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Growth Spurts: Secondhand Smoke? Really?

I recently heard a report on the radio about more and more places and events banning the presence of children. To a degree, I can understand this. I really can. The presence of children definitely changes whatever environment they are in. But when the reporter said that people were basically comparing children to secondhand smoke, I was bothered (but not for the reasons you might be thinking).

Okay, I was pretty appalled at the comparison they made, but what really bothered me is that I knew I had been guilty at different times over the years of viewing my own children as a nuisance or something that just needed to be dealt with.

Now some of you are appalled. But some of you are nodding in understanding. And others of you are just glad that I, not you, said it out loud, because secretly you understand.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely head over heels for my kids. They bring me so much joy. Undoubtedly, they add a lot of work and a bit of chaos to my life, but overall they bring inexpressible joy. And this is what I want and need to focus on.

About two years ago, I posted on my blog an entry entitled “Things I Love and Admire About My Children,” where I listed 20 things about each of my three little ones. It was incredibly easy to do, and it simply reinforced how much I love–and like!–my kids. It was a great little exercise and something I should practice repeatedly, because when I get caught up in the busyness and monotony of family life, it is easy for me to overlook all the joy that is there in the midst of the disarray. It is there, though, and I don’t want to miss it, because I’ll have it around me on a daily basis for only a limited number of years.

My children are not a nuisance, nor are they a hazard like secondhand smoke. They are not perfect, but they are a joy and a delight, and it will serve my entire family well for me to remember this at all times–even the tough times. I cannot control how much (or how little) other people want to be around my children, but I can certainly control my own perspective.

I hope that people look at me and see a woman who loves being around her kids. And though I never want to force my children’s presence on anyone, I hope that others, too, can see how delightful–not repulsive–they are.

 

Carrie Bevell Partridge knows that the only similarity between a child and secondhand smoke is the fact that they both leave residue on hair, clothing, cushions, carpeting, and other goods.

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at carriebevellpartridge.com and Facebook.com/carriebevellpartridge.

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