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Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Ringing the False Alarm

09/15/2011 at 08:00 AM ET
Sean Smith

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, is in the middle of a very busy year.

The actress can be currently be seen on the big screen in Abduction, as well as upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Officer Down, and is found online on Facebook and @ElisabethRohm on Twitter.

In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 3-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — finds her imagination running wild after a situation at summer camp, but wonders if being a little paranoid isn’t such a bad thing when it comes to kids.

Have you had any false alarms with your kids? Have you jumped to conclusions before having the full picture? Elisabeth wants to know.

Paranoia will destroy you, as they say, but when it comes to our kids, it feels like my new natural state of mind.

In general, I’m a very rational human being (or so I think, although I’m not sure what others would say on this matter!) who sways towards peaceful conflict resolution. I certainly don’t have a room with political theories taped to every square inch of the wall space. When it comes to my personal and professional relationships, I don’t assume the worst — quite the opposite actually; I tend to expect the best.

These days however, even when it’s as innocent as Easton coming home and telling me she was pushed by another child at school, I’m like, “Who, what, where and tell me their mom’s name and digits.”

Then of course I come back to reality and try the other tactic of helping her to protect her body and express her feelings to her friends or the occasional bully in a confidence-building and productive manner.

How do we control our vivid imaginations when it comes to our kids, PEOPLE.com readers? What’s the healthy dosage of anxiety and anticipation of potentially not-so-kosher scenarios that occur when they are out of our supervision?

I certainly don’t want to project a fearful existence on to my child but when it comes to Easton, my instinct lately has been to jump to conclusions that lean towards more of a negative spin on things.

I’m not enjoying this newly-discovered paranoia. But I am thrilled to be feeling the fierce mama lioness in me! It’s only right.

Most recently, it’s emerged in living color due to Easton going to several day camps over the summer with people who I don’t know that well, despite my third degree interview style. Although I grill the staff during drop-off and pick-up to hear about the day’s events, I still worry about her when she is with strangers, which is appropriate. New people, new scenarios, new judgment calls, etc.

Not to mention I put a little fear into anyone dealing with my kid, which can’t be a good thing — or can it? No matter — my philosophy is, “Deal with it!”

It’s my job to protect my daughter and although I don’t want to project paranoia onto everyone, I want to take the proper precautions and not be one of those parents that just takes off right after drop-off or pick-up without a full report.

Note to my mommy friends here on our blog: I’m not like this at her school so much these days, but the new environments this summer have made me go a little overboard some might say. I say, “Deal with it!”

However, it all went to an entirely new level two Fridays ago when I picked her from her final day of camp. Of course, it always happens on the last day, right?

So I picked her up from her local beach safety/surfing/yoga/awesome summer camp that I had extensively researched and heard only the best things about. Friends’ kids attended the camp all summer and had raved about it, not to mention a mother runs it. On top of all that, I’d done my daily third degree.

Easton only attended the camp for a week and all seemed well on those first days. I’d get there and I couldn’t tear her away. She’d be nibbling a healthy treat or engaging in some physical activity. Until that last day. Duhn-duhn!

I got there and she had a change of clothes on that were slightly damp and too thin for the foggy and cold afternoon it had turned into at the beach. She was milling around without adult supervision and was slightly shivering. I asked her why she had changed her clothes and she told me that she had fallen in the ocean. She wasn’t even wearing the cardigan that I had provided in her backpack!

Nope ladies, there didn’t seem to be enough care of the situation for my taste. Not at all. No counselor approached me upon my arrival to explain the day’s scenario. I realized it was the last day of camp so I tried to be cool and say to myself, “This is a beach camp … things happen. She fell, it’s to be expected.”

Anywho! Easton was cold, tired and really happy to see me, so I decided to scoop her up and get her home for a warm snack and some rest. I thought better of making a big deal out of it, even though I was slightly pissed by their lack of concern. Shame on them. But I figured we should go home and chill out as she seemed to have had a bit of a rough day.

At home she started to do the oddest thing. She kept running to the bathroom saying she had to pee, but then once we would get her situated on the potty, she’d say, “I don’t have to pee” very innocently.

