I want to be a “free range parent”. But the reality is, I have a Helicopter Mom inside me that is dying to get out. I am in a constant battle to “push her down”. Every obstacle that my toddler climbs, she wants to hold his hand. Each piece of food my baby eats, she wants to mash up beyond recognition. At the first sign of a struggle, she wants jump in and help him velcro his shoes.
My inner-Helicopter Mom wants to protect my children. She wants to be helpful. And most of all, she wants to be responsive. Even though I desperately want my children to free-range in the backyard climbing trees and frolicking with our chickens, she continues to feed off of my personality type.
I am little bossy. A little “Type-A“. And a little controlling. These are all qualities that I am well-aware of and I try to keep the reins on as a mother and a wife. But I struggle.
I struggle to find the balance between protecting my children and empowering them to protect themselves.
I want to see my children grow and flourish as individuals separate from me. I want to give them physical and emotional distance to develop confidence in their own abilities. But that inner-Helicopter Mom desperately wants to take over.
She doesn’t want to see any sign of struggle. She wants to solve all the problems and stand next to them in all the battles.
I want to be a helping hand. But on the contrary, I also want them to solve their own problems. I want them to be persistent. I want them to persevere. So the battle continues. The first time one of my children falls out of that tree in the backyard or gets salmonella poisoning from the chicken coop I am going to bury my head in my hands and tell myself: I should have hovered. I should have let out my propeller.
But the rest of the time, when I see them exploring, growing, and thriving…I will be thankful that I worked hard to allow each to develop into their own person on their own time.
Twenty years from now I want my kids to come to me for advice–not answers. I want them to be able to find their own answers.
Battling my inner-Helicoper Mom is my biggest parenting struggle. What’s yours?
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