The importance of being “weird”

I swore I wasn’t gonna be one of those weird moms – the ones that didn’t let their kids watch certain shows or confine them to the house or separate them from the world by their entertainment or lack of. But that was a resolution I made when I was childless, when I didn’t understand the dangers of giving them free reign, when I didn’t realize the so called “weird moms” were simply doing their job.. And those that weren’t were giving in.

My children often hear the line, “It’s more important to me that I protect you than that you like me.” When they want to post videos on YouTube for public view, or have a Facebook like their friends even though they are under age, or they want to spend the day with a friend and her teenage brother, they don’t understand. They think I’m being mean, but I am protecting them from what could be, what might be, if I weren’t so weird.

I’ve heard the line, “You’re just projecting.” So what if I am? So what if my past pain and regret have made me wiser and more aware of things that other parents might not notice or see as a danger? I vowed that my pain would have purpose, and this is part of that purpose – to save my kids from many of my seemingly innocent pitfalls, to warn them so that they might abscond from wearing my scars. I realize I can’t protect them from everything, but so what if I’m projecting.. If in the end it protects them?

I don’t go crazy with it. There are certain things that I allow them to do and watch that other Christian parents would probably disagree with, but I discuss issues that those same parents probably won’t address either. Like sexuality, sexting, and pornography. I refuse to sweep that under a rug labeled, “mature content.” I will never forget the first time I had a dream about my best friend and dreamed I had kissed her. I asked my mom about it, what it meant, why I had imagined such a thing? My mom simply said, “You love your friend, right?” I admitted I did. “You spend a lot of time with her?” I did. “Well, our brain tries to process our emotions, and dreams are one place we do that. It doesn’t make you a lesbian, it means you love your friend, and your mind can misplay that affection.” Now, some of you are probably rolling your eyes, but I was 11 and that made sense and in the future when I had bizarre dreams, I remembered what she said. I still do. I want to be the one to inform my kids, because they are gonna find out about it, if not from me then from their misguided friends.

In a world saturated with sex and self image, I’m careful about what my kids watch. We don’t watch much TV. We don’t let them watch “Biggest Loser.” That probably seems strange but in a world obsessed with appearance and the fear of obesity (because according to a recent study teenagers are more scared of that than nuclear war or the death of a loved one!), even shows like that plant seeds of dissatisfaction. Don’t believe me? After a few weeks of watching the show, my daughter, then 9, started doing laps around the house and wouldn’t stop until she had burned so many calories. She still makes comments about her body compared to others. It breaks my heart. But how can I blame her when I find myself fighting the same thoughts?!

She doesn’t like it that she’s one of the only girls in her class that hasn’t read and watched all of the Twilight series, but really, she isn’t missing much more than pent up sexual aggression and nightmares of golden-eyed vampires. (By the way, I’m was Team Jacob, before he imprinted a baby.. What was that about?!) I shudder when I pass rows and rows of young adult fiction that feast on young minds to glorify the occult. Granted I’m writing a series about Angels and Demons that others might determine “inappropriate,” but if your gonna highlight a battle between good and evil, might as well use the Truth that sets us free.

I haven’t let my oldest read my books, either. This gets under her skin, “You’re my mom! You wrote them for me, didn’t you? Let me read them.” And she is right. I did write them for her, but when the time is right. Now is not the time, I’m the parent and the author, I will determine when. Besides its a little bit of cowardliness on my part, because their is the underlying fear that 1. She won’t finish it, and 2. she won’t like it. I just don’t think I can handle that truth just yet.

So I’m weird. But in a good way, not in a smother your kids, hide them from the world, and watch every one else burn kinda way.. But in the way that says, “I love you enough to tell you no, and I’ll put on my big girl panties and not cry when you tell me you hate me.” In fact, I’m weird enough to encourage other parents to be weird.. Because no one else is protecting our children, and God called us to lead them.. That includes taking care of their minds. God’s word says “it is better for a millstone (that’s a threshing stone about the size of a tire wheel) to be tied around your neck than to lead any of these little ones astray.” Wow. I’m not particularly fond of drowning… But, Maybe I’m just weird.



Tales from a rebellious mother…

Last week was a week of milestones, and I find myself freaking out just a little bit. My baby turned 8. Of course, today at the orthodontist when he asked her what birthday number she celebrated she said with absolute believability, “Twenty.” He laughed and my mouth fell, because honestly, as fast as the last 8 years have gone, the next 12 will fly by and before I know it, she WILL be twenty. Sigh.

Add to that realization that I recently (brace yourself) bought my oldest a bra. She will be 10 in two weeks. That was the next sock in the gut of motherhood after the startling revelation that buying shoes for her now is easy – if they fit me, they will fit her. All I could think as I she tried on the bra was, “Holy cow! If she’s anything like me in another year she’ll be stuffing it!” Sigh.

I spoke at a women’s conference this weekend, and there was the sweetest young man there with such a heart of goodness and love that I thought, “He’s a Toby.” (If you’ve read my book you know exactly how highly a paid compliment that is!) I pondered, “I’d like Maddie to date someone like that…” When I realized, if she waited until she was in college and thirty (as her dad has commanded), she actually could date him! Later, I was commenting on the boys facebook page, thanking him for his heart and his service, and Maddie said, “He is cute.” Not thinking it through I said, “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind you dating him.” She asks, “How old is he?” I said, “Sixteen, I think.” At which point Lily said, “Well, what qualifies (yes she totally said that word) her to date him?” I said, “Well, he loves Jesus.” Without a pause she retorted, “Well, I love Jesus! I could date him!” Oh wow. So not ready for all of this, even if I did inadvertently start it.

I’m not sure when the development (no pun intended) of the “Tween scene” began – perhaps a marketing gimmick for Disney? – but it still in my opinion pushes these kids too quickly to teenagedoom…I mean, teenagedom. I’m not ready for that. They aren’t ready for that. There are games to play, dolls to name, and fantasies to live out long before they think they are “too cool.” I wanna hold onto my little girls as long as I possibly can. I want them to look sideways at boys like they have cooties and can’t be touched. I want them to lose themselves in their imaginations playing dolls and Barbies. I want them to run and play and jump outside without wondering what others will think. I want them to watch Veggie Tales and laugh at their daddy’s chest hair. I want them to stay young and innocent and unmarred!

This afternoon in an act of defiance and renouncing the progress of time, like a spoiled and pouting Peter Pan, I ripped off my bra, encouraged Maddie to do the same, and grabbed my favorite Barbie and played. Boys and bras can wait. Barbie and Ken forever. 🙂