gipsys musings

musings on writing and pop culture

Are There Any Latch-Key Kids in 2008?

While the Insane Mommy Brain? jumps to the forefront of my thoughts more often than not as Elizabeth gets older, I?m always a little freaked out by hearing that parents are getting shit from other parents because they?re allowing their kids to be independent.

Seriously, what in the hell is wrong with us? What happened to the old axiom that I heard far too many times as a kid of ?Let ?em learn on their own?? What kind of grown adults are our kids going to be if they can?t wipe their own asses and buy their own things?

In the interest of full disclosure, I drive Elizabeth to school and drop her off at the front doors, and she?s in the after school program simply because she?s 6. The bus isn?t an option because we?re in an odd location for the district we?re in, and there?s not enough grade school kids for them to send a bus out (Yes, I still live in Buckhead, and I?ve already argued this point to death with the bus people). Elizabeth pushed and prodded me to walk her into class for the first bit of the school year, but after a little time, we came to an agreement for me to just drop her off at the front doors of the school. After starting that, I noticed some of the parents who I would walk from the parking area to Elizabeth?s classroom giving me dirty looks as I let my child off at the front. It?s not like I?m making her walk to school, 3 miles away and crossing some of the busiest roads in Buckhead, I?m Dropping. Her. Off. At. The. School.

I don?t really think that Elizabeth?s old enough to be completely on her own at age 6, but I caught myself having a touch of Helicopter Parent when I got a little freaked at the idea of her playing outside in the yard by herself. When I was younger than her, I spent most of my days outside in the acre of garden and such in my back yard, my grandmother not caring unless I didn?t come when she called me. Yet, I had an issue with her being in the driveway by herself. Yes, we live in Atlanta, which is completely disparate from Gloucester Point, Virginia, but I kicked myself when I realized that I didn?t trust my kid enough to be able to make decisions on her own at all.

I don?t think I?ve done or will be doing a shitty job in raising and teaching Elizabeth how to survive in the world. I know she?s got a lot still to learn, and I?ve got a lot that I wish she didn?t have to ever learn, but I hope I have and can prepare her for both the good and the bad things out there. It killed me to realize that I didn?t trust my kid? does that mean that I don?t think I?ve taught her well or that I just don?t want her to grow up?

Maybe Suebob?s right? this is just another moment in the saga of the Mommy Wars, or in her words, Insecurity on Parade. I have enough insecurity in myself for a small country? and that?s one thing I know that I don?t want to hand off to my child.