Three years ago I was sitting in the OBGYN’s office listening to the sound of powerful heart beats (yes, plural) and at that very moment I started to become what some like to call the dreaded “helicopter mom”. Truth be told, I just love my kids abundantly and I may have a slight obsession with their well being. That’s normal for a mom of young children, right? Not exactly, but who needs to fit in anyways? Not me!
Helicopter parenting has been scrutinized by parents, educators, researchers and the like for many reasons, most of which are legit concerns. As a non-radical helicopter mom I’d like to confess a few things outside of the realm of your standard helicopter mom.
1.) I’m proud of my position.
There ain’t no shame in my mom game. Seriously. My kids are little and I believe they need a lot of involvement, guidance and encouragement from me in order to become thriving independent individuals. They’re only this little once and I want them to have fond memories of a mama who played with, helped and encouraged them along the way. Before I know it, they’re going to be strong willed and independent individuals who simply don’t need me as much. As much as I look forward to that, it’s a little scary and sad. I never want to forget these memories and that’s the joy of a sappy soul.
2.) I’m scared.
This world is a scary place and all I really want is to protect my kids. Maybe things aren’t any scarier than they once were but we can’t deny that our culture is over informed and with that comes both pros and cons. One of those cons being that it really puts a damper on those who are anxiety ridden, like myself. I’m scared for my family when we’re in public and while that may be ridiculous it’s something I haven’t been able to overcome.
3.) Everyone’s speed is different.
I want more than anything to protect my kids. They’re my pride and joy. I don’t trust my own kids yet, let alone someone else’s. I’ve witnessed the nasty words that come out of the mouths of children as well as the sneaky little pushes and punches. While I am a firm believer that most kids do this at some point, I want to be there to ensure my children are making the right choices. And if they aren’t I want to be able easily redirect them when appropriate. I whole heartedly believe young children typically act out because they are unable to fully process their emotions and that’s okay, they’re learning but that’s not an excuse to sit on the sidelines and not redirect when appropriate.
4.) Uninvolved parents stress me out.
Let me make myself clear, I am not referring to free range parents, I am referring to those who are simply uninvolved. If hovering over my own kids wasn’t stressful enough, leave your little one in the mall play area by herself while you get your eyebrows threaded or shop is beyond me. Do you not watch the news, listen to the radio or log onto Facebook and see the horror that surrounds us?! If not good for you but what happens when your little one gets hurt and you’re not there to comfort them? Or better yet when she decides to push my little guy and you’re not there to redirect her?
5.) I admire free range parents.
If you’re within an appropriate radius chillin’ with your other free range mama friends, reading a book, sippin’ your coffee and letting your kid be a kid, I’m a little jealous of your ability to be so lax! I truly admire you for letting your little one be a kid, without hovering over them. We’re all doing the best we can and I’m impressed with the confidence you have in your child and others.
6.) While you may beg to differ, I do encourage independence and confidence.
I don’t do everything for my children. Instead I make myself readily available in the event they need me. I don’t anticipate hovering them forever but let’s be real, what toddler couldn’t use a bit of assistance and guidance? I acknowledge the importance of independence, natural consequences and personal growth and do my best to encourage all of those qualities. It’s all about finding balance, which happens to be quite challenging. I’m here to tell you my kids are adventurous, they eat dirt, they climb on the dining room table, jump off the couch and wreak havoc because I let them but don’t let that fool you, I’m typically within an arms reach to avoid a heart attack on my behalf.
7.) We’re not all “helicopter moms”, some of us are beautiful hummingbirds instead…
“I hover nearby, not over my kids. I remain distant enough to let them explore and learn to solve problems. I teach them skills, mainly by example. I zoom in only when their survival is threatened. My goal for them isn’t a risk free childhood but a resilient life”. – Michele Whitaker