How to Keep You and Your Family Safe
The "mama bear" instinct is incredibly powerful. Here's how to take measures to keep your home, kids, and identity safe.
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I have never been a “kids person”, so when I was pregnant one of my biggest worries that was that I would not like my baby. (Yes, I know this is insane. I thought I would rationally tolerate my kids until they turned 18 and got the heck out of my house. I eat a lot of crow now. My husband loves rubbing it in my face.)
When I was still in the hospital after having my first child, my husband asked if I liked the baby after all, with a knowing grin on his face. I told him that I wasn't sure yet if I liked her, but I was 100% positive that is the mean nurse came in and made her cry again I would literally claw her face off.
Suffice it to say, the maternal mama bear instinct is incredibly powerful.
As a mom, there is nothing that you want more than to protect your family. Your kids are the world and more, so your top priority is always to keep them safe. There are numerous ways of doing this, and this will continue on throughout your and their lives.
Even when my children are older and no longer live with me, I will still be very covetous of their safety (and probably quite annoying to any potential suitors who attempt to woo them). I may not be able to wrap your children up in a protective bubble forever, but I will always do whatever is in my power to keep them safe.
How to Keep Your Kids Safe
There are so many threats out there in this day and age, and as unfortunate as that is to admit, it's the truth. This isn't said to scare you though, it's simply to make you more aware of the choices you make.
My main piece of advice here is to teach your kids about emergency scenarios ahead of time.
Anyone who has tried to get their toddler to behave in a crowded restaurant knows that it's impossible to react well to a novel scenario the first time you encounter it. I swear they're still ketchup stains on the wall of our local Chili's, and I blame my toddlernado exclusively.
This is why I play little pretend games with my toddler to prepare her for the things that might happen.
The "Consent Game"
I told her that she is the only one who is allowed to touch her body, and that she is allowed to tell anyone else “no” if she doesn't feel like being touched, even me or her dad. I don't know how this became a “thing”, but we now play the “consent game” at bath time. She asked me to touch her, I reach towards her, and she shouts “NO” at the top of her lungs and then giggles with glee.
Noisy? You betcha. Effective? I surely hope so.
I have also play pretend games with her to teach her how to deal with fire, earthquakes, and strangers.
With my middle schooler, it could be a little bit more conversational. Anytime we saw something in popular culture, which happens more and more often as they get older, I would always talk her through the hypothetical situation to figure out what she would do.
To this day, if you ask my now teenager what to do if someone tries to abduct her, she will rattle off in a board monotone that she should always run towards someplace with witnesses, scream as loud as she can, and go for the eyeballs until she can get away.
This might make me the creepy mom with a criminology master's degree, but I hope it will also keep my kids safe as well. I'll bear the creepy title in a happy heartbeat if it works.
How to Keep Your House Safe
Your home is your safe place, your sanctuary, your cosy little nest where you can actually feel safe and secure.
This is why it's so important that you pay attention to the little things:
- Make sure all the windows are closed and locked when you leave the house.
- Make sure no tools are left out in the open in your garden, as these can not only be stolen to sell as they're valuable, but they can also be used to break into your own home with.
- Make sure that the locks are up to date, as the newer they are, the harder they will be to unlock or damage.
- Fun fact, houses with dogs get broken into less often. (The dogs barking functions as a deterrent.) Guess my ridiculously large dogs actually do serve a practical function, other than creating enough drool to cure a drought.
Another thing I could not recommend more highly is some type of home surveillance system. We have Nest cameras all around our house, well, at least enough to see all of the ground-floor doors, and it is one of the best decisions we ever made.
We initially got them so we would have video evidence if anyone ever broke in.
We actually did use the playback function once to look at some sketchy delivery people who delivered a package into our backyard, pretending not to have seen the front door. They actually saw the camera and left pretty expediently after that, which was all I needed to justify the cost as a fully necessary expense.
However, as the parents of a teenage daughter, our Nest cameras now serve as a deterrent for her sneaking any friends into our house, or sneaking herself out of our house. This wasn't at all what we had in mind when we bought them, but it has been very useful indeed.
How to Keep Your Identity Safe
You wouldn't believe the number of hackers and thieves there are out there nowadays.
Don't get me wrong, as a web developer and internet entrepreneur, I think the internet is a majestic and wonderful place. Seriously, five stars and would definitely recommend it to a friend.
However, the internet is a tool, and, just like other tools, it can be used for good or for evil.
Hackers can take any bits of helpful information they can from you, and use it to give them full access to very private things. This is why most people in the world go paperless now, because they don't have to worry about shredding up their letters in case someone steals their personal info.
But that still doesn't protect you fully.
Fortunately, there are companies out there now like Lifelock that offer their services to keep track of any suspicious activity you may be unaware of. If you want more insight into this, take a look at companies like Lifelock review to find out what protections are available and how they can help keep you secure.
I would also heavily recommend you get some kind of credit monitoring. There are many companies that do this for free.
I do very few risky financial things, but since we started monitoring our credit we have actually had things pop up (fraudulent bank accounts, credit card charges, etc.) that we're definitely not our doing.
We would never have noticed if we hadn't been paying attention to our credit reports, but due to a small amount of vigilance, we were able to immediately raise red flags to the activity that wasn't ours.
It's much harder to debate charges years after the fact, so staying on top of things now can save you a heap of work later.
Basic Summary: Exercise Caution and Use Common Sense
I don't recommend that you do anything Draconian to protect your family.
As much as I do enjoy fantasizing about a well-built Panic Room, it's not in most people's monthly budgets.
However, if you take some basic steps to act wisely, and teach your kids to do the same, it can save you a mountain of trouble later on. I would much rather play some creepy games with my toddler now, then have to console her (God forbid) if something terrible happened to her later on.
Similarly, I would rather take the extra 5 minutes each month to scan over my credit report, then realize ten years down the road that someone has been using my identity for a decade and not have any real recourse for getting my identity back.
Overall (and this is actually something they said in my actual criminology classes when I was getting my masters), trust your gut instinct.
If something feels wrong or sketchy, it probably is. You don’t have to know why.
Our instincts are there for a reason, so if something makes you uncomfortable it is actually very smart to be wary.
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About the Author
Founder | Contributor
Liz is a wife, mom, blogger, coder (and unabashed digital nerd), PhD student (and huge psychology geek), workout masochist, and occasional human being. She founded The Stay Sane Mom after marrying into the role of stepmom to a preteen girl (and Instagram addict) and shortly thereafter having her first bio kid (now a toddlernado supreme). Her goal is to provide tools and support to help other capable, sleep-deprived, soul-hungry moms master their domains so they have the time and energy to be more than just 'mom'.
My Motto: All I can control is how hard I work.
My Motto: All I can control is how hard I work.
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