This scenario would happen over and over for the rest of the day. She also would squirm and jump around like she had ants in her pants before she’d run to bathroom to pee and then not pee.

This was a completely new behavior. I started to get a little worried and shall I say slightly paranoid, to say the least. Of course I kept my worries to myself, not wanting to sound the alarm quite yet; attack the mom who ran the camp or have people hung.

My first thought was that maybe they weren’t diligently taking the kids to the potty during the day, which at worst can cause an infection down south and at best, perhaps anxiety about going to the bathroom in general. Truth was I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, so I waited until the following day to monitor the behavior.

It continued the next day. My very close friend watched Easton for a few hours on Saturday while Ron and I tried to shed a few pounds at Bikram yoga. When we came home, the first thing she said to me was … exactly! “Easton kept jumping around in her pants, squirming and having to go to the bathroom urgently and then not having to go.” Weird?!

I was fuming! I thought, “Now I’m not the only one noticing. I’m not paranoid.” Something was not right. And while I began to jump around from the more mild conclusions to the most horrific, my friend — who is also a mother — had a very specific thought in mind. Hers was more measured than where my imagination was running.

She said, “They probably left Easton in her bathing suit too long at camp. That can cause bacteria … you know, itching and discomfort.” I wasn’t so sure about that theory. I was concerned about far worse circumstances.

At that point I had lost perspective and was being very reactive (of course not in front of Easton). Mind you, I do this all the time when it comes to Easton’s well-being.

I immediately called her doctor to try to make an appointment for a full-on exam, explained the scenario … and to my surprise she chimed in with my friend.

“This is very common in the summer months, Elisabeth, what with the constant pool and ocean use and long durations in bathing suits,” she said. “Kids get rashes, irritations, bacteria and sometimes urinary infections. Don’t worry, just put baking soda and vinegar in her bath for a few days and see if goes away. If it doesn’t, then come in for a test.”

I’m like, huh? Why isn’t anyone as worried as I am? And don’t get me into Easton’s Dad, who thinks I’ve absolutely lost my mind, what with my imagination running wild.

Well to wrap it all up, I’ll say that we have determined that all is well, although it was a brutally long holiday weekend fraught with anxiety, fear and — in my opinion — a healthy dose of PARANOIA.

The discomfort went away significantly after a few days of those special bath concoctions, although not completely. We went to the doctor who confirmed that there was no infection or anything else to worried about, if you know what I mean. I sigh with relief.

I’m still pissed that the camp left her in her bathing suit for so long all week that it caused her discomfort. And then to top it all off, they didn’t even bundle her up after being in the cold ocean for too long. I say “BOO” to this camp! And yes, I’ll Yelp about it!

Look, as far as I’m concerned, terrible things happen to children all the time. I would rather sway to the side of being overly cautious than so cool that I miss signs and don’t recognize and question the most minor of behavioral shifts in my child. Trying of course, all the time, not to project fear onto Easton.

I’m happy to suffer my runaway imagination if it can identify something dangerous, like a person hanging out at the park that really shouldn’t be there, and prevent a potential incident. I think it’s my job. So what’s with the dads being too cool to get all worked up into a frenzy? That drives me nuts!

I mean, sometimes it’s helpful to have a more rational voice in the household but mostly, I just don’t relate to the lack of fear. I’m always saying, “Yes Ron, things can happen and most importantly things can happen to her.” A dose of paranoia would do him and all people good I say!

I realize I can go a little overboard, what with the heart palpitations and sick stomach all weekend at the thought of anyone harming my baby. Let’s just put it this way, that camp is lucky that my cocktail of paranoia doesn’t mix with irrationality. I’m a pretty sane person, so my inner mom beast didn’t emerge and all they really had to deal with was my not-so-positive Yelp!

I know paranoia will destroy you as they say, but when it’s entangled with motherly instinct it serves to protect, right?

