I am pondering a comment that M made to me today. First, some background. The girls' bus stop is at the end of our street. It's not a far walk, but it is a walk. I can see the corner from our house if I look out an upstairs window. All through elementary school, we (either B or me or both, depending on our schedules) walked the girls down to the bus stop each morning and met them there each afternoon. If it was raining or cold, we drove them down. We waited with them until the bus picked them up each day.
Starting in middle school, we still went with them in the mornings (usually I was meeting my neighbor to go walking after they got on the bus), but we let them walk home by themselves in the afternoon. I still pick them up if the weather is bad. In 7th grade they started going up to the bus stop themselves, but I watch from the window. So far for 8th grade, they are going on their own and I still watch from the window. But if I am going out at the same time the bus comes, say to yoga or the gym, I drive up at the bus stop with them.
I have to know that they get on the bus safely. It's just a thing with me. I just can't rest easy unless I know they're on their way. Sometimes the bus schedule is erratic. On more than one occasion the bus has been late, or not come at all, and I've had to drive the kids to school.
For another thing, our neighborhood is swarming with contractors every morning. It seems every other house has a landscaper, painter, carpenter, tiler, exterminator, roofer or other worker at their house during any given day. That's a lot of strangers in and out of the neighborhood. It makes me a little nervous sometimes. So I just like to have a visual that the kids get on the bus.
There is only one other kid at our bus stop. Since 3rd grade, she has always come to the bus stop alone. Her parents leaves for work before the bus comes. If it's raining or cold, she stands in the rain or cold unless we invite her to sit in the car with us. And yes, I have driven her to school with the girls when the bus never arrived.
Well, M mentioned that this girl, said, "My mom said that the reason your mother is so overprotective is because you are her only kids."
?????? I'm so overprotective? Because I make sure they get off to school in the morning? This mother doesn't know anything about me except that I occasionally wait with the kids at the bus stop! The girls have never socialized with this particular girl because, well frankly, they don't like her. Back in 3rd grade, she and M had some conflict - she actually hit M during a kickball game in PE. And her lack of self control is still evident in 8th grade. The first week of school, she took a writing assignment out of another boy's notebook on the bus and proceeded to tease him about it and then rip it to shreds.
I'm going to be stewing about this all day. I don't know why I'm letting it bother me. I know that I'm not overprotective. We give the girls plenty of age-appropriate freedom. But we do insist that we know where they are (generally the swim club or a friend's house) and that they have a cell phone with them.
I feel like this mother is in judgement of me somehow. It's that old working mom vs. stay-at-home mom defensiveness. That somehow she is saying "She has nothing better to do than be neurotic about her kids" because I start my mornings by getting them off to school even though they're 13. That she is critcizing my parenting in some way.
Okay :::::::inhale:::::::exhale:::::::: I have better things to do than worry about this. Like pick up L during her lunch bell and take her to get a smoothie because her jaw is aching from her orthodontic work and she can't chew. And call the school district office and order a copy of their English text book so they don't have to cart that mammoth hardback book back and forth to school. And work on the PTA newsletter.