At 30 years old, I consider myself to be a young mom. I have entered into a different maturity stage in my life especially now that I have a child. I still consider myself to be up-to-date on the latest fads/trends (many of which I actually do not take part). Sometimes though, the latest acronyms that the “young hip” moms or
Hollywood moms are using escape me.
I am now a single parent and it can be really hard at times. Just last week, I had to drop my son off for time with his dad. His father had two friends over sitting on the couch when we arrived. His father mentioned wanting to take him out sledding (mind you it was 5pm and 12 degrees outside). I told him I’d prefer that our son not go outside in the cold but if he chose to do that to ensure that our son had on all his winter gear.
As I dropped my son off, I went through my usual goodbye routine with him. Now anyone who knows me knows I am absolutely in LOVE with my son and I understand he will not be little and innocent like he is forever. So yes, I hug him, kiss him, and tell him I love him ALL THE TIME (seriously we all love our children). As I said goodbye to my little angel and put on my coat to leave, one of the couch potatoes piped up, a young mom in her early 20’s but sans child at that moment.
She looked at me and said, “Oh you’re an OPP”
An OPP, hmmmmm what is that???? My mind whirled through all the latest slang and I couldn’t place the
phrase so I asked her what it meant.
She replied, “Over Protective Parent”
I just smiled and left but inside I was truthfully a bit infuriated. First it is frustrating that while my son’s father and I are trying to co-parent, we have a couch potato gallery giving us feedback. Second, what does she mean by “Over Protective Parent”?
Does she mean I am worrying too much, hovering or not allowing my child to express himself or take chances? Well I do worry, but I worry in secret… most parents do. And being cautious about a toddler going outside in 12 degrees is NOT being an “OPP”, it’s just COMMON SENSE. I do not hover over my
child and I am definitely not afraid to let him fall down or fail. This will be the only way he will learn. It’s called Risk/Reward. How else will he learn to persevere or be his own person?
By “Over Protective Parent”, maybe she meant that I love my child unconditionally and that I am actively present in his life. I happily climb to the top of the play structure with him to play castle even when my body doesn’t appreciate being contorted like a pretzel to get up there. I make pillow forts at home and ones at daycare for him and his friends. I run around the house playing Superman and dinosaurs. I look out for his well-being and provide him with healthy choices for meals and appropriate clothing for the weather. I am actively involved with his education and stay in constant contact with his teachers. We do all kinds of thing together but at times he needs his space and he happily builds towers or reads by himself. I tell him how much I love him and how important he is to me on a daily basis.
I honestly don't know which way she meant the comment she directed at me. My suspicion is the former rather than the latter, but I honestly do not care. Yes, I guess I am an OPP. And I will wear the latest slang term proudly; maybe I’ll even get a t-shirt made up of the phrase and dance around singing the first line of the Naughty by Nature song:
“Down with OPP , yea you know me!”
Who else is a proud OPP parent?
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