I know you will relate, ladies. Maybe your imagination doesn’t run into the darkened streets and bad neighborhoods as mine does, but I’m sure you have had a scare or two. Tell me, have you written that email or made that call before conclusions have been drawn? I’m sure you have. School, camp, daycare and on and on. No one does it quite like Mom and Dad.

Tell me about your false alarms. May they always be so.

– Elisabeth Röhm

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Showing 52 comments

ForeverMoore on

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pic of Ron…but wow, Easton is ALL Elisabeth! Cute family!

Rachel on

Paranoia is a sucky thing… really. And as a teacher of at risk children, I can tell you that I feel the paranoia in the opposite direction often. For me, I worry about what the parents are doing.

However, Elisabeth’s daughter is only three and she’s speaking in this blog as if she wants to be her biggest advocate, but her actions aren’t echoing that. If she got to the camp that day and was concerned as to why her child had on a change of clothing and wasn’t dressed warmly enough, then she should have said something. No need to attack, just ask.

I also have to question a 3-year old going to a camp where it’s possible to fall into the ocean. This seems incredibly irresponsible regardless of what rave reviews the camp gets. 3 is too young and especially on a day when you’re concerned about the weather being too cold.

Grandma on

How do you know the camp left her in a bathing suit too long? It is a beach camp, wouldn’t you expect her to be in her bathing suit? Sand, chlorine, a lt of different things can cause irritation…but you dont even say she even complained of irritation and her culture was negative. So I’m baffled by this whole blog.

jenn on

My husband too has never been paranoid as I am. There have been circumstances where I’ve acted more paranoid than my husband would like, but never anything crazy. I always tell him, if something does happen to our daughter, once it happens, we can’t undo it. So it’s better to be cautious and aware. I think you handled the situation well.

Holiday on

I am extremely paranoid to the point that all my friends and family think its borderline crazy. I cant help it though, my kids are my life and the thought of anything happening to them is too much to bear.

Kris on

Go Mama Bear, Elisabeth! =)

Maybe it’s because I have a boy, but I tend to try to not overreact about the small things. Kids are gonna get hurt, especially at the park. They fall, they slam into each other, they knock heads like a couple of drunk antelopes. Aren’t 3-year-olds a trip?!?

But a camp, on the water no less, where they’re supposed to be supervised? I would have been LIVID to find her cold & shivering without an adult at arm’s length or so. Gah! Anything could have happened to her, from being molested to drowning. I don’t think you’re overreacting about this – we’re always taught to trust our instincts, aren’t we?

And I certainly don’t think you’re going overboard by being cautious; or even overprotective. Not at 3 years old. I can’t imagine that you’re going to project any irrational fear onto her at that age. Ask again when she’s 15 or so & needs her independence; but for now? Keep your baby safe!

torgster on

What a twit!

Lilybett on

My husband has been on the receiving end of that kind of paranoia. I have an aunt who refuses to let him supervise any of her children or other people’s children… largely I think because she was molested as a child by an uncle. She never comes right out and says it, but she always manages to push herself into the situation or wrangle another adult into supervising/cosupervising.

It’s incredibly offensive when he’s never been irresponsible or inappropriate in ANY way with ANY child. Sure, her personal experience was tragically awful but my husband doesn’t deserve her mistrust.

Hen on

Way to Go Elisabeth! You are your child’s only advocate. You are your child’s voice. Go with your gut. Definetly Yelp about the camp too. One thing I disagree with, I would have called the camp later in the day or e-mailed for an explanation and to express your concern. They should have called you when she got soooo wet and needed to be changed, even just to let you know and give you the option to drive down to see if she was okay, just my paranoid opinion.

Also, I have never sent my 3 yr old to camp other than one that was supervised by her preschool teacher (who already knew her and me) and they only did water play for a short time and it was a 1/2 day camp. 3,4,5 is way young for camp with strangers. My daughter is approaching 6 and I am finally feeling like maybe next summer she can handle a camp run by someone we do not know personally.

You sound like a great mom and I wish you the best, it just gets harder! yikes!

