Last week I was out until 9 PM, I went to the nail salon and did a little shopping. This is how my normal conversation with my mom went that evening:
6:00 PM I’m headed to a few stores and may get my nails done.
Ok, be careful. Let me know when you get home.
8:30 PM Are you home yet?
Not yet, I am headed there now.
Ok, text me when you get home.
9:00 PM I’m home
Ok, thanks for letting me know. I love you!
My Parents are Overprotective
I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m 28 years old, married with a one-year-old, and I live in a different state than my mom.
Some people may say that I have overprotective parents. Growing up, my brother and I heard that from our friends almost every weekend (and we also said it more times than I can count) when we would have to head home for our curfew. I would roll my eyes, stomp around and even pout sometimes that I couldn’t stay out as late as I wanted to.
We had to call or text when we arrived where we were going. It annoyed every fiber in my 17-year-old being. Didn’t they know I was about to graduate? I was about to be out on my own. There were more fights than I would like to admit over curfews and my parents being ‘overprotective’.
[Read Next: 18 Years: Our One Shot at Parenting]
Fast forward to now. I have seen so many of the horrible parts of this cruel world. I’ve read about more women being “taken” than I would like to admit. I’ve heard of more children being murdered in their backyards than I ever thought possible. I appreciate that my parents are what some would call overprotective, even now that I’m an adult. I understand more now that my dad’s biggest fear was someone taking one of his children and disappearing. I have seen how cruel the world can be, and I know that my parents were doing their best to keep us as safe as possible from that. I see how some men treat women, and I know why they were so careful to trust the boys I dated fully.
In reality, I know that they aren’t overprotective. They simply love and care for me and want to know that I’m safe and happy. Now that I’m a mom, I understand things I would never have understood at 17 or even two years ago before I was a parent. I never understood the worry and fear that most parents live with about things out of their control. I worry about my 1-year-old sticking his finger in the electrical outlet, but I know I will soon worry about things like him driving a car, selecting a college, or the crowd with whom he becomes friends.
[Read Next: College Decision: Why Your Teen Needs Your Help]
I respect and understand my parents more now than I did at 17. I feel the unconditional love of my parents when my mom wonders if I’m home yet or when my dad texts me at 6:30 am to tell me he loves me. It has taken me 28 years to understand why my parents are, in some people’s eyes, “overprotective.” I don’t see them as overprotective, I understand they are still my parents.
When your child leaves home, goes to college, or gets married, that doesn’t mean you aren’t their parent anymore or stop worrying. It brings a new set of worries, and I understand that now. My parents don’t pry into my marriage or tell me how to raise my son. They aren’t overbearing or nosy, they just want to know that I’m safe, healthy, and happy. I’m quickly learning that’s all any parent wants, no matter how old their children are.
Why This Mom Thinks Her Sweet Spot of Parenting Is Right Now
To The Moms of Young Children: These Days Will Disappear