Confessions of a Helicopter Mom

There are so many things I swore I’d never do once I became a mom. I never pictured myself as the mom who makes visitors wash their hands before touching her baby. I am that mom. Although I’ve never identified as a “germaphobe,” I used Purel so often during the newborn months that I developed eczema on my hands. I literally killed the skin on my hands for fear of germs. My perceived threat of RSV or the Flu was almost paralyzing.

As it turns out, I’m a helicopter mom. My natural instinct is to hover constantly to [try to] prevent every possible bad thing that could befall my girls. I can walk into any room and spot 9 different ways my kids could seriously injure themselves. Is that dresser bolted to the wall? What if they jump headfirst off the back of the couch? Did I cut this hot dog small enough? Can they reach that knife on the counter?  I’ll stop there, you get it.

Last summer, when the twins were about 9 months old, my husband and I were sitting on our front step with them. Faster than lightning, one of the girls put a rock in her mouth. I noticed it immediately, being the hoverer that I am, and took it out of her mouth. “I think we should let them eat a couple rocks. They’ll learn,” my husband said (obviously, he keeps this chopper grounded sometimes). We sat there a couple more minutes before it hit me – didn’t we recently spray weed killer all around our house? What if there was weed killer on that rock? I could barely sleep that night for fear that she had been poisoned. She was fine, of course.

It’s hard for me to describe the compulsion I feel to protect my kids, but that’s really what it is for me. It’s like an overactive instinct that is not helpful in reality. The good new is, I’ve identified this unhealthy tendency of mine and I’m working on it. I completely understand why being an overprotective parent is not healthy for anyone involved. I really do. My kids need to learn their own lessons and I’m finally realizing that those lessons will probably bring bruises or casts or illnesses with them. I also know that it is not even possible for me to prevent e-v-e-r-y-thing from harming them. The act of trying to absolutely protect them is likely very harmful in itself. And so, I’m doing my best to stay grounded because what a good helicopter mom would do is…not be a helicopter mom.

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3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Helicopter Mom

  1. Hi Katie,
    While scrolling through flip boards articles, I read your article about “at home parent.. “.. I could almost see you absolutely read my mind.. I am a pharmacist and still I don’t work makes people feel pity on me.. I dont need it at all.. I have two kids.. Elder son 10,younger daughter 6..we live in India and I have my in laws staying with me.. Most adorable family I have.. I get lot of support from them and my hubby.. But still I enjoy the freedom of at home mom… Cherish all fun moments.. To see them fighting on power struggle, at the same time protecting against others, see them pairing up against their own parents to fulfill their cutest wishes. Lastly I am so proud of giving two contented, happy, and helping citizens to my country and world too.. Thats the best thing in world to do..!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Katie, as a mother of four grown children (last one is about to turn 20) I agree so much with the article I read today about the hardest job in the world…balderdash! I was/am so grateful my hubs was willing to get up at the “butt-crack of dawn” (as a 20 year old friend of the family would say), become overloaded with interactions from all personalities (he’s an introvert), not to mention fight the traffic coming and going, and put up with office politics. My job, while a big responsibility (with the added bonus of homeschooling all of them through high school), had lots of perks. It’s an important JOB that I chose to do. And while I recognize that there are people who don’t have that choice, I also recognize that many families, mine included, do choose to give up a lot of material goods, etc. in order to make it happen.

    Also: I glanced at your Santa Clause blog…I will give you my perspective, since you asked 🙂 When I found out there was no Santa, I was terribly upset. I felt deceived and although I couldn’t put it in to words, I felt that I was the butt of a big joke. I was taught to not lie and here my parents told a whopper! When we had kids we decided to not do Santa. While most kids get over it quickly, there are going to be some, like myself, who take it to heart and I just didn’t want any of ours to feel that broken trust like I did. We are Christians. So, we told our kids that God provided the gifts through Daddy earning money from his job, that God provided. This helped to tie in the reason we celebrate Christmas—God’s greatest gift, His Son. If you don’t celebrate Christ’s birth, you could just modify it a bit, I would think. But, we also said we can make believe that there is a Santa, and that it’s fun to play make believe. We would read the stories of Santa, as well as Saint Nicholas and other Santas from around the world as they got older. I’d put out a santa, I’d even sign Santa’s name on a package. But they always knew the truth. As your kids get older you can do secret santa with the whole family…doing kind deeds for each other in secret. The kids knew not to tell others there is no santa…we told them that some parents let their children think Santa is real and it was not our place to tell them otherwise and that it would make them very very sad if they found out other than being told by their parent. We discussed this more than once, each year they were young. We talked about what they could say if they were asked questions pertaining to Santa.

    This comment is disjointed, so my apologies…it’s late and I’m not going to proofread, lol! Best wishes on all things parenting!

    Like

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