Kim on

I have a 2 year old daughter and i’m the exact same way. I hate to have to jump to conclusions but the well being of my daughter is the most important thing on this planet to me. I over-think things and freak out but I’m okay with that. I’d rather be “safe then sorry”. I would never forgive myself is something happened to her, i’m her mother and its MY job to protect her.

I don’t think you’re over-reacting one bit… and to the parents who think you are, they’re stupid! We’re mothers… its our instinct (for most moms anyways) to protect our children.

My child is only 2 but i already dread the day she graduates from HS and moves away to go to college… who will be there to protect her then? I’m already considering quiting my job and moving with her (yeah right, she’d hate me forever! LOL) but honestly… i wish my baby could stay a baby forever, so that i know i could always keep her from harm.

Kat on

It isn’t paranoia to be diligent about your kids. You are their caretaker, and there is no second chance when it comes to your child. I’d be livid too – if you do not know how to properly care for a child, you should not run a camp.

I’m Mama Bear too…heaven help the first person that really upsets my child.

Jen S. on

I absolutely love your blogs and find myself laughing out loud at many of them. I am a first time mom and I have to tell you that I feel your pain, share your frustrations, tears, concerns and worries. Your blogs really help me to feel less crazy and alone. Thank you for sharing your experiences with such honesty, humor and candor.

Being a mom is ridiculously hard and the main reason is b/c we come face to face w/aspects of ourselves which we never experience until we have a child. That being said, the pros far outweight the cons. Mommies ROCK and that is all there is to it!!

maggie on

I don’t have kids but have babysat and gotten very close to quite a few (honorary auntie) but if I picked up a kid who was wet and shivering I would have been asking questions just for that. If that kid then had urinary issues, I would have been on them like white on rice and so would the parents! Don’t you know that can be a sign of sexual abuse? In fact, I think abuse is more likely than leaving her in a wet bathing suit (and remember that 3 year olds can rarely dress themselves so you have no idea what was happening!) That camp needs to be shut down!

Gwen on

Maybe you shouldn’t just jump to conclusions and should talk to people at the camp before giving a bad review. You don’t even know what happened at camp that day and are just imagining a bad scenario.

Frankly I don’t even know what you are talking about being wrong with your daughter, you are just rambling on.

If you are not ready to leave your daughter with other people you shouldn’t do it.

Valerie on

I wouldn’t have left my 3 year old at a camp where she could potentially fall into a large body of water. Especially if I didn’t know anyone there.

It’s okay to be Mama Bear but I didn’t see any “bear” in this situation. She was ready to swoope down and arrest everyone there for touching her child.

Jenna on

@ Gwen
any parent should be cautious about who they leave their children with no matter the age… just because she is nervous about new people being around her daughter doesnt mean she wasn’t ready for it. Also, she stated her daughter’s odd behavior and did what the doctor recommended so how is it rambling?

The blog was really about the feeling of paranoia and protectiveness she gets over her daughter more so just that day of camp… that just happened to be her example.

What of it? on

Beautiful picture!

Lori on

I am extremely paranoid when it comes to my children – I jump the gun and have put my foot in my mouth many, many, many times. I apologize, however, I would rather jump the gun and be wrong than I would not say anything and be right.

Grandma on

Nothing she writes seems sincere or natural. I just don’t buy it. In ANY camp at all, Easton would have a c councelor assigned to a small group. You arrive to pick up your daughter and find her alone, wet, shivering and you don’t find her councelor? BULL. Or the councelors boss?

My daughter mentions that she was really sad at snack and I send a quick email to her teacher to see if anything happened or if she was exhibiting any behaviors I should be made aware of. Yet, a cold, alone, wet child and Elisabeth’s plan of action is to go to YELP without ever contacting the camp for a run down of events? I don’t buy it.

A young 3,saying she fell in the ocean can mean a million different things? Yet Elisabeth doesn’t bother to find an adult to ask their explanation? I don’t buy it.

I really feel like this woman is just making stuff up to write this blog.

