Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the Momma Chopper hovering over Dizbaby, ready to intervene on the fly. I didn’t WANT to be a helicopter parent and I’m not exactly sure how I became one, but I’d like to blame it on my rambunctious, risk-seeking son who pushes me in the chopper and constantly gasses it up. The theme “crazy” also plays a big role in my hovering ways: I love Dylan like crazy, it makes me crazy, and he likes to drive me crazy. See? I didn’t stand a chance.
When you first have a baby, everyone enables the helicopter ways. If you’re not stalking the newborn, what ARE you doing? “You have to watch them all the time,” “Don’t take your eyes off for one second!” or my favorite, “Get used to it, you’ll be watching them the rest of your life.” So what started as my run for mother-of-the-year (attentive, nurturing, and protective), has evolved into anxiety stricken exchanges like, “Leave him overnight? ARE YOU CRAZY??” Oh and look, there’s crazy again.
And the people have turned on me. Now I’m a “stalker,” “a hawk,” a parent who can’t seem to step off. But a helicopter mom? Psh, that’s so not me. There’s no way, I mean, I let Dylan fall, I don’t [immediately] jump to his rescue, and I give him the space to learn lessons the hard way. You probably shouldn’t close your fingers in the door...I told you not to touch that, see what happens?
But it’s all bullshit because at the core of my motherhood being, there is a battle between equal but opposite forces: helicopter v. free range parenting.
Sure, I want the kid to grow up feeling confident enough to take risks. I want him to lose, I want him to fail, and I want him to brush himself off with no regrets and take the lessons for what they’re worth and keep on truckin’. I realize space between mom and son is not only healthy but necessary. And since I haven’t gone a night without him, I desperately need to.
So I’m gonna do it! I’m going to give Dylan to my sister-in-law for a baby free night in an effort to curb some of the crazy. And it’s not just for me. Dylan hasn’t gone a single night without mom putting him to bed and he needs to know that he can still fall asleep if I’m not there just as much as I need to know that the world isn’t going to detonate if I leave him overnight. So enjoy the chopper and wave buh-bye! It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid.