I admit it: I’m a helicopter mom. And I’m not ashamed. I didn’t even know my daughter existed until she was eight. She joined our family through foster care adoption. She spent her whole life without a mom to call her own, so my instinct was to flood her with love, nurturing and protection. And I haven’t let up, even though she’s in middle school now.
Dictionary.com defines helicopter parents as “a style of child rearing in which an overprotective mother or father discourages a child’s independence by being too involved in the child’s life.” In other words, we hover over our children like helicopters. It’s looked at by the general public as a bad thing, but I disagree. Here’s what makes me a helicopter mom.
I miss my child.
I went to a weekend retreat for moms and snuck outside to cry because I missed my girl so much while the other ladies were cheering and toasting about being away from their kids. I genuinely like being around my daughter. I sobbed like someone had died when I dropped her off at sleepaway camp for the first time. We text frequently when we’re apart and hug happily when we are reunited, even if it’s just been a few hours.
I communicate with teachers. A lot.
My daughter has an IEP because of crazy high anxiety. I let teachers know when my daughter is upset or stressed about something because she doesn’t have the coping skills to do so herself yet. We’re working on it, but it’s going to take time and baby steps for her to gain that confidence.
I give basic reminders. I still remind my child to wash her hands and look both ways before crossing the street. She didn’t have a mom until she was in third grade. She missed out on a lot of the basics like, “Don’t take candy from strangers.”
I “baby” my child. I still tuck my daughter in every night. I sit with her until she’s falling asleep, especially if she’s feeling especially anxious and requests it. I fix her plate for her most nights and put her laundry away. Most people would consider this “babying.” I think she deserves having those special mommy moments she missed out on for so long.
I make it clear I’m always there to help.
My daughter knows she can always count on me. Does she take advantage of this by hollering for me across the house to bring her ice cream sometimes? Yup. Do I let her get away with it? Sometimes. But she also comes to me with heavy stuff about school, friends and her self-image. We talk it through together and brainstorm solutions.
The Washington Post says helicopter parents are ruining college for students because kids have no confidence in their own abilities. I don’t think being a helicopter mom prevents independence. My daughter knows I believe in her. I’m the backup. She’s the star.