Monica on

I don’t understand how she didn’t have to at least sign her daughter out from camp- which would have been the perfect time to say, “Hey, why is she cold and wet?” I haven’t left my daughter any place where I didn’t have to sign her in when I dropped her off and sign her out when I picked her up. That in itself is concerning because if there were no adults around and she just picked up her daughter and left, how did the camp know some stranger didn’t just take her. Maybe she left part of the story out. But that is enough reason for me to not choose that camp again. Better safe than sorry.

Lora on

Bravo for the paranoia! I’m an elementary teacher and, hand to God, when we go on a field trip I will make another teacher watch the rest of my class so I can take one kid to the bathroom. No way am I sending a seven year old alone to a public restroom at a park or museum where strangers could prey on them. Yes, the other teachers sometimes think I’m a little fanatical about it, but really—it pays to be paranoid with some things!

Elizabeth on

I work at a daycare\preschool where I am the second teacher in the infant and young toddler room. In my classroom there are often seven children all under the age of 3 and I personally see this with parents a lot.

Before, it would really affect me when a parent would come in during the day and jump about things -sometimes so little and seemingly harmless to me. One day though, it clicked. These little people have parents, and these parents care so deeply about them and their wellbeing. It is OKAY for you to be alarmed and want to go all ‘mama bear’. Easton is your baby, and she will not be a baby (well small sized, she will always be your ‘baby’) for long.

I am personally a little alarmed at work when a mother does not show the slightest bit of concern if something is a little wrong or off, or just unusual.

I try my hardest not to take offence, and smile and explain that I am one of the two teachers in the room and more often than not there are 7 children in the classroom under the age of three. It is hard for us to keep an eye on each and every one of them because they are SO quick and learning SO much. They do not mean to (okay sometmes I swear they do!) but they are constantly everywhere! I could have the non napping crew of four toddlers at the end of our classroom engrossed in counting blocks when their attention span wears off and the next thing I know Nick is climbing onto the table, so I’d reach to get him and then notice Ben throwing the blocks at Troys head..while grabbing at them and calmly explaining blocks are not weapons Kylie falls just walking and we have a boo.

I’ve went off, but I understand where you are coming from…and it is okay! This just proves you are a good mom, there are plenty out there that could care less. Many high-fives to you :) Easton seems like a wonderful little girl!

Jillian on

Monica, how do you know the child was not signed out? Maybe she chose not to say anything. At the center I worked at parents signed their children out and would wave goodbye. They didn’t need to be in my face to leave…..and they were the same age. If they were face to face maybe she didn’t want to ask anything. Didn’t sound like the counselor explained Eastons day. Which I something I always did.

Grandma, what would her reason for making this up be? Why would she claim a counselor didn’t approach her and her child wasn’t supervised? Sadly…….it happens ALL the time. If I was in her shoes and it was the last day of camp, and that’s what I saw……I wouldn’t have asked them anything because you aren’t going to get the truth. They will protect themselves and their jobs. I would ask my child because she knows what happened. I may not get the whole story but it would be more than enough for me because she wouldnt be returning. I have worked at a few camps and been a teacher. And while I have nothing that I have done wrong, their are many teachers who are lazy and aren’t good teachers.

mom-to-be on

I am a mom-to-be and I have read your blog faithfully since before I was. I love the honesty and reality. It helps me gauge some of the things going through my mind already. I have a feeling I’ll be just like you, and my husband will be just like your husband. Thanks so much for sharing.

jessica on

This is the same woman who earlier this year freaked out when precious Easton almost did a sleepover with her best adult friend. Yet, she’s fine to drop her off at a Beach Camp” for 5 days/ 8 hours a day.

I’m not sure why People promotes your blog.

torgster on

Lora, assuming you’re defending her, I don’t get your point. Nobody would question not wanting to send a kid alone to a public washroom in a strange busy place, but that’s hardly the same situation as the nonsense Elisabeth is rambling on and on about.

blessedwithboys on

Yeah, this is why I never left my kids alone with STRANGERS.

sandy on

Dear Elisabeth,

I am with you! I have and still do have all those reactions and wild imaginations. That’s the detective in us. And better to be overly protective than not. My husband too usually balances out the situation and helps me come to my senses after many days worrying.

