Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Am Mommy, Hear Me Roar!

Cheesy title, huh? But what parent hasn't felt that sentiment? What wouldn't we do to protect our children?

During my recent Green Book Club meeting, the issue of over-parenting came up. I have recognized that tendency in myself but, according to another club member, the current generation of parents - my generation - has been termed "umbrella parents" or "helicopter parents" because we hover over our children so. We do not allow them to make the slightest mistake because we want to save them the pain. We oversee their friends, their every activity, their classroom time and their "down time". We protect them more than any other generation in history.

Who can blame us? Even though we don't often act on it, what parent has not thought or felt the following: My kid gets bullied at school, I decide to have class wide meeting to discuss. You, as a teacher, hurt my child's feelings? I will take you down. The coach won't play my son during soccer? We'll see about that! I will protect my children at all costs from all things . . . unless it requires me to drive less, to stop my weekly shopping trips to Target, to wear last year's fashions, or to skip the Thai take out and its Styrofoam and plastic tubs. That would simply be too much.

Sharon at Casaubon's Book recently made the case for parents to bear the brunt of battling climate change, Peak Oil, and depletion so that we can give our children a world they can inhabit. How can we, the umbrella parents, reconcile over-protecting our children on one hand and handing them a world, broken and heaving, on the other? Why is that so much harder than ensuring that our child has a good teacher at a good school and plays with nice kids? How can we not motivate ourselves to cut back on plastic after learning about the Texas- sized garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific? How can we not cut back on driving when we realize that the Arctic will be ice free likely within the next decade? Is this the world we want to leave to our little ones? The stakes are so much higher than hurt feelings or a skinned knee.

As parents, we have so much power. Our numbers are huge, our motivation even bigger. We can elect the next president, we can force our politicians to do a better job, we can lead by example, we are a market force to make corporations shake. We just need to stand up and speak out.

Will we leave our children a crippled, diseased planet? Not if we can help it. We are mommies, hear us roar!


Burbanmom said...

I laughed my arse off when I saw your title! Great post, though. You're right, what good is it to protect them from the school bully if we're not going to protect them from our own foolishness?


Raw Food Diva said...

To even recognize this problem I give credit. My oldest kid is 31 my youngest is 17. Even way back when ,30 years ago I noticed a trend to micro manage the kids. I never did this with my kids. I was never one to have every moment on some schedual, karate lessons or math lesson or whatever. I really thought kids needed so much more down time than these ":modern:" parents were giving them. I let my kids have tons of time to just good off, ride thier bikes or dream. We did not have TV so had they had to be creative.

Shannon Hodgins said...

Most excellent post. I wish everybody was thinking the way you think! Shannon

CindyW said...

I was walking my dog in the neighborhood one day when I saw a father stepped out of a Hummer first, followed by his two young daughters. I am fully aware that Hummers get a lot of bad rap for symbolizing over-sized unnecessary consumption, compared to other equally over-sized unnecessary consumption, but in this case I could not help myself from thinking, "don't you know that you are taking away a bit of your daughters' future?"

I am not sure why over-protecting parents are not necessary the ones that jump with both feet in the climate change fight. Perhaps global warming is still a very abstract concept to most people, parents or not? Most parents are not able to visualize the negative impact to their offsprings, while going to a good school has tested and commonly acknowledged positive effect. Perhaps we can attribute that to the weakness of us human beings in general. Being parents does not make us any wiser in many aspects? It's a great question on human nature.

Raw Vegan Mama said...

Roaring over here! Great post! I really enjoyed it. :)



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