Years ago I said to myself that if I did all the right parenting stuff in the early years, I would be less stressed when my kids became teenagers. Boy was I wrong! I constantly hovered, worried about hurt feelings, worried about homework, checked to see if they took their lunches that I packed the night before, remind them to grab their bags for extra curricular activities. When does it stop? The hovering, I mean. When did I become the helicopter mom?
My soon to be 16 year old son used to misplace his soccer cleats, or piano music or paper for class. There I was in a frantic mode hovering as I helped him. If he or his sister forgot homework, I would gladly leave work and take it to them at school. Mom to the rescue! I quickly realized that if I continued to solve their problems; they would never learn simple life lessons and figure stuff out for themselves! One of the hardest thing for a mother is to witness her child fail. No paper, no grade. However, I know now that one failing grade is not the end of the world, but a great teacher of responsibility. I feel confident that if my daughter forgot her lunch, she won’t die of starvation. A principal once told me that if I kept bringing her lunch, she’d keep forgetting it. She was right! However, I still yell “don’t forget your lunch” from the top of the stairs. I’m a work in progress.
I am comfortable playing the role of supportive mom. I’ve laid the groundwork and instilled values in them with parameters from which to work. I don't feel like I neglect them; because I don’t. If my daughter chooses to do her Science Fair project 3 nights before it’s due, it’s her responsibility, not mine. I’ve learned to let go and not take ownership of their projects. They enjoy having power over their tasks, especially when they get an ‘A’. They will have successful days and some disappointing ones. That’s life. It’s better to learn those lessons now. I know they’ll thank me later. As for me, I've parked my helicopter, for now, as I embrace my journey.