We Kill Spiders



I’m aware this may be controversial, but heres my take.

We kill spiders in my house— and lots of other bugs for that matter.  

I wasn’t always fearful of spiders or creeped out by bugs. I can remember trying to find daddy long legs as a child and letting caterpillars crawl up my arm. The neighborhood kids would all catch fireflies on summer nights. But, at some point or another, particularly spiders, started giving me the absolute creeps.

Before getting a job in public schools I worked in preschools throughout college and then after college too. I remember teaching children compassion and empathy through bugs. Talking about how they are living things and though we don’t want them inside we should set them free to return to their friends and family.

 In the teaching world you don’t let your personal life ever interfere with your teaching, For me that meant sucking it up and catching the spider in a cup to set free (and then stepping on it later as the children weren’t looking).

Fast forward– my husband and I lived in a basement apartment when we were engaged. Lets just say we were not the only ones calling the basement “home.”  I had spider senses. I could detect them with 360 degree vision and would send my husband in for the kill. 


Recently I had a little boy in my class who had some emotional difficulty and he really liked to earn “looking for bugs.”  Since these students were much older than preschool age, so I was open with him about being grossed out by them but still encouraged him to catch and release them. Teacher of the year over here 😂

Well, now as a mother I’ve been torn about our approach to bugs in this house. As my oldest son is about 2.5 years old now he questions E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G that I do. He noticed me screech recently at a spider in my house and immediately wanted to know what was wrong. I brushed it off as my mind raced back to my preschool days of catch and release and had to decide what my parenting approach to bugs would be. It became a real internal conflict for me— am I really going to encourage my toddler to KILL things? This is so morbid. I could already hear the contradictory messages in my head “Kind hands with friends! Gentle with the baby! Now, kill that spider!”

My initial strategy— AVOID. And think more about this before committing to a catch and release bug policy in my everyday life. After much contemplation— bugs belong outside! So, when we are outside, we explore bugs. My son has literally lifted a spider up by one leg to just “check it out, mom!” LORDTTT help me as I say through a chill and a grin “Cool buddy!” 

Bugs. Don’t. Belong. Inside.

So it happened, he was distracted by his toys and my husband and I were chatting and I noticed a large black house spider. I send my husband in for the squish. Then we hear “Mama, where the spider go?” Our eyes go wide, this is it, the pivotal moment in parenting where we may or may not be creating a serial killer. “Bugs belong outside buddy, so when they are inside mama or dada will squish them.” *notice I didn’t say kill***


“You squish him?”

“Dada you squish the spider?”

“Where he go?”

“I wanna see him.”

“He gone mama? Where he go?

“You Squish him?”

“You Squish him?”

“You Squish him?”

“You Squish him?”

To our response “Yes, bugs don’t belong in the house, they belong outside.” Are we sending mixed messages? Maybe. Might this be followed up with a million questions for a while. Absolutely. I was just NOT, nor do I think I’d ever be, ready to commit to 18 + years of catching and releasing spiders in the house. AND I’ll tell ya what, we were playing in the basement while my husband was at work and my toddler saved me from a creepy, crawling, nightmare inducing spider— WITH HIS BARE HAND. He was so proud, and you know what, I kind of was too. His future spouse will someday be grateful that we kill spiders. 

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