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Am I a Helicopter Mum?

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 parentssigns 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.

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  • Reply Jasmin N

    This was a great post with great points! I’m going to have to need to read the one you linked as well, this is the first time I hear the term “helicopter mom” haha!

    May 11, 2017 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Kate -Five Little Stars

    It’s so hard to get the balance right isn’t it, between protecting and guiding and letting them explore discover and learn through trial and error . Trust your judgment in every situation, it will be right. I think what’s “for the best” depends so much on the child, and the parent too. Kate x

    May 11, 2017 at 11:40 am
  • Reply Katie

    I hate the term helicopter mum. I think as parents we know our own children and the level of supervision we need. As an SEND parent, I feel judged by other parents who might view me as a helicopter mum without any understanding of the complexity of her needs (of course you cannot see that just by looking, especially from a distance!)

    On the otherhand, I used to be judgemental of parents who behaved so differently, sitting back paying no attention. But now I realise that is maybe because they know what their kids are capable of, and need, just like I know mine! So swings and roundabouts I guess.

    There will always be parents who don’t need to be hoovering over their child, and there will always be parents who should be supervising their kid more closely. But it is impossible to know someone’s story from just a snapshot, we don’t have the bigger picture.

    May 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm
  • Reply Deb

    Rather than people being one type of parent or not I think we are all different and have different styles depending on the situation we are in. X

    May 11, 2017 at 4:56 pm
  • Reply Ada

    My son is only five months so I can’t imagine how it feels in this situation. His older cousins run riot but that’s just around the house, I don’t know what they’re like outside but I’m sure he’ll want to join in. I’m sure there a line between letting them play and ensuring they’re not in any harm and sometimes I think you have to let them find out for themselves!

    May 11, 2017 at 7:44 pm
  • Reply Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    It’s a careful balance. Kids fall over and get hurt, that’s how they learn. Kids meet nasty kids and get hurt, that isn’t ok. Parents have to teach children to be kind and respectful. Children have to learn to negotiate tricky relationships but harsh words can leave scars that last a lifetime so a parent should intervene.

    May 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm
  • Reply Jaymee Heaton

    I am pretty laid back when it comes to parenting and tend to allow some form of freedom. Especially if we were in a park or something. My children are 7,5 and 3. The 3 and year old wants to do everything with the 7 year old. The 5&7 year old play together and the 3 year old want to join in. So sometimes it is difficult. I think giving children the freedom with boundaries allows them to take risk. Not all risks are bad or harmful and I think children need to be able to think about what could happen before they do something.

    May 12, 2017 at 6:07 pm
  • Reply Stacey

    I completely relate to this in relation to soft play. My son is 2 and I still feel the need to linger over him at soft play for similar reasons. There are a lot of children much bigger than he is and I would hate anything to happen to him!! I always question whether I’m being over protective… but honestly, with kids so young I don’t think so!

    There’s a massive difference between closely supervising your toddler in a play area and rewriting your 11 year old’s homework. Personally, I think it makes perfect sense to watch such young children closely. I end up at the top of soft play climbing frames every single week! Ha! I tend to take my son to soft play in Oldham/Rochdale, so not too far from you. But regardless of where I take him to soft play, I’d adopt the same approach 🙂

    May 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm
  • Reply lucie from

    It sort or reminds me about this one time James and I went out to this all you can eat buffet and the place was huge, I was pregnant at the time and there was a family close to us that had kids running around our tables and making so much noise, not noticeable as the place was huge and everyone was making noise and having a good time, ( envisage the deserts counter on holiday with kids all excited about what they could pile on the plate!) I can remember James getting angry with the kids as nobody was telling them to be careful, keep it down or not run around our table and I must of just had my chillout pants on that day as I was like ” Can you imagine them having such a hectic life at home, that for 5 minutes, they get to have some peace and let their kids run off so THEY get 5 minutes of silence?”. The same when my dad judged a mum for using her phone whilst feeding her child after swimming. He doesn’t know what she goes through, how her child is etc. Maybe the mum was order nappies online? Or looking at a new childminder? Then it would be ok. Maybe she’s talking to her group of mums in a whatsapp group bitching about her husband and it’s giving her the strength to carry on with her day.

    It’s so easy to pass judgements and I think we do it naturally and based on our own mood, feelings and thoughts. I think as long as we do what we do because it’s what we want and it works for our kid, then that’s all that matters 😀 x

    May 22, 2017 at 5:53 am
  • Reply Amy @ The Smallest Of Things

    I have never heard of this term! But I just read one of the articles you linked too and some of the points I don’t think are negative. Like you see your parents as your best friends! Surely thats a good thing that they see us that way? Keep doing what you’re doing girl because you doing great ox

    May 22, 2017 at 10:00 am
  • Reply Zoe - mummy & liss

    It’s amazing how protective you get when you become a mum isn’t it, loved this post! Zoe x

    May 22, 2017 at 10:06 am
  • Reply Georgina Clarke

    I think we can all be guilty. I judged a woman the other day for being on her phone ignoring her child who was sat in a swing (not even swinging) but when I got closer and could hear her conversation, she had been screwed over by her bank and hadn’t been paid and was trying to sort it. I offered to occupy her little one while she sorted it. I felt so guilty for having an opinion – but its very natural.

    May 24, 2017 at 10:33 am
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