Please welcome our newest blogger Celeste Cox
Yep. I'm new here! *waves hand* So this happened to me about a week ago and these were my thoughts on the situation. I hope reading it makes your day even just a little better. Enjoy!
My daughter has always been independent. Never afraid to venture off on her own. We've had our "fun" adventures, me running after her as she escapes across the park, me chasing her through the grocery store.
But there's a first time for everything. And with toddlers, it usually happens when you least expect it. And in public.
For some reason she didn't speed off into the Chik-fil-A playroom when I took her towards the glass door. Instead she was cautious. She needed me to guide her in there. So I did. But once she was inside I figured I could leave. I knew it. It's how it always went. She'd blow me kisses goodbye and that'd be that.
Tears. Shocking tears. A look on her face that said, "Mom why are you leaving me?" I made it out the door then looked through the glass nervously though I tried hiding my nerves with a reassuring wave and smile. More tears. Alice and Wonderland type tears that would probably fill up the entire playroom if I didn't go back in.
This was new. I'd never had to ween her into playing on her own. I went back in. Watched her calm and smile. Then thought, OK, that was simply a fluke. I can leave now. She's always fine. Just a fluke.
I tried it three more times. But in the end it just didn't feel right trying to force her to play by herself. She was afraid. I had no idea why. Could've been a million reasons. But all I knew was that she needed me. So I stayed. I backed myself in a corner trying not to be trampled by the screaming and running at 100 miles a minute kids. It was a small, cramped playroom. Definitely not intended for a pregnant mom to be hovering around. But there I was. Just standing there, smiling every time my daughter glanced my way.
When it was time to leave, I saw the other moms sitting happily in their seats, their kids happily playing ON THEIR OWN. None of the moms smiled at me, they were looking at me, but not smiling. But that was fine. It was the words I heard one of them say. She must've thought I couldn't hear her with all the kids screams and the chatter everywhere. Or maybe she figured my pregnancy meant my hearing was impaired too. But I heard it. And it hit me, physically. Louder than anything in the entire place.
What a helicopter mom.
Blushing. Was I blushing? I don't usually blush, but maybe I was? Or again, it had to be something related to pregnancy, like hot flashes, right? Not actual blushing. Who cared what some other mom thought of me? No biggie.
But as we sat in our seats to eat our food, the mom and her friends giving me side glances (and I could've been imagining the side glances, and evil red eyes—OK definitely imagining the evil red eyes), I couldn't help run the words in my head over and over again. A broken record player.
I was slipping. Slowly but surely I was drowning in the quicksand of insecurity and defeat. What did this mean? Was I a bad mom? Didn't I handle the situation the best I could?
And then my daughter looked up at me from eating her chicken strips and said, "thanks, mommy."Probably not for playing with her. Probably because I was feeding her. But still. I could see it in her eyes: love. Love for me. For being her mommy. For being hers. Uniquely hers.
So dear helicopter moms, non-helicopter moms, vegan moms, yoga moms, skittles and jellybean moms, and all types of moms out there, THANK YOU. Thank you for being moms. For trying. For loving your child the very best that you can. For fitting their needs and yours. For being there when you can. For assessing situations and acting on them to your best ability.
WHO CARES what title someone tacks on to you. As long as you remember the most important: MOM. You are a mom. And if you love and take care of your child or children, you are enough.
I'm not trying to bash on helicopter mom articles. There's some truth to it. But neither you or I can assume that because we have read some article about specific types of mothers that now we can spot them with our new and improved radar. What if that woman you think is a helicopter mom has a child with special needs? What if that woman playing with her child on the playground hasn't seen her child in a very long time? Or what if she's dealing with a situation you couldn't possibly know all the details about? And here you are, assuming the worst, that she's hovering, too involved.
Let's face it. There are negative effects to all sorts of parenting methods that WE WILL ALL MAKE. Not one of us moms is going to be the very best mom in the entire world no matter how many mugs, t-shirts, keychains we acquire saying so. Let's just be grateful we are moms. Let's be grateful for what we are doing right.
Instead of me begging you not to judge other moms, let me put it this way. Being a mom is hard. Whether you're at home all day cleaning up endless messes, or working outside of your home all day and missing your little one(s), it is hard. All of it. So why add to the heaping pile of hardness? Why worry about how another mom is handling a situation with her child? To observe and pat yourself on the back because you think you could've done better? But does that really make you feel better? Does that really help you feel accomplished as a mother? Doesn't it just make you wonder whether another mother is doing the same to you? Doesn't it just add more complication, self-doubt, worry, and make it all harder?
So maybe I was being a helicopter mom. So what? It felt right at the time. It's what made my daughter and I feel good, feel safe. It made us happy. And then I topped it off with a super healthy ice-cream cone!
And the world kept spinning. Or I guess I should say helicopter blades, eh?
You are enough. You are a mom. Whatever word someone decides to put in front of it, even if that word is amazing, just remember the most important: MOM. You. And you are enough.