Have you heard the term- Helicopter parent? It’s a mum (or dad) who pays very close attention to their children at playgrounds/out in public- I think we all know them- it goes beyond the general caring for your child to make sure they don’t die while at the park- I’m talking about the parent who is one or two steps away ready to jump in when needed. They are hyper aware, standing at attention to defend and protect their child. Was I a helicopter mum.. am I a helicopter mum? Thinking introspectively- perhaps. I make super conscious efforts not to be when out with friends or at a safe park but sometimes it just happens, especially with the sacredness that comes with your first child.
Last week at an indoor play place I let Ava go. It probably wasn’t the best play area to do so as it is a HUGE indoor area with really really high climbing areas (which she wouldn’t be able to climb to without my help.. I think).. but nonetheless, I let her go. I let her go and play independently- so much so that I actually couldn’t find her at one point. I had seen her enter one area of the large child magnet contraption but not come out so I headed over to see what she was up to. I called her name, I scanned all the little girls to see if I recognized her strawberry blonde hair- I couldn’t find her. My next thought was (though fleeting)- did someone take her.. quickly countered with, no- I was sitting near the door no one could have walked out with her without me seeing..
Eventually we found her coming down a makeshift slide that started up pretty high (how she got there I don’t know) but it was definitely a test at letting her go.
She came running to me, crying, twice because of “the ball.” We’re assuming she slipped on a ball twice, coupled with the fact that we were 2 hours overdue for a nap who knows what actually happened, but all in all she did great.
It took all the will power in me to not know where she was at all times. She’s not even two- what if she breaks an arm or a finger or gets a concussion and I can’t find her.. those were very real possibilities that quickly raced through my mind.. and then my logic kicked in- broken arms mend, broken fingers mend, there’s mum’s everywhere- she wouldn’t be concussed without anyone knowing.
When your little one suddenly becomes independent and starts to do things on her own, it’s as if the moment you have been dreaming about collides with this very real motherly need to be needed.
After a long day of being generally overtired she woke up at 9pm inconsolably crying- I picked her up, carried her into bed with me and we slept the night away.
While I worked on not hovering that day I think she realized I needed to be needed just a little bit extra.