Jackson went to Walmart with me Sunday afternoon while Jeremy stayed home with Anderson and per the usual now, asked to go to the bathroom before we left. Bearing in mind that I have a buggy full of paid-for groceries, walking to the family restroom at the back of the store doesn't seem like an option. I pushed the buggy up to the entrance of the restroom at the front of the store and motioned for Jackson to walk into the ladies side of the restroom. He looked at me and said, "Mom, I need to go to the bathroom, and I'm a boy. I'm supposed to go to the men's room."
What do I say to that?
In this day and age of child molestation and kids being hurt and killed by sex offenders and predators, there is not a snowballs chance that I'm letting my 6 year old child walk into a men's public bathroom without a trusted adult going with him. Heck, I don't even like him going to the bathroom at church without me. I know this probably sounds insane, maybe not, but I live in mortal fear of something bad happening to one of my boys, and me not being able to stop it.
I want to tell Jackson...
"Son, I know you are embarrassed about going into the ladies room, but you will NOT walk into a men's room when I don't know who could be lurking behind that door just waiting for an innocent child to walk in..."
"Jackson, I KNOW you are a big boy, but I also know about all the bad things in life, and I want to keep that from you...."
"Sweetie, I can't keep all the bad in life from you forever, but for right now, this very moment, I don't want to unknowingly send you down a path in life that can't be reversed, simply because you want to show me how big you are...."
"Jackson, I know this is not a fool-proof statement, but in this day and age, I simply trust women more than men..."
I recently pulled up the sex offender registry for our area, and within a 5 mile radius of our house there are 40 registered sex offenders, both compliant and non-compliant, all males of every shape, size and color. While many of them looked super creepy and skeevy, there were just as many that could have been anybody, anywhere. I browsed the pictures and many of their crimes until after a few minutes, I had to look away.
As a mom, I just couldn't do it anymore. I wish my boys had the chance to grow up in a time when I didn't have to fear strangers, because they might hurt my boys.
I wish my boys had the chance to grow up in a time where they could ride their bikes and play unsupervised without having to fear that they would never come back home.
I just wish my boys had the chance to be boys....
I don't want to raise my boys to be fearful of the world around them, but I want to raise them to be cautious, wise and strong.
I don't want to raise boys that blindly trust people, even church people, males or females, just because a person is in a position of leadership.
I don't want to raise boys that keep secrets, because sex offenders and predators thrive on secrecy.
I don't want to raise boys that don't trust their instincts.
I don't want to raise boys that don't think they can come to Jeremy or I with any problem that they have.
So for today I'll continue to be a helicopter parent in this regard, and take the role of a mean, overprotective mom. I won't apologize for trying to keep my boys safe, even to the dismay of a independent 6 year old boy who, one day, will probably be grateful for this mean mama.
I'm the Mom, and if someone has to be the bad guy, I would much rather it be me, than someone who doesn't have my child's best interests at heart.
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