Yesterday, I came across a kerfuffle on social media about sleepovers and slumber parties, of all things. Apparently, if you won’t allow your children to attend sleepovers you are deemed an overprotective crazy person, which I find funny especially in the day and time of the helicopter mom. It was even brought up, what, pray tell, will these insane women do when those children go off to college some day? Worse still, how will these poor deprived and helpless children survive on their own when left to their own devices at university?
Well, I am one of those moms. The crazy, overprotective ones who doesn’t allow her children to attend sleepovers at stranger’s homes. I was never allowed to sleepover at anyone’s house when I was a child. I didn’t turn into a heroine addict whore when I went away to college. Nor did I turn into a psychopathic serial killing ,single white female type either. I was raised with good morals and respect for myself, a little bit of freedom,a lot of discipline and good manners. I had six brothers and sisters so every night was pretty much a sleepover. It’s true I didn’t sleep at other people’s homes but I had friends, went to their homes to hang out and had hundreds of sleepovers at my house with my friends throughout my childhood and teens.
The Big Guy and I have chosen not to let our daughters sleepover at other people’s houses for a few reasons, least of all being that we have only lived in our new neighborhood and city a little over a year and we don’t know anyone well enough to trust them to care for our children overnight, unless they are related to us. I don’t think it’s outrageous to expect to know the people whose house your child will be spending an extended amount of time. I do think letting my child sleep at a stranger’s house to prove that I am cool, or out of some social obligation to the parents is crazy. If you’re one of those parents who does, I’m not saying I care any more about my kids than you do about yours but I certainly don’t care any less.
Growing up, my dad never let us spend the night anywhere. Believe me, I asked. I begged. I had slumber party invitations almost weekly from grades 4- 8. I did feel left out because I wanted to be with my friends. I once questioned my father as to why he wouldn’t let me sleep at my friend’s house. I thought he didn’t trust me or he was just being mean. This was his theory; if we were sleeping over at someone’s house and the house caught on fire, they’d instinctively grab their children to save first and he didn’t want something bad to happen to us if we were out of his care. He said he couldn’t bear it. I saw his face. He meant every word of it. As a parent, I now understand his fear. His theory made sense.
I know that if my house were to catch on fire, the first thing that I am grabbing is my children. I think that is a natural mama bear instinct to protect your children. Isn’t it? It’s sort of my job to do that. Sure, we’d all like to think that we’d get everyone out immediately but you can bet your ass that if it were between my kid and anyone else’s, I’m grabbing my kids.
My oldest daughter is about to turn 8 in a couple weeks and to celebrate we are having her first sleepover. She is thrilled and I am excited for her. I loved having sleepovers. We know this will open the door for her to be invited to sleepover at her friend’s houses. She knows that her father and I will not allow it. I don’t want her to feel left out. So, we’ve decided that if her friends are having a sleepover, she can go over in her pajamas and take part in the party but at 11 or midnight, we will be picking her up to sleep in her own bed at our home. I don’t really care if people think I am crazy or call me over protective. I care that my child is safe, whether other people approve or not is of no concern to me.
I’m not as leery of a sudden outbreak of arson fires as my father was but there are other things that could happen. All parents don’t parent the way I parent and I don’t want my children to be exposed to things, people or behaviors that I don’t allow at my house. I don’t want my child to get hurt because some other parent isn’t as watchful as I am or allows more freedom to roam the neighborhood or whatever than I do. I don’t want my little girls learning bad habits or being exposed to things they are not ready to know at someone else’s house. And I even read people cracking jokes that parents won’t allow their children to spend the night at people’s homes due to some irrational fear of sexual predators. I don’t necessarily have that fear but why is that irrational? No one will watch or protect your child like you will.All people are not good people and I am not willing to take that chance.
Don’t get your feelings hurt when I say my kid can’t stay the night at your house. It’s not you, it’s me. Well, maybe it’s you but I don’t know yet and that is the point.