You just can’t be too cautious in this day and age. There are a lot of interesting individuals out lurking where they shouldn’t be. Always talking and educating your child about the stranger danger thing. When they are younger it can be tricky.

However, it just sounds like the people who ran the camp weren’t as vigilant as you would of liked. I’m sorry. I would still voice my concern to the camp directors. Glad all is well.

CC on

What a bunch of jealousm judgmental people. I love your blog Elisabeth….keep up the good work!

Angela on

I have an idea. If it makes you feel nervous dropping her off at camps and having her not get the supervision or care that she needs, then resist the urge to do it! She is only 3. She has her whole childhood to go to camps. When she is a little older she can better commuicate her needs to others, can take the initiative to put on a sweater if she is cold, and can better communicate what goes on all day to you.

I have three kids who are now 12, 10 and 8 (2 boys and a girl). When my oldest was 3 I felt like he should be doing all of the cool activities that all of my friend’s kids were doing at that age. The thing is, I think sometimes people are pushing their kids to do things that they aren’t ready for or just aren’t necessary yet for a toddler. Some people even get competitive about providing ‘enrichment’ for every waking second of their kid’s life.

My advice would be to resist the urge to keep up with people that follow that path. Now, if you are using camps as fill-in childcare over the summer, which some people have to do, that is a little different. I doubt that is the case here. I’m sure you were thinking it would be a fun and exciting camp for her, but again, she’s only 3, and she would probably get a lot more out of camps when she’s a little older.

I guess what I’m ultimately saying is that maybe your instincts are telling you that she is too young to be in that setting. Trust your instincts, keep her with you (and in settings you are comfortable with) a little longer, and don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t totally comfortable with her in new camp situations. Your mommy instincts are probably giving you good advice :)

Patra on

I’ve been reading this blog for about 6 mos, and continually think, “this woman needs 2 more kids to put things into perspective”- Thank JC I had twins (boy girl) on my first try, or I fret that I would be this type of mother- Instead I am NOW (a mother of 3) flexible, tolerant, and ruled by discipline~ my children know that i am in charge, and can depend on that, I too am an lioness when need be, but I also deal out consequences on a regular basis!

Elizabeth on

Wow. Just. Wow. There is no call to be that paranoid (or to flip a lid over) such small stuff. You know what my four year old does when she’s cold at school? She either gets her own sweater for herself or she tells somebody ‘I’m cold, I want my sweater from my bag, please’. It’s called teaching a kid to be self-sufficient.

Oh, and one infection ‘down south’ (can we not say UTI here?) won’t kill a kid. Try putting yourself in the shoes of the people running the camp–they’ve got HOW many kids to look after? Bathroom breaks are scheduled so that nobody gets looked over or misplaced. You don’t change a kid’s clothes unless you have to–in part because paranoid parents worry that kids are getting ‘touched’ as they get changed. Try cutting them some slack and trusting them a bit–and trusting your child, too.

amw on

ive skimmed your blog posts now for a while elisabeth and its seems that you are, on the whole, doing very well by your daughter, you just need to give yourself a break and gain some confidence.

has anyone ever suggested the book “Unconditional Parenting” by Alfie Kohn to you? its a fantastic book that weaves research and logic into helping you find the right way to parent your child. it gives you confidence and it gives you facts. i think it really addresses lots of your fears/issues.

Mel on

I also found this blog post to be rambling and a bit incoherent, but I wanted to address the idea of not projecting your paranoia onto your daughter.

I’m the daughter of a paranoid “Mama Bear,” and let me tell you, you may think you’re hiding it, but children can pick up fear, and what makes it worse is when they don’t know (or can’t understand) why you’re afraid, and you can’t explain it in terms that work for them. All this business about, “It’s great to be a Mama Bear!” is fine, but even real bears know when to let their cubs go.

If you are that easily rattled about your child, you need help. I love my mother dearly, but her fears became mine, and I spent a good portion of my childhood making sure I never did anything that would upset her, even though none of it was my doing. It was her own overprotectiveness.

