June 11, 2012

Call Me Marine One

by

Helipad

Helicopter parenting is a bad thing, right? It must be because I was called one and the person saying it wasn’t really being kind. It was definitely said in a judging tone and with quite a bit of puzzlement and disdain for choices I was making as a parent. Evidently, they are a better parent than I am and I needed to know that. I must have also been very important that I know this fact. And, well, that’s their opinion.

The person is consistently making snide remarks about the fact that I’m always with my daughter. She’s 9 and a half. She doesn’t live on her own, drive, have a cell phone or work at a job paying at least minimum wage. She’s a kid. And as my only child, sure I’m with her a lot. Because, well, I can be. I don’t have another child that needs to go somewhere else while BabyGirl is doing something. It’s a luxury I have, to stay and watch her at karate or a birthday party or other activities. It’s a privilege I have to be in her school class room to help. None of these are judgments of other parents. They’re my choice.

So when summer was initially just two violin camps and robotics, I knew I’d have time alone. BabyGirl would be dropped off and while having fun and learning she’d be well supervised and safe. To be sure, yes, I have difficulties leaving my child alone. You might too if you’ve had to deal with what my family has been through. It’s not something I’ll just ‘get over’ and move on. It’s part of who I am and how I parent. But I do trust and I do allow her to experience life away from me. Safely.

I don’t apologize for wanting to be with my child. It is what it is. It’s gotten better as I’ve learned to trust again. Trust is give very freely as a parent. We have to trust that other people will take care of our children. For me, I’m in a rebuilding phase. Possibly on Phase 2 or 3 now (of what I’m thinking must be a 12-step program), but still working on it.

When I couldn’t do something with this person because we had a prior appointment, it was suggested I just drop BabyGirl off with her and I can go do what I needed. Only problem was that it’s not an appointment for me so BabyGirl needs to come along. And I didn’t really want to get in to it because I know this person would be all judgy. It’s one of those situations where you don’t really want to tell people your business but they can’t just be polite about it and let it go. So I told her BabyGirl had an occupational therapy appointment and that’s why I can’t go alone.

You’d have thought I was taking my 9 year old to get a bikini wax and a tattoo with the way this woman reacted. Why was I taking her to therapy? What’s wrong? Why am I subjecting my child to this? Do I think we’re better than other people? She’s just going to be made fun of. All rhetorical questions, I’m assuming, because I wasn’t given time to reply. I don’t think it would have mattered anyway.

Great! Thanks for your support of me parenting my child, lady! Since when am I over-parenting and hovering because I notice my child struggling at something and I want to help her. I’m not taking about getting involved in a BFF squabble or standing over my child to make sure she get her fair share of candy or turns or prizes. My choice to get therapeutic help for my child is somehow over-the-top crazy. Or so says the conductor of the judgment train.

We can type into any search engine and find hundreds of instances of parents not caring what their kids are doing. Heck, go on Facebook and you’ll see plenty of tweens and teen not being looked after by their parents. On the opposite end there are countless stories of parents figuratively wrapping their children in bubble wrap lest their delicate bone china offspring topple. Yet, because I am involved in my young child’s life, interested in her physical well-being, or physically present because I believe that volunteering and helping is important I’m a helicopter mom. Gee, thanks!

If caring about my child, wanting the best for her and making sacrifices of my time so I can get her medical help is being a helicopter parent, then call me Marine One! I’m not afraid to wear that label with pride.

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sara

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