Hover hover! My parenting is likened to a type of rotorcraft.
Here’s how Google defines my issue….
“some college officials see all this as the behaviour of an overindulged generation, raised by helicopter parents and lacking in resilience”
It took my 10 year old Daughter leaving for school camp to realize they just described me.
I almost feel like it’s a medical diagnosis but one you can’t buy medicine for. Well maybe vallium and vodka would help, but I’m not a big drinker and don’t fancy self medicating so looks like I need to get over this on my own, with a good four days away from my first born.
So here’s how it all started.
We have known about this camp for months. Three nights, four days and hours and hours away from home, and although this was going to be Miss 10’s first camp, she was super excited which helped ease the anxious feeling in my Mother filled bones.
I looked at accommodation close by to camp but was told “NO” by my Daughter, so there went that idea.
I wrote lists of things I thought she may need prior to recieving the note about what she in fact did need. I separated all of her things neatly into labelled zip lock freezer bags to make sure everything would be easy for her to find, and when the list said to pack a certain amount of items, I may or may not have packed double. Warning bells should have rang right there after hearing most of her friends packed for themselves, but carry on.
I shared my fears and tears about the thought of her leaving in two weeks on my Facebook Page, and many kind hearted Mums reached out and offered their experiences and pointed out she would have a ball, and it honestly made the rotor blades stop for a while. Well until late last night…..
I sprayed my Daughters pillow in my perfume so she could smell her Mumma bear whilst hours away in a bloody cabin in the sticks. I double checked her bags to make sure she had everything she needed for four days without me, AND my shift working Husband came home at 1:45am this morning to find me curled up in our bed crying. I was anxious and my chest hurt and I couldn’t sleep. I layed there worrying about everything from child abductors, snake bites and the camp itinerary which included rock climbing on day one and feared she may fall and break bones. I reassured myself that there were several teachers going on the trip, they would all have first aid and that I needed to calm my farm and try and get some sleep. A few hours passed, sleep to no avail and I was sending myself mad, so I had a hand shot of mini m&m’s, brushed my teeth and went back to bed. Chocolate is magical like that.
Fast forward to 6:30am this morning and many tears were shed (and only on my part). Although they weren’t hectic snot tears, they were ugly face pulling tears (think of the Kim Kardashian crying meme). Yep that was me in front of all of Year 5 and their parents on the school oval, only with wet hair from the shower, no make-up, and no glamorous clothing like Kim K, it wasn’t pretty. I tried to hide it once I composed myself but the red eyes were a giveaway.
To think I had promised my Daughter only moments earlier on the way to school I wouldn’t cry…… NAILED IT!
Everywhere I looked there were Mothers and Fathers waving their children off and heading back to their cars. Some parents laughing and saying they were looking forward to the break. Oh how I wished I could be like them. No, I was the crying Mother and was going to wait until that bus pulled out of the gates before I left.
I’d asked her to sit toward the back of the bus fearing a crash but no, she sat right at the front with her friends and she even hopped off the bus to give me one last kiss which melted my heart. As the driver hopped on and the doors closed, children were waving goodbye. My Daughter waved, blew me a kiss and closed the curtains. It was in that very moment I realised I was a helicopter parent. I wasn’t doing her any favours, and she probably, actually certainly closed those curtains because she didn’t want to see my cry again. My heart shattered into a gazillion pieces and I felt like a terrible mother.
So I did what any tired and emotional parent should do. I walked back to my car and headed straight for the Golden arches.
“Hi can I please have the largest chocolate mocha frappe with extra cream and chocolate” I muttered to the box in McDonalds drive through…
Mmmmmmm I was Mclovin the crap out of it until I had a brain freeze, but it helped, frozen head and all. I like to think all those icy calories helped numb my worry-wart-heli-parent brain.
I am now home, writing this post and have come to the realization that my darling little girl is growing up and I never want her to fear she can’t do anything because of my obsession for her safety and wellbeing. She is maturing and I need to trust in the way we have raised her that she will make good decisions and try and be sensible and responsible. When she doesn’t, that’s ok too because it’s just a part of life. I am not saying I am going to stop worrying and let her do anything and everything she wishes, but that I will stop putting my own issues ahead of what’s best for her by letting my not so little poppet spread her wings that bit farther.
Her going to camp is great for her and it’s been a great lesson for me too. I am now looking forward to her return, but no longer for my own selfish needs, but to hear all about her adventures.
My pledge to my Harmony is to try and put the fear to bed and stop the hovering, because lets face it. It’s not good for her, me or my health by inhaling frappes every time I’m suffering a little separation anxiety lol
To fellow heli-parents. It’s time to let go and let our kids grow up. It may take one moment to understand this and today I experienced that moment. Trust in your parenting, our kids will be ok.