Paranoia may destroy ya, but a calm mom is a good mom. Know how to pick your battles so that your child understands that you aren’t always at full-tilt crazy. It gives them stability in a very unstable world.

Yes, there are times when you have to be ferocious about your baby, and every child deserves a mother who protects him/her. But paranoia is in your own head, and your child doesn’t deserve that burden.

KB on

I read your story and can completely relate. It’s good to have more rational voices around – listen to the ones that calm you.

Unfortunately, something did happen to my daughter at a summer camp and I wish I had listened to my paranoid voice right away. It was something that turned our family upside-down and it began with a UTI.

My daughter is almost a teenager now and I still work to manage my inner paranoia. It’s tough stuff – but we are our child’s only advocate and your can’t trust everyone, unfortunately.

JulieA on

Having your children go off on their own is like watching your heart walk around outside your body.

KarenB on

Eh – I think you’re overreacting. It’s a beach camp – of course she’s in a bathing suit all day!

Look, I understand the impetus to be concerned and vigilant. But there are a couple issues here.

First, your ability to ENJOY being a parent. I feel sorry for parents for whom their daily experience seems to involve so much fear and mistrust.

Second, your child’s development of confidence, self-reliance and optimism. She WILL pick up on it, no matter how hard you think you’re keeping it away from her.

Lastly, it may not be a big deal with a 1-week summer camp, but once you start a more ongoing, permanent program (like school), developing productive, reasonable relationships with the teachers and administrators is so important. Not to mention you relationship with other mom-friends and their kids. This will get in the way.

So relax a little. Stay attentive and assertive, but catch yourself when you’re going too far. If all the teachers, your friends, your doctor and your husband all think it’s a bit too much – it probably is.

grandma of 9 on

I am a mother of 3 and a grandmother of 9 (soon to be 10). While I understand her concern about her child, Elisabeth should have approached one of the counselors at the camp. She could have waited until she got home and got her daughter warmed up and then called the camp to see what happened. Or she could have gotten the sweater out of the backpack and put it on her child and talked to a counselor then.

My children were in day care or private babysitter from 6 weeks on because I had to work and I can tell you that each day I made sure I talked to the person in charge of my children to make sure all went well. Elisabeth needs to immediately find out what happened because then if something is not done correctly it can be reported to the person in charge and changed immediately and possibly keep it from happening to another child.

Relax, Elisabeth, you are doing a great job.

Hoolia on

If parents are worried about their kids, how about teaching them how to be more self sufficient? Self defense courses when they are old enough? Common sense?! The fact is, at some point in their lives you wont physically be with them 24/7 (or will you?), it is in their best interest to learn common sense and be able to discern real threats from ‘paranoia’. I dont understand wearing paranoia like a badge of honor.

cynlee on

Relax Elisabeth…women have been having children since the beginning of time; it’s not rocket science!

Linda on

I don’t think there is such a thing as being too protective of your children. You have to make sure your impulse to protect is balanced by some rational thought–and temper your reactions in front of your kids–but seriously, the truth is that EVERYONE is a potential threat to your child. And, they have ONLY YOU to protect them.

I sometimes feel like slapping parents who say that they they never thought so and so would hurt their child, or they trusted them. You never trust anyone with your child completely–you might have to rely on other but that is not the same thing.

I think it’s lazy parenting, or parenting for people who don’t want the responsibility or soul-crushing trauma of considering the worst in people and stepping up to protecting their child.

So better safe than sorry! Protect your kids! And if you can, create an environment with your protective instinct that makes it easier for other parents to protect their kids!!!

Dina on

I think a healthy degree of paranoia is goes hand-in-hand with being a mom. Sometimes there is a fine line between being overly protective and paranoid, but I try to tread lightly.

When my paranoia gets the best of me, I blog about it at paranoidmama.com. From flame retardants in clothing and furniture to organic foods, to BPA and other chemicals permeating our environment, to questions about illness/death/dying…the issues that crop up for parents today are so numerous and delicate.

