I was secretly hoping no one would be at the park this afternoon. But the boys are thrilled there are other kids here. I sit far away but still within view of where the boys are playing. I don’t want to hover or nag them while they playing. Abel is at home napping while Joe works so I only have the older 3. They are all old enough to play on their own. I overhear the boys striking up a conversation with some of the other parents. But I’m not going to intervene, everyone seems fine and happy. I realize for the first time in 10 years of parenting that I don’t really care what others think of me but I do care how I make other people feel. And as a mother that same sentiment is extended with my children. I care how my children make other people feel. My boys are very social and are pretty good at making others feel awkward. It kind of drives me nuts and it’s one of the reasons I nag them to be less intrusive in public. But really they aren’t being intrusive, just inquisitive and friendly. All of my helicopter parenting is striving to make sure other adults aren’t uncomfortable. Meanwhile, I’m sort of crushing my own kids. I’m not taking into account how I’m making them feel. I so often see my kids as an extension of me, instead of the individual unique people they actually are. Now, I’m not going to let my kids be little brats but it’s OK if they strike up awkward conversations with people or say ridiculous stuff. If they are kind and caring I’m proud of my kids.
Jessica Lieb is responsible for B Honest Media's editorial direction and growth. She has covered parenting for over 13 years, focusing on travel, product reviews, and recommendations. She loves watching movies and traveling with her husband and four sons.