, Elizabeth!! I'm sure it'll help a load of mothers out there who have fallen into the trap of too much listening/reading. I pretty much did the same as you with my daughter - and she turned out great. I can't believe she'll be 25 this October. Like Carter, she too grew up with an amazing scientific brain (that was purely God given - so not inherited) and is now doing a PhD in Chemistry.

    I hope you have a great time by the sea and get lots of writing done. Thanks for sharing your wisdom :)

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    1. And once you start worrying, it never stops. And no matter what you choose to do, someone will have beef with it.

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  2. Well done Elizabeth on an excellent post, I too learned from scratch with my first child , by the time I had my third all went smoothly.
    Have a great week-end.
    Yvonne.

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    1. I think that is why the younger children are more laid back than the oldest child. We sort of make them a little uptight with our worry.

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  3. And your youngest can drive you to the beach!
    As kids, we ate cookie dough with raw eggs and rode our bikes all over town with no cell phones. We played Lawn Darts. We made it through. Glad you realized your kids would be all right no matter what.

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    1. I know, right? I'm glad I got to grow up in a time when we were still a bit naive- although, there was all the worry about the satanic messages in our rock music.

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  4. That is sure a great way to do it indeed. Damn all those dumb books and talk shows, do what works for them and that is that.

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    1. I had to stop watching Dateline and shows like. They were making me insane.

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  5. Brilliant post. The whole MMR thing erupted just after I had #1 son, and I went ahead and vaccinated him anyway. The rest of my decisions were pretty easy after that.

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    1. That was quite a debate, but my mother convinced me pretty quickly. She grew up in the pre-vaccination era and she remembers all too well when childhood diseases caused deaths so often it was sadly common.

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  6. Ha, ha, I did that too, overprotective with the first, we were constantly at the pediatricians office. The second one came along and I calmed down. Then we entered him in kindergarten, and I decided to go back to work full time. The teacher noticed he wasn't answering her in class. His ear was full of liquid and he was partially deaf. The odd thing was he had no pain signifying an infection. Antibiotics fixed it but, OMG I felt sooooo bad.I don't think I've gotten over that guilt to this day!
    But you are so right about the information out there! It's mind boggling and much, much worse than when we were young mothers. I do feel for them!

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    1. I did the same thing with the ears! My son's were so full of fluid the doctor was shocked they didn't hurt. They must be tough kids! He had to have his tonsils and adenoids removed to take care of the problem. I guess they were so large, they weren't allowing the ears to drain and were causing horrible snoring and sleep apnea.

      My escape from obsessing over one kid was to have so many of them I didn't have time to think, much less worry.

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  7. It's rather frightening the do's and don'ts you hear over the years. First it was margarine's safer than butter, then the opposite. Don't eat sugar, use sweetener. But it'll give you cancer. I almost never put Demon Salt on anything. My first summer in Egypt, I was drinking a lot, not salting anything till I started fainting. I ended up with anemia. Know what the dr said? Put salt on EVERYTHING. I have ever since yet I still sometimes get dangerously dehydrated here. So you're right: take all advice with a grain -- or bucketful -- of SALT! LOL!

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    1. I hear ya! Remember when eggs were public enemy #1? I think the worry will kill us faster than anything.

      I never knew salt was connected with anemia. I have a natural tendency toward low blood pressure and anemia. That must be why salt doesn't bug me. Now, if I had high blood pressure, I might lay off the salt.

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  8. I can so relate to this. My firstborn was a preemie. She was so tiny I was scared she'd break when I picked her up. It was hard not to be overprotective. And the conflicting advice from people and books can drive you nuts. By baby number two, I figured things out and did them my way. As you said, my kids, my rules.

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    1. I'd have gone gray with worry. I was immensely blessed to have all mine full term. My kids biggest problems were roasting too long and having to be forced out with induced labors- which of course gave me guilt. Boy#3, I refused the induction and he went a full two weeks late, still had to be induced and was my 11 pounder. Boy#4 was induced on his due date.

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  9. All the advice out there would cripple the way we lived. It's impossible to follow it all without having our comfort and tastes compromised.

