Helicopter Parenting...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

helicopter parent
Taken from dictionary.com ~

Main Entry: helicopter parent
Part of Speech: n
Definition: a mother or father that hovers over a child; an overprotective parent; also helicopter mom, helicopter dad

I don't necessarily think I'm THAT mother, you know the ones...that do hover over their kiddos on the playground, at their sporting events, or other random outings...

But I am THAT mother, that keeps 1 eye on both children at all times...if at all possible.
I try to give them space, while still being within a stone's throw just in case...

I know people think I'm crazy - our kids are 4&5, going on 14&15, soon to be turning 5&6...they are still babies yet to me...of course, they prolly always will be right?

All my life, the only thing I have ever wanted (other than a sibling of my very own), was to be a mom. I grew up babysitting gaggles of children & I couldn't wait to have children of my own. I worked hard for these kiddos...

I waited until we were *ready* to have babies...I was 30 when I gave birth to little Miss H. I was thrilled to death when we found out 8 months later (Mother's Day weekend!) that we were expecting another baby...a sibling for our little princess...

Motherhood is not something I take lightly...Nor do I take it very seriously...

Yet, I do...

Over the last 24 hours a little boy has been popping up in my SM Stream...

Lieby Kletzky.

An 8 year old boy, who had begged and begged his parents to let him walk part of the 7 blocks home from daycamp. A little boy who on the very first day his parents agreed to let him, turned up missing. A little boy, whom I was SURE was going to turn up frightened after getting a little turned around. A little boy, who would be found cut up in pieces hours later, after getting lost and asking a stranger for help.

He was EIGHT. YEARS. OLD.
Eight.

I cannot imagine the grief his parents must feel...How heartbroken they are...The guilt that they surely must be feeling for agreeing to let Lieby walk part of the way home alone...part of the way............................

What age is the right age?

When do they get to let go of their innocence?


Obviously, I won't be letting our kiddos walk anywhere alone anytime ever soon. This city is so vastly different from where I grew up...There aren't even any sidewalks in our neighborhood for heaven's sake...

But what about all of the other stuff...

Like, the party where all of the adults are tossing bean bags and drinking beer and chatting in the screen tent while the kids run around 'unattended' ~ I'd love to sit down and have a nice cold beer...or toss a few bags during a round of corn hole & kick some major ass at it! But I can't do that for any length of time and still make sure my kids are safe...

so I don't...

Like, the birthday party where the kids are climbing the OUTSIDE of the giant bounce house instead of bouncing on the inside, reaching the top, & having a great time doing it...While the adults hang out and eat great grub and drink cold beers and visit...some INSIDE the air conditioned house while the kiddos are outside...

Sure, the chances of something happening are slim...but there is still a chance...

A fall from the top of the bounce house onto the ground below could mean a broken arm or leg...or neck...
or worse...

For as long as possible...or as long as they let me...

I will protect my babies...

In less than two months, my first born baby will be going to school ~ ACK!

She's ready...and I'm ready...
It's time...she's up to the challenge and I pray she WILL be challenged...

She's a smart one that girl...I hope she's not bored.
I know she's going to make great friends...and some not-so-great friends...

I've already had to prep her for the not-so-great ones...and I hate that.

She's FIVE!
F.I.V.E!
At five her world should be all unicorns and rainbows.

Of course, that's not reality...it's not all unicorns and rainbows...but it's ponies and butterflies...as much as I can help it...

She's had a rough month or so...

A *bully* if you will, does his best to pester her when he has the chance...

The only girl in a group of boys, she is told 'you can't play with us' ~
and who is she to stand up to a few boys all telling her this...

INCLUDING her brother...who tells me that this little shit kid says 'you can play with her anytime so don't play with her now'

She's got a kind heart, an old soul, this one...

She doesn't know how to stand up to several boys, taller than she is...being mean to her and telling her she can't play...
This week, she tore off a part of her toenail...ouch!
Nothing major...but at the time, a lot of blood, & now little bit sore and different than her norm...

Well, wouldn't you know it, one of these little boys goes and tells her if she gets sand/dirt in her toe where the nail should be, she will die.

D.I.E!
Now to you and me, that's obviously a pretty stupid thing to say...and an even dumber thing to believe...
But again, she's FIVE.

Her two experiences with death?
My mom...who was doing juuuuusssstttt fine...

Was coloring pictures with my kids, going for walks outside in the fresh air, all of a sudden lying lifeless in a casket holding a rosary...

The next one...our daycare's housekeeper who was there one week, cleaning the house & chatting with the kids as per usual...and within the next two weeks...Was done here on earth & was on her journey to heaven...

