Follow Kveller

You are browsing the archive for overprotection.

Oct 1 2014

This Yom Kippur, I’m Becoming a New Kind of Overprotective Parent

By at 11:15 am


Every day that goes by, I wonder fervently if I am doing enough as a mother to protect my children from the world. This is tempered only by the worry that perhaps I am doing too much, and sheltering them in such a way that they will be unprepared as they slowly emerge into a life where Mama cannot provide justice.

Yom Kippur is most commonly translated as the “Day of Atonement.” This modern definition was derived from the Hebrew word, kofer, which refers to a “protective covering.” In the Torah, God said to Noah, “Make an ark out of gopher wood, and you shall coat it from within and from without with kofer—pitch–(a protective coating).” God knew that in order to withstand the harsh flood waters, Noah’s ark would need a protective covering to keep it and its precious inhabitants safe.

While I am protective of both my children, I will admit that my steel resolve turns to mush when it comes to my daughter. Besides being creative, adorable, and incredibly tenacious, she has special needs. Chava was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, on the autism spectrum, at age 6. We are blessed with small classrooms in our local Jewish day school, as well as a myriad of understanding teachers, administrators, and specialists. She receives help from a resource room teacher, occupational therapist, and speech therapist on a daily basis. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 23 2014

How My 10-Year-Old Walked Home in a Blizzard (And We All Survived)

By at 9:43 am

walking in blizzard in central park

Most weekday afternoons, I pick my 7-year-old daughter up from her school, while my 10-year-old son takes the cross-town city bus home from his. Usually, the 10-year-old is home before us, but there have been enough occasions where he’s a few minutes late that I don’t give it much thought.

As a rule, his commute home takes about 20 minutes. On Tuesday, as Winter Storm Janus dumped multiple inches of snow over New York City, my son wasn’t home 20 minutes after class let out. He wasn’t home 30 minutes later, either. I told myself the buses were probably delayed due to the weather.

Forty minutes after class let out (and about 20 minutes after he should have been home), my son called on his cell phone (no apps, no games, just emergency minutes) to say the buses were so packed, no one was letting him on. (He is skinny and well-mannered. Neither trait is particularly conducive to shoving your way onto an NYC bus.) Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 22 2014

Even as an Adult, My Parents Are Still Trying to Protect Me

By at 11:53 am

phone call on green background

Right now, my father is getting over pneumonia, my mother has bronchitis, and I am annoyed.

When I spoke with my mother on Saturday night, she first asked about my daughter and what we did during the day, and then I heard, “Oh, so Dad’s in the hospital.”

Me: “Um. Why?”

Mom: “Well, he has pneumonia and his oxygen level was low.”

Following that conversation, I conducted the “routine.” I have to share the news with my two older brothers as I am usually the first to hear any news in the family. I called each of them and heard the same response: “What is wrong with them that they can’t tell us what is going on?!” Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 19 2011

Fuel for Overprotective Parents or Just Random Tragedy?

By at 1:57 pm

Can we ever let our kids be independent when random, senseless violence like this happens in our world?

I honestly can’t stop thinking about Leiby Kletzky (z”l).* Specifically, I can’t stop thinking about what his mother must be feeling, holding on to the last moment that she saw him alive and wishing with all of her might that she could go back and tell him, “No Leiby, you can’t walk home by yourself…. Because I’m your mother and I said so.” Just weeks before his story, my mind was spinning at the loss of Joshua and Robin Barry (z”l) of Houston who died in a car accident while on a family vacation, leaving behind their three injured children. I can’t imagine those children waking up in the hospital, hurting and looking for the comforting arms of their parents, only to find out they were gone.

I know these are isolated incidences and I’m not sure if this stuff lingers with me because I’m prone to dwell on awful things (I had to stop watching Rescue 9-1-1 when I was 10because I slept under my parent’s bed in fear of burglars) or because I am a parent, and an overprotective one at that. Several of us here have aired our crazy dreams of slathering our child in hospital-grade hand sanitizer and locking them in a plastic bubble for, well, eternity. I don’t let my child eat nuts, run ahead of me at the zoo, or ride forward facing in the car seat but yesterday I looked away for five seconds to check my email and he climbed a heavy wooden bookcase. Not to mention, it took watching this BMW commercial to stop me from talking on the phone while I drive. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 21 2011

Stepping Out During Naptime – Would You Do It?

By at 12:08 pm

What would you do for garlic?

A good friend of mine–a nice Jewish Mama with two little ones ages 4 and 2–recently posted this on her Facebook page:

Just left the kids napping in the house to run and pick up something I needed to make dinner. Can I be arrested for that?

Maybe I’ve been spending too much time on the local Mama list-servs, but I sat back and waited for the fire storm to erupt. I anticipated a wave of accusations and judgments, but apparently my friend has nicer (or perhaps more restrained) friends than I do, because the worst she got was “I wouldn’t risk it, honestly.”

So, the question is, would you?

Let me give you some context. My friend lives in a condo in a fairly safe urban neighborhood. In order to get to the store, she had to go down three flights of stairs, and around the corner. Her GPS calculated that the store was about 350 feet away, and the whole trip took her about 5 minutes. Her children have a reliable nap schedule, and my friend was quite confident they wouldn’t wake up. (And, for the record, they didn’t.)

You’re probably wondering what was so important that my friend felt the need to ditch the kids. Garlic. Well, yes, it was garlic, but not just garlic. It was the entire dinner. She needed five cloves of garlic for the recipe, and there was nothing else in the house to make. They had already made plans to go out another night that week, and she didn’t want to eat out twice. I think we can all relate to how frustrating it is when you have a week’s worth of meals carefully planned out, and something goes awry.

(For the record, this is how you know I’m not talking about myself in the second person. This Mama doesn’t “cook” or “use recipes”.)

As it all turned out, the garlic she bought was rotten anyway, and she ended up using garlic powder. My friend told me that the bad cloves were the more frustrating part of the whole situation—she took this risk for nothing in the end. She also told me that she wouldn’t do it again unless it was something really important, and apparently garlic won’t make the cut next time.

My friend’s biggest concern about leaving her kids wasn’t that they would get out of their beds and get into trouble while she was gone; it was that they would freak out because she wasn’t there. Also, looking back, she was more concerned that something might have happened to her while she was out. That’s one reason she wouldn’t have gone to the pharmacy, which is slightly farther away and across a busy street.

I’m not sure where I come down. One the one hand, it’s tempting to say that I would never leave my sleeping kids for any reason. Yet before I had kids, I swore their nap schedule wouldn’t dictate my life. And that I wouldn’t be that Mom who owned four strollers. And that my chicken nuggets would never cross my children’s lips. Yet here I am, a stroller-toting, nugget-feeding, slave to naptime.

As I mentioned, I’m pretty mixed. The anxious part of me worries about what could have gone wrong, but I also trust my friend’s judgment—I think she’s a good mother, and that we’re probably not that different in how we think about child-rearing. It seems to me that our society has probably gotten a little too uptight about certain things, but on the other hand, I wonder if our kids aren’t safer now as a result.

I’m just not sure. Fortunately, I don’t think I’m going to face this problem any time soon, because I live in the ‘burbs. There’s not much within a five minute walk of my house. The closest I could go is my neighbor’s house… and if she had fresh brownies in the oven, I might have to seriously consider it.

Are you overprotective? Read this article to find out.


Recently on Mayim