In this day and age, I don’t see how most parents don’t experience this feeling on some level on any given day. The key is how to temper it so it doesn’t get the best of us or our kids.

Kris on

Elisabeth, my daughter is nearing 13 and I am still a MamaBear and always will be. We openly discuss the dangers of society, drugs, bullying etc. Communication is the key! I have friends who “gently” criticize our relationship but I honestly think they are envious. Some of their daughters seek me out for advice because “they can’t talk to their Moms”. My daughter and I are super close and always will be…as it should be.

My rule of thumb is ALWAYS go with your gut feeling, you can’t go wrong. Keep up the good work, it does get more difficult but it is so worth it!

Karen on

This isn’t the cure for paranoia – nothing is – but the best way to not be so focused on your child is to have another one. As long as all you have to focus on is THE CHILD, you go crazy. Have another one and you chill out. Worked for me.

Every news story that broke with something happening to a baby/child near my little one’s age made me a wreck. Any toy/baby item that was recalled for safety issues made me feel betrayed. I took it personally. Give your daughter a little brother or sister and you’ll both relax.

Cat on

Seriously? First of all, you should have asked about your daughter’s cold state when you picked her up. In addition, if you were THAT concerned, you should have gone into the doc IMMEDIATELY – not just called on the phone. Waiting all weekend…? What if what you thought HAD happened? Waiitng 3 days is not good.

If you want to be your daughter’s advocate. Stop writing yourself in circles and DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE!

BMK on

If you’re paranoid, why would you even ENROLL your 3-yr old in a water/beach camp? I wouldn’t leave a child that young with anyone – not even family – near water. A friend gave me a good piece of advice when I had my first child — don’t leave a child alone at an activity until they are old enough to accurately tell you what happened to them at it. That’s not being paranoid, that’s just common sense.

J on

Does this woman ever have anything upbeat and happy to write about or does she just badmouth anyone and everything she feels screwed up her child?

Kaley on

This woman really neds to get a clue. You get to a camp and find your child wet and all alone (per her description) and you don’t do something on the spot. What the heck is wrong with her?? Why didn’t she march right over to whoever was in charge and ask what the heck was going on? She is so blasted over-protective when her child was trying to spend a night with a “close family friend” but she can’t be bothered to find out what happened at camp. Maybe Easton refused to change clothes, and since she’s used to getting her way at all times at home, the counselors got tired of fighting with her? Who knows? But I truly feel for this child – she is going to major difficulties in life with this woman as a mother ! I am a Mama Bear too and no camp would have gotten off without explaining to me on the spot!

Elisabeth, grow up ! Act like an adult and a parent – you’re not your kid’s best friend, nor should you be. Easton will never be a self-sufficient teen or adult with the way you are bringing her up. Teach her that she doesn’t rule the world, and use a little discipline so she doesn’t remain the spoiled brat you describe weekly.

Anya on

Why is a three year-old away at camp anyway? 3yos should be home in the backyard, supervised by their mothers. It blows my mind that people send their babies away for the day.

Becky on

I am retired law enforcement. I jumped to conclusions many times. Still do. I have heard some awful things. You cant leave it at work. Makes home difficult sometimes. My husband always kept me from going off the deep end. Hes a firefighter. He is our hero…….Also trust and temper your instincts. Step back. Take a deep breath and do the best you can.

J on

Now now Kaley, you don’t want to hurt her feelings and cause her to write wordy defensive blog scolding us to be nice even though she has more than once picked on her kids classmates, camp councelors, teachers, etc….lol!

Lisa Kentala on

At beach camp you would expect everyone to be in a swimsuit the entire time. Now I only have boys, so I’m not experienced with female kid health issues, but I had no idea it’s so common for little girls get infections down there!

Also, isn’t 3 a bit young for beach camp?? Near the OCEAN?? Can Easton swim well? All it takes is for a caregiver to look away for a few seconds and a small child is in the ocean! I let my boys go to “play camp” under the age of 6 – sprinklers, playground and lawn play, etc. When they went to day camp I was on their back constantly about proper pool and beach behavior. But they were over 6 years old – not 3!!!

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