EEK! Two weeks. Clearly, I’m out of the habit of journal writing daily.
I’m a bit busy, of course, so I when I’ve had a few moments to write, I’ve been working on a complete restructuring of my book. ugh. Exhausting. I wonder sometimes if writers and artists have the same problem of envisioning something beautiful and breathtaking and then completing it and looking it over with a sneer. My oldest, S, is like that. She gets so mad that her little hands don’t yet have the dexterity to create the masterpiece she wants. It’s a hard life, I suppose. Ha!
Speaking of my sweet babies, I have been irritable lately. I keep seeing friends post things in a passive aggressive facebook war in which participants share articles about the pitfalls and dangers of being either a free range parent or a helicopter parent. (insert eyeroll)
When did we get so hung up on labeling everyone? Has it always been this way? Why can’t you just freaking be a parent?
Anyway, people in my crowd seem to be divided over things like whether parents should stay for practices and letting your kids walk to a park by themselves. I imagine that it’s a hard topic to argue with any credibility because: 1. Each kid is different and only their parents really know their kid well enough to make choices for them. 2. Neighborhoods/cities/towns vary 3. There’s a huge difference in ages that kids can be expected to do stuff without being stupid and getting themselves killed. (It’s my opinion that this actually decreases with age until about 22, but that’s a different story.)
I’ll freely admit I’m a “helicopter parent”… or at least, my free range parent friends think I am. Which I’m cool with. I’d be cool with being a “free range” parent, too. Because I don’t really think I need to be offended or buoyed by a label on my parenting style. I just try to get through each day and hope my kids don’t jump to their deaths or try to eat fire or anything.
But I am super strict about knowing who they’re with and where they are.
Look, my best friend is a therapist who deals all day, every day with abused children. I did volunteer work with abused children in my early 20s. I have many, many friends who are survivors of abuse. And, without getting into the nitty gritty, I’ve suffered my own injustices that aren’t things I can make jokes out of to lighten the mood, so I often avoid speaking/writing about them entirely.
Not good stuff.
Do I believe my perception is probably skewed significantly?
Does that mean it’s easy to change?
So, anyway, here I am, one of those moms who doesn’t leave my kids with anyone unless I have gotten a blood sample, a health summary, and a criminal record. (Okay, I forgo the blood sample. Do you think I should get a blood sample?) But seriously, I am super-duper, extremely careful with who I allow to have alone time with my kiddos.
Not a problem, really, right?
Except… except we signed both kids up for t-ball and they freaking have practice Every. Single. Night. Of. The. Week.
And I teach a few nights out of the week, so there’s that, too. I kind of can’t be in two places at once.
You might be thinking, “what’s the big deal? These people have been cleared to work with kids.”
Well, I’ll tell you the big deal. A couple of their coaches last year looked and smelled like someone had rolled them in from a whiskey filled ditch and slapped a baseball cap on them. (Now, I will own the fact that there have been more than a handful of days in my life that I’ve had a similar stench, but those were pre-kid days or at least Saturdays when my kids were safely ensconced in a grandmother’s home. …and my ditch is usually filled with red wine. Or beer. You take your pick. But, hey. Momma needs a break sometimes.)
These coaches, though… they were just… off. They were weird.
And I mean, I am pretty weird, so if I think you’re weird, you’re like waaaaayyy up there on the weirdo scale. Like off the charts weird. And I know you get the “Predators are always someone you don’t expect” line allll the time. But, honestly? I think I’ve met too many predators because 9 times out of 10, they are totally the someone I’d expect. And several of the coaches gave me the heebie jeebies.
Ugh. I hate to be one of those panicky, overwrought mothers, but seriously- how do people deal with this?? It’s anxiety inducing.
So, yes. I might be a bit of a helicopter parent. At least about some things.
I did let my kids play in the yard by themselves the other day, though. I may or may not have been sitting right inside of the very large window with a cup of coffee and binoculars, attempting to use facial recognition software on every passerby. But at least they had the illusion of independence?
I guess I should just accept the label and be happy with it.
Cheers to the helicopter parents!
Hover like a mother!
(… I should probably copyright that saying and put it on t-shirts to sell to the PTA…)