Hovering :: Confessions of a Reluctant Helicopter Mom

I don’t see them, but I can feel their eyes rolling as I run by, arms up, desperately trying to catch my son before he plummets straight into the playground’s abyss–where forgotten legos and puffs of many flavors reside. 

I am loud. One might say, unhinged. And clearly not as carefree as my Forever 21 Batman Returns shirt suggests. 

I grab the small human as he exits the slide. I squeeze him. I nuzzle his sticky forehead against my face, glance up to the heavens, and sigh deeply in a way that makes a nearby tween shake her head.

The mom I’ve been trying to impress says, “oh, honey, let him fall”—like, the slide isn’t 100 feet high and there aren’t shards of glass littering the ground. {Forgive me, I’ve been known to exaggerate in dire circumstances.}

She kindly drops the subject; she gives me a sympathetic wink and turns her head, stifling a giggle but making her point. We’re not Facebook friends yet, so I have to assume she’ll update her status later with my heroic, albeit completely unnecessary rescue.

No one cheers for the helicopter mom. Hovering :: Confessions of a Reluctant Helicopter Mom | Houston Moms Blog

We move on to the swings. And deep down, I want to cry. Not because I fear for my child’s life or the sting from a stranger’s ridicule, but because the constant worrying is exhausting. And I didn’t think I would be this kind of mom.

I’m hovering. And I know it. And I was the girl that use to walk under interstates as a short cut to the French Quarter. Barefoot with a smile, handing out snacks.

Every day there is a new article making the rounds on social media, berating or encouraging a certain parenting behavior towards our children. Outwardly, I ignore them. To each his own, parent like you know best, my friend. But secretly, I’m desperately trying to find myself in the posts that highlight the carefree momma :: the one bringing forth freedom and a sense of daring in her children, all while letting them roam and learn, bump, and bruise.

The kind that doesn’t do a panic dive down the slide, trailing her offspring.

Not one part of me enjoys the hovering or the inability to let loose in a new environment when my children are near. My over-preparedness doesn’t come naturally, nor is it welcomed. And instead of making me feel better, I’m left drained and powerless, wishing for the comfort of my home and the security of well-trained babysitters

Hovering :: Confessions of a Reluctant Helicopter Mom | Houston Moms Blog

Playdates are a mess. 

I long to sit casually on the side of a new momma friend, relishing the moment of small talk and connection, while our children play safely in front of us, not a care in the world. In this fantasy, we occasionally look up, ensure the children are breathing and well, and go back to our recap of our latest Netflix binge or solo shopping trip. Then it ends with promises of future fearless playdates; ones that involve crocodile chases and self-propelled catapults. 

Instead, I’m the one apologizing profusely as I run through the wooden train structure for the tenth time, searching through the tunnels for a red-haired daredevil

Blame it on my “knock you when you’re down, ever-hungry” anxiety {which is increasingly worse since giving birth—postpartum anxiety is a real, breathing thing, y’all}, but I cannot physically let go and just watch them fall. I have tried, daily, and it ends up with chest pains and another glass of wine. 

Hovering :: Confessions of a Reluctant Helicopter Mom | Houston Moms Blog Hovering :: Confessions of a Reluctant Helicopter Mom | Houston Moms Blog

I am trying to find my balance through this beautiful mess. Because being a mom is so much harder than the books let on. And protecting these babes, while yearning for them to become the best version of themselves, is something I think every mother is at a constant battle within her heart and strict limits to achieve. And some of us are just better at juggling and yoga poses than others. Unfortunately for me, I haven’t developed the patience or flexibility required for either. I just wear the comfy pants.

Honestly, what most people might view as hovering, is just me trying not to crash {if we are sticking with this ‘copter theme}. I swear, I’m steering as carefully as possible, but since this is my first time piloting, I’m overly cautious and doubting my training. Also, terrified of heights. And turbulence. And someone sabotaged the auto-pilot and forgot to stock the beer cart. 

Sigh. 

One of the biggest steps I’ve taken to finding peace and shrinking my anxiety, was actually just a by-product of one of the most terrifying things I have ever done:: having another child. I learned pretty quickly that I simply couldn’t hover over two rockets aimed in opposite directions. And as rambunctious as my first born was, he had NOTHING on his little sister. Our lil firecracker, creating havoc and beauty wherever she goes. Before I even have the chance to worry, she’s already on the big kid slide–backwards, hopping on one foot, yodeling down that beast. 

Hovering :: Confessions of a Reluctant Helicopter Mom | Houston Moms Blog

She has taught me so much. And worth every new grey. 

And we have traveled the world together. Literally. Which has also helped with my hovering tendencies. Especially, when I can just tie her to me and climb the mountain. 

Hovering :: Confessions of a Reluctant Helicopter Mom | Houston Moms Blog

I want to give my children the space and responsibility to grow and become the biggest, most ambitious dreamers. I want them to be little and dirty and brave and kind. And I don’t want to have to climb in every freaking multi-leveled bouncy house to guarantee their safety and guard against imaginary dangers at the top. So I am learning, every day, to be courageous, more trusting, and open. And I’m remembering what it felt like dancing down the cobbled streets of Prague by myself, a wildflower, someone I hope my children will look up to and schedule future coffee dates with. 

But first I have to learn how to breathe in this new world I’ve created. The one where I am in charge of keeping other humans alive and sane. The one where running away to the nearest TJ Maxx for hours by myself, riding the high of scoring another lavender plush throw, just isn’t an option most days. 

I relay this not as a plea for pity or to seek justification, but just to say, hey, I’m doing my best here, stumbling as I go, praying you don’t want to leave our playdate halfway through.

So, hug a hoverer today. Or at least, throw them an unexpected smile. Because I guarantee you, they are just trying their best to live in a world that is scary and wonderful and in need of the fire-breathers as much as the daisy-collectors. 

I should know, I’m raising one of each. And they quite fancy my Batman tees.  

Hovering :: Confessions of a Reluctant Helicopter Mom | Houston Moms Blog

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One Response to Hovering :: Confessions of a Reluctant Helicopter Mom

  1. Bri May 3, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    Great post! : )

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