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    1. I wonder if the constant barrage of advice and chastisement isn't crippling some. How many people have anxieties that almost ruin their enjoyment of every day life?

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  10. One of my favorite things as a kid was when my dad would go somewhere in his truck and he'd let me ride in the bed. Good times.

    The hilarious thing about the world is that everything can kill you. Salt can kill you. Mountain Dew can kill you. McDonald's can kill you. If you go overboard. Cutting it out of your life completely is just going overboard in a different direction.

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    1. True story- when my son was little and the Youth League Baseball teams had their little parade through town to kick off the season, a mom asked me if I thought it was a good idea to let them ride in the backs of the trucks. We are giving ourselves ulcers!

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  11. This is SO true. People seem SO quick to tell everyone else how to raise your children. And we have gotten so ridiculously paranoid. I've been thinking a lot about this...someone told me that she was told by one of those nutritionists that she and her mom have a gene where if they eat gluten, they may not be able to have kids. I mean, it's just gotten RIDICULOUS!!!

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    1. I won't lie- I don't get the gluten thing. I suppose if you have an allergy. But how are that many people suddenly allergic? I agree, we are becoming so paranoid. And bossy. Maybe the real problem is too many people are trying to find control in a world they feel is out of control.

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  12. The first one is always a bit tenser than the ones that follow, but it seems you did a great job with all of those guys.

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  13. Oh, ab-so-doggone-lutely! Unfortunately, babies don't come with built-in instruction manuals, so new parents sometimes risk being inundated with all kinds of "helpful" contradictory advice about what to do and what not to do. Thankfully, most of us figure it out on our own. You sure did!

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  14. Agreed! All true! We all learn from scratch!

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  15. Congratulations to your sons, and enjoy the upcoming beach trip.

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  16. Great post! What works for one person/family doesn't always work for another, and that's a good thing to always keep in mind:)

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  17. I love this!!! And quite honestly, people need to stop judging child raising unless it's like CPS worthy. If your family is happy, which they always look it, then sing Let It Go!! Hahahah

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  18. Hi Elizabeth,

    Superb post! Despite the trials and tribulations, all turned out well. I think it's somewhat of a natural tendency to be overprotective of our children, particularly the first one. I still find myself constantly worrying about my son. They are, no matter the age, our babies.

    I'm sure you'll have a beach of a time. Your babies, one of them seems to be wearing a very large hat in the photo! LOL

    Gary :)

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  19. And that's why you're epic. I hear you about other people and their opinions. Believe me, I hear all about them over home schooling. Some very opinionated in laws taught me early on to ignore what other people say and go with my gut. A lesson we all need to learn, eh?

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  20. I hear you. It can be hard to let go of the worries. My kids were underweight babies and toddlers, so I never restricted them when it came to "less-than-healthy" fare. However, now that they sit around all day staring at their electronic devices, well, it might be time to stock up on more fruits and veggies. This goes for me double, since I sit around typing on my device all day. ;)

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  21. Awesome post, and a handsome family. As a first time Mom, I'm struggling not to drive myself crazy over the endless of lists of things that I should and shouldn't do. My mom pointed out not to long ago that Moms today have it much rougher than in her day, because we have access to so much information. I thought about it, and realized that she and my Dad didn't obsess over these things. They fed us junk food sometimes, let us run around outside, sometimes without any sunscreen at all *gasp.* We stayed up late, because my parents both worked late and wanted to spend time with us. They slept in on weekends and taught us how to make a bowl of cereal, and entertain ourselves until 9 AM. My brothers and I survived, and now we're happy, healthy adults. Yes, there are things I plan to do differently, because that's how I want to do them. I refuse to let scaremongering articles dictate my parenting practices.

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  22. I don't know parents do it. Raising kids seems like an awful lot of choices to make constantly. I guess you have to do the best with what you have and hope that everything works out well. It sounds like your boys are super kids!

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  23. As a fellow parent, I totally get this and I've been there too. It's tough and scary, and I also try to ignore all those articles that tell me how horrible of a parent I am. Your kids turned out awesome. Hopefully mine will too. :)

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