Watching paranoid parents interact at the pool is one of those situations that makes me want to move to South America, or Africa, or anywhere but here.
American parents in the 2010’s are about as hyper-vigilant as any race of people or aliens has ever been, ever. You know this. We read it every week in the news.
I love my free-range parenting style and I’m proud of it. Even so, sometimes around parents I don’t know very well, I’ll find myself saying, “Son, what do you say to Bobby for accidentally hitting him in the toe?” And as soon as the words come out I want to beat myself with a mallet. My son is 6. He knows what to do in most social situations he encounters. Still, I can’t keep my mouth shut with the trite advice.
It makes me crazy that I feel the need to over-parent my kids in front of strangers. Look! What a good parent I am! Look at me! All the while sending my kids some mixed messages about their independence and further convincing them that mommy is a nut job.
Parenting takes away one’s self-confidence like hosting a radio talk show takes away one’s intelligence. It’s so HARD! (yes, I’m whining) It’s so hard to be a parent around other people. Judgment around a swimming pool in suburbia feels thicker than jello pudding.