I’m really, REALLY trying not to be a helicopter parent.
You know the ones.
The ones who are always there, always hovering – always wiping every snot drip and chin drool and helping their children on every single piece of playground equipment.
Almost always, these helicopter parents are first-time moms. Guaranteed. I have first-time-mom-radar. Because I am one. We all have this what-the-heck-am-I-doing look on our faces, all the time. We’re constantly looking around us to see if anyone is watching as our child screams in Target and we give in and open the puffs container and just hand the stupid thing to our toddler, who is clearly the boss.
We are also always wondering if we’re doing things the way you’re SUPPOSED to, because six months into this gig and we’ve already done about half of the I’D NEVER DO THAT’s that were neatly scribbled on our “When I become a parent…” list.
Back on topic – being a helicopter parent. Or trying NOT to be a helicopter parent.
You see, I’m that mom who imagines every possible worst-case scenario for my child. If she’s giggling and climbing onto the couch, I’m all OMIGOSH YOU’RE GOING TO FALL OFF AND BREAK YOUR NECK. And that may not sound too extreme, but y’all – I’m that crazy about every scenario.
So as Cameron becomes a fiercely independent and stubborn toddler, I really am trying to let go of my controlling personality and just let her live. And experience trial and error. And maybe even a few bumps and bruises.
Now, I’m not saying I’m going to let her climb all over the furniture and hang from the rafters, but if she’s running across the driveway and giggling and chasing Bailey, I’m going to stop running after her with my arms ballooned around her just in case she falls.
Sometimes, I just have to let her fall. Because that’s the only way she can learn how to get back up.
The other day we were outside eating ice cream by a picnic bench, and she decided she wanted to run and push the stroller all over the sidewalk. At first, I (of course) was frantically running right behind her, arms sprawled out wide… and then I passed a storefront window and saw how ridiculous I looked. All bent over and running wide-legged with bent knees and a DON’T FALL DON’T FALL look on my face. After a quick laugh at my ridiculousness, I parked my butt back on the bench and watched her
and held my breath.
Wanna know what happened?
I swear it happened in slow motion.
She fell and I saw her sweet little knee skid right over the sidewalk. I waited for her to realize that it hurt like hell, and then she started crying and screaming, “Mama, knees! Mama, knees!” and ran over to me with her arms above her head so I could scoop her up and kiss her and tell her it was all gonna be okay. We slapped a little bandaid on her first boo-boo, gave it a kiss, and before I could blink she was back to her wild shenanigans.
As a mom, and especially as a first-time mom, I have GOT to learn that she’s going to get hurt. Be it skinned knees, sprained ankles, or a broken heart – she’s going to experience pain, and that’s okay. It is from pain that we grow. It is from pain that we learn. And it is from pain that we heal, both from the support of others and the strength we sometimes don’t realize we possess.
As a parent, there is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain. But as much as we want to, we can’t shield our children from all of life’s boo-boos. I am sure this will continue to be a constant struggle for me, but it’s something I’m working on each and every day.