It's challenging being a parent. Everyday we are put to the test. Sometimes we fail, sometimes we soar. I believe that the decisions we make, for the most part, are the right ones. For our children and for ourselves.
I like to think that I'm a good mom to my boys. They are my entire life, after all. I love them with every single cell in my body. And there is nothing I wouldn't do for them.
My job as my children's mother is to protect them, love them, teach them, support them, push them in the right direction, and comfort them, while sometimes taking them out of their comfort zone.
My oldest child is shy in new surroundings. Once he gets comfortable, he does okay, but it can sometimes take a while. He is my sensitive child, my thinker, my learner. I believe he suffers from some social anxiety in certain situations.
Sometimes, I have to help push him out of his comfort zone, even if he resists—for instance, when we signed him up for swimming lessons over a year ago, it was non-negotiable—he was going to go. After a few minutes of crying in the water, he started enjoyed himself. It was hard seeing him sad at first, but the benefits of him learning to swim far outweighed me just giving in and taking him home over a few tears.
When he was recently invited to a birthday party that took place somewhere public (not in a home) my son begged me to stay with him.
"Please don't go, mommy, stay with me!" he cried to me, his cheeks scarlet red. He was clinging tightly to my arm.
I could tell right away that things weren't going to get easier for him after just a few minutes. It wasn't the birthday party of a close friend, so I decided I would stay with my son. There were about 8 children at the party, and I was the only other parent there. It didn't even cross my mind that it was weird that I stayed. The parents of the birthday child were friendly, and we had a nice time.
Well. Overheard outside my son's school this week:
Mom 1: "You mean she stayed the entire time?"
Mom 2: "Yes! He wouldn't let her leave!"
Luckily it wasn't me who overheard that conversation, otherwise, I would have said a few things I might later have regretted. My mom actually heard that conversation, and basically said, "Yes, my grandson is shy. He wanted his mother to stay."
Mom 2: "Oh, yeah, we were just talking about the fact that he's shy."
Are you kidding me? Is it that weird that I stayed at a birthday party with my son who is only 5 years old? Somewhere public? I honestly do not think so. I remember parents always stayed at my parties when I was younger.
First of all, it's a big help, having another adult present. I can take my son to the bathroom, I can re-fill his cup of juice, I can help clean up. A room full of rambunctious 5 year olds can be very distracting. Of course I'm going to stay to make sure my child is okay.
If he was celebrating his best friend's or cousin's birthday, I'd leave, no problem, if he wanted me to. But right now? If my son needs me to comfort him, to help him? I'm not leaving his side. I'll stay by his side for as long as he needs me to. I'm his mother, and it's my job. And I love it.
What about you? What are your thoughts about this? Do you leave your child no matter what, or stay? Is there a certain age where you think your children should be left alone at a party, no matter what? I'd love to hear from you!