Cancer, both times...but my 5 year old doesn't know CANCER.

Shit, I don't know CANCER!

If some 'older, wiser' kid tells her she's going to die...why wouldn't she believe it?
Of course I know I can't protect her from these kids...she's going to deal with them all of her life...we all do. These kids become adults and we still have to deal with them.

Far too often...

But how do I stop myself from picking said kids up and shaking them til they get it?

I just want to protect them for a little bit longer..........





All photos in this post were taken by the talented Sally Gruman of Gruman Photography, thanks to our dear friends L, B & P! xoxo

7 comments:

Jen Knox said...

Darcie,

Thank you so much for posting this! We share the same concerns...in fact, it was comforting to me tonight on Twitter to find another Mom who was as heartsick about Lieby and had the fear of "it could be any child" that I had when I read the horrific outcome.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I cut up my three year-old's food in small pieces and monitor him eating. Learning from a friend of a boy she knows who choked while eating and now has permanent brain damage cemented that practice for me.

I also won't be ashamed that the experience my sister and I had as kids of encountering two men on a rural road who stopped their truck to talk to us....(and we were 12 and 9....yeah, who does that? Crazy people do!) has affected me greatly.

I'm also not ashamed to admit that I'm deeply affected by stories of missing children or children who have had accidents. It would almost be a crime not to honor their memory by holding our own kids closer and keeping a more vigilant eye on them. No comfort to their parents, but would they tell us to do anything differently? Of course not.

I'm not so "helicopter" that I don't let my child go to school, or play or make friends, but a watchful eye is on my child whenever possible. I get teased, and even maligned a bit for not being more easy-going, but my child is irreplaceable...not that parents who aren't AS vigilant as I am don't feel the same way, but this is my comfort zone. This is what makes me feel safe, and if I feel safe I can make sure my son feels safe too.

My heart is breaking for Lieby's parents tonight. I wonder if they felt any pressure to let him walk home. Not that walking home is inherently dangerous, but I just hope that they made that decision on their own and not under the pressure of less-helicopter-ish parents who may have chastised them the way I am at times for the decisions I make.

Undoubtedly, a parent's worst nightmare....

Darcie, you need to do what you need to do. It's those moments of intuition that we have as parents that we shouldn't ignore. Whether it "makes sense" or not, you're in charge and will do what's best for your kids. Will you get teased? Probably...who cares, you'll sleep well at night.

Fantastic post!

simplicity said...

Well said Darcie, and I am with you! There are too many sick people in this world. I like to let my kids live and have some freedoms but I am with you, I can't have them out of sight and also just need to know what's going on and where they are and what not. Thanks for posting this.

Marketing Mama said...

I get it. It is so hard, finding the balance. You voiced many of my fears. Giving the kids room to learn, grow and make mistakes... Yet keeping them safe.

You are one of the best moms I know, Darcie. For me it's about finding the peace in my choices, not making rash decisions based on fear, and letting go of judgment of other parents choices (unless they impact me or my kid).

Hugs to you. xoxo

MommytoZoeandAva said...

Darcie - This is such a great post. Thank you for having the courage to write it! I hadn't heard about the little boy in NY until my husband mentioned it yesterday afternoon and then I started to see it show up in my Twitter feed. I struggle with this as well. Our neighbors have three girls roughly the same ages as my two (none of them are over 5). She lets them play in the yard unattended ALL OF THE TIME - even the youngest one who is not even two yet. When my girls are in the yard - so am I. I don't care if that comes off as being a helicopter parent or not - just because they are in our yard does not mean they are safe from all of the dangers out there. I am constantly reminding myself that my neighbor's choice isn't the right one for me, but maybe it's what works for her. I don't want her judging me for being outside with my girls so I try not to judge her for not being outside with hers. It's such a hard balance. I want my girls to be independent but I just don't know at what age they really SHOULD be so independent. Thanks again for shedding light on some very real fears and struggles. You are a great mom Darcie - a wonderful example to the rest of us, for sure!

Amy said...

LIke I said on twitter. I couldn't agree more. Great post.

Anti-Supermom said...

You know I just posted about helicopter parenting, but in honesty, it's about not being on their faces, not telling them to not take a risk ... I don't think it's about not being a parent anymore, or not wanting that role.

What a good post!

darcie said...

Thanks for the great comments everyone!! I just want our kids to be able to BE kids...without the big bad stuff in the world ruining what should be the fun things...they've got their whole lives ahead of them - they can learn about the yucky stuff LATER! xoxo

Post a Comment

ShareThis