I’ve noticed this term used quite a bit recently and I’d never heard of it before, so of course it sparked my interest. Jessica from That Mummy Blog wrote this great post called an Open Letter to that Helicopter Mum at the Soft Play Centre which was such an interesting read. I felt like I could relate to both sides of the coin so to speak. The mum who’s so protective of her child, I will climb the climbing frames, go down the slides and get in the ball pool with my little one. But also, having anxiety made me think about what the person writing it was really saying.
Do I judge those parents that give their children free reign in a soft play centre? Do I form my own impressions of them in a negative light while they’re having their first hot drink of the week & I’m sat in the ball pool having balls thrown at my face by under 4 year olds? In a way, I guess I do. Yeah, I hold my hands up & admit it. I’m sorry, I am judging when your child is running around like a wild animal (possibly their first run around of the week, not anyone’s fault, I get it. Having a 1 year old, I can understand how difficult it is just to get out from the shackles of the housework & chores that take about 5 hours instead of 30 mins because the toddler will not let you go), when they’re screaming at the top of their lungs and going crazy on the soft play equipment because they can (and don’t I know that freedom feels amazing!) But it’s not fair to assume & see someone I don’t know in a bad light. Not one bit. I’m scared of my teeny little boy getting hurt or pushed down or whatever crazy scenario is going through my head at the time. But that doesn’t give me the right to judge another parent.
I have to say though, I’ve come across a post that went viral on Facebook & local news pages about a little boy that was playing on the soft play equipment & was kicked and hurt by other children, and that put total fear into me. The worst part, this was in the Bolton/Manchester area, which is roughly where I would usually take bear to play. (In case you want to read it, I’ve gotten the link for the article for you guys). All I kept thinking was, what if that was my child? What were the parents doing? Is it my place to even question that though? Maybe they were having their first hot drink of the week & nobody was to know the children would attack another child like that right?!
But then I looked up the term ‘helicopter mom’ and I haven’t seen one positive thing relating to the phrase/term. Mostly, how negative it can be for children to have helicopter parents and things like how you know when you’ve been brought up by helicopter parents, signs you’re a helicopter parent & how to stop. These lists include point such as only letting your child play on equipment that’s surrounded by soft flooring, rewriting your child’s homework at 11pm at night because you don’t think it’s good enough and when your children ring you before they make any major decisions. The thing is, no, I’m not doing any of that, I’m not taking that independence away from him.
If my child sees something he wants to play with/on, he can do so (within reason, I’m not gonna let him play with fire or knives of course), but you get me. I certainly won’t be staying up and redoing his homework and if he phones me to help him make a decision, then he’s clearly not ready for whatever it is he’s trying to do. But I’m not going to do any of that, I won’t hinder him and he won’t be a modern day Bubble Boy. Thing is, there’s only so much we can do to protect our children but there are things they need to face. But am I a bad person for being a helicopter mom right now or for saying I won’t wrap him up in cotton when he should be wiping his own arse and working 3 part time jobs to fund the lifestyle he wants?
Right now, my child is 1 years old. I hate where we live because of all of the horror stories I read of violent youths & nasty people, I do want to protect him, yes I am scared of something happening. And I will kick myself if it does and I fail to stop it. But I won’t let him get to university and still rely on mummy & daddy to wipe his bum & wash & iron his clothes & make the all important life decisions for him (I’m sorry kid, I’ll support you but you gotta do your own thing). Does this make me a helicopter mom? For now, maybe. But I don’t mind squeezing in and out of tunnels & carrying him through the big play areas so I can make sure he safely gets to the slide. Like I said, he’s only 1 so it’s only normal that I would be so protective right now as he doesn’t even understand the big wide world fully yet. But when he finds his feet, of course he’ll be let loose. It’ll be hard because I can never see him as anything but my baby who I’ll always want to protect. But I like to think I’ll know when to back off & let him experience things as he should.