06.05.2012 80 °F
I find this whole thing baffling: on one side we are supposed to puree, and steam, and stamp little sandwiches into cute shapes, and make our own party invitations; but on the other side, don't be too hands-on, mom. I read an article in a parenting magazine entitled 'micromanaging helicopter moms'. She stated that moms can be too quick to rush in and fix a problem for their kids, or stay too close while they are interacting in playgroups. She stated we moms can be too overprotective of our kids. OK, I confess that according to the article, I fall into this category. I am that mom who climbs the jungle gym after her toddler, to make sure he doesn't fall off. And who helps to fix his train set when he asks me to, even if it is before I have had my morning coffee. I admit it, I hover. But where is the line between 'attentive' and 'overprotective'?
The way I see it, I answer to myself as a parent. It annoys me when anyone else, my husband included, chimes in on my parenting style. I do what I intuitively feel to be best, with regard to park play, sleep habits, even vaccinations. We are our children's advocates and we are their guardians. If I choose to leave the park when a child is there that seems troublesome and throws rocks, that is my choice. Maybe it's overprotective, maybe neurotic, maybe it's instinctual, maybe sensible. I am the one that has to live with my parenting choices, not anyone else. And so is every other parent. Not their doctor, not your friends. I figure, I am the one (or my husband is the one!) who is up at 3 AM consoling our son if he can't sleep due to our travel plans. I am the one dealing with the consequences of my actions as a parent. We are the ones teaching him life lessons and how to feel about the world around him. We are the ones helping him to feel safe, to trust, to be compassionate, to communicate his feelings. When we focus on the attributes we want to reinforce, and we are thoughtful about how we support and display those qualities in our own life, we can easily pattern these attributes of character in everyday life for our children to see. It is important to trust ourselves as parents, to be aware of our own attitudes and behaviors, and to be present in the moment to do the best we can for our kids. If that makes me a little bit of a helicopter mom to someone else, so be it.