helicopter mom
Parenting, Real Life

Yeah, I’m the “Helicopter Mom”

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Ohhh… yeah. I’m THAT mom. The “Helicopter Mom.” What’s a Helicopter Mom? Well according to Wikipedia, it is:

“A helicopter parent (also called a cosseting parent or simply a cosseter) is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they hover overhead.”

The only thing that definition is missing is a picture of my profile right beside it. Here… this is better:

Image Example of: "Helicopter Mom,"

Image Example of: “Helicopter Mom”

Why do I KNOW this? Last week I took my 2 1/2-year-old to an inflatable play center (aka: “indoor mad house) and it’s safe to say my asthma that disappeared over 5 years ago, wanted to make a return. Here, I’ll set the scene:

  • Toddler runs through front door
  • Mommy holds toddler’s hand as he stretches like “Stretch Armstrong,” trying to get to each inflatable bounce house to jump, while I’m trying to pay for his entrance in.
  • Quick potty break for toddler (absolute torture for a toddler, because seriously… who needs to pee when there are 10 bounce houses that are calling your name)
  • Finish with potty break and toddler is off like a rocket, ready to tear the place up
  • Mommy is so excited to see toddler excited.
  • Toddler climbs biggest ladder to the biggest slide in the whole place. Mommy is no longer excited.
  • Mommy starts having heart palpitations, letting go of toddlers hand, while he joins TONS of other kids all on his own, to go down this massive plastic thing full of air. {AIR people!!! What if someone pops a hole in it while my kid is at the top and the whole thing collapses! Seriously… I need medication ya’ll.}
  • Toddler gets all the way to the top {mom is giving the evil eye to the 10-year-old behind the toddler, so he knows he better not push the toddler for going so slow up the ladder} and DOWN HE GOES!

(Watch it here): Video of the little guy going down the inflatable slide!

He did it! He really did it. I pick him up from the bottom, carry him over to the entrance and he’s ready to do it again.

I wish I could say that my anxiety ended after that first successful descent down the plastic ramp. Nope. My head was saying, “Ok, he went down it once, we got our $6 worth, now let’s get the heck outta here.” But my heart was saying, “Look at the smile on his face, and look how extremely happy he is.” Well moms, you know which one won.

So… all 20 times he went down the slide, I stood at the bottom {I won’t tell you how I got so wrapped up in watching his every move, that I even found myself blocking the entrance for other kids to be able to get on} and I made sure that there wasn’t going to be even a CHANCE that we left there with a bruise, scratch or hurt toe.

I wish I could say that I was done being “helicopter mom,” when we moved on to other bounce houses. Nope, I had to follow his every move, finding the lowest wall of each bounce house, so I could stand there and lean over, making sure he didn’t get trapped in a maze, or that another kid didn’t push/shove him.

What is wrong with me?!!  Is it because he’s my first born? Or that he’s only 2 1/2 and that 80% of the other kids there were between the ages of 8-10, and I was afraid of him getting hurt? Or is it that I just can’t let go? How in the world am I going to be able to let go of his little hand on the first day of school? (pit in stomach)

Are you a "Helicopter Mom?"

Why are some moms like this, and then there are other moms who can completely rest assured that their kid won’t get hurt in the bounce house, while they sit over in the corner working on their laptop? Now, older kids… I totally get that. But there were 2 and 3-year-olds running around without a parent.

Anyhoo… I can totally see the damaging effects my “helicopter mom,” tendencies can and probably will hurt my son. My over-protectiveness will never allow my son the freedom to learn some things on his own. He may turn in to a whiny, fearful, tattle-tale, and I don’t want that either!

Why am I just now noticing my helicopter mom signs?  Honestly… I stay at home with the kiddos, and my oldest is just now getting to be the age where I can take him to places like this, that involves being around a lot of other children. I mean yeah, we’ve been to birthday parties, but I know every kid and parent there usually, so it’s not the same.

So there ya go. You totally know one of my huge faults. I will struggle with this from here on out, and I will constantly be looking for ways to correct my behavior. Are you like me? Do you know someone like me? Do me a favor and “share” this on your Facebook page (just click the “f” icon at the top or bottom of this post) so I can see if I’m alone or how many moms out there are like me.  Maybe we can start a club! (chuckle, chuckle)  I’d LOVE to see what you other moms do to throw your “helicopter mom” tendencies out the window! Come on… this momma needs help, or my kid may turn out to be the “weird” one! 😉

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36 thoughts on “Yeah, I’m the “Helicopter Mom”

  1. Antoinette says:

    I don’t think being a helicopter is necessarily a bad thing. I only have 1 22 month old and I am a helicopter mom for sure. But, the reason I don’t think it is a bad thing is because every child is different. My sister has 4 kids and some are more physically confident than others. She worried less about the physically confident ones than the ones that were not sturdy until they were older. My son isn’t sturdy 🙂 haha. He is NOT like his cousins that can and often do climb and hurdle over the couches and are all over the place. If you feel like YOUR child needs a little extra attention then i say follow your instincts!!!! Just be aware as he gets older and be confident in his strengths as they develop! RIGHT? Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for using your God given natural instinct to protect your child.

    1. Jessica says:

      Thank you! I guess that is true… Every child is different for sure. I pray I become aware that it’s time to sit back and “let go” when he’s (and my other kiddo) are old enough to run wild at the bounce house without momma. 🙂
      Thank you for coming by, and your great comment! 🙂

  2. Bonnie says:

    First time visiting your blog, via pinterest! I was definitely a helicopter mom with my first, and I know many who are like that! I’m a bit more relaxed with the second…She is now 1 1/2 and while I still don’t like her to eat rocks…I’ve accepted that she’s going to swallow some dirt in her outdoor play and I’ve relaxed my need to rush over to her every two seconds to clean out her mouth;). I see mom’s with 3, 4, 5 kids who aren’t paying attention at all and I just wonder how their children survive (but they all have so far!) and vow I’ll never be like that 😉 (I’ve so far broken most of the “parenting” vows I’ve made, so I should probably just throw in the towel now!!!). Mommy-ing is hard enough without doubting yourself all the time, so just do what works best for you and him.

    1. Jessica says:

      Oh my goodness! First of all, I’m so glad that you found me via Pinterest! Thank you so much for letting me know! Second, WOW… you are so spot on {and you crack me up! Haha!} You’re so right, and I’m so glad to know that I’m not alone in the “parenting” vows department! Thanks for the encouragement! I love love love that you came by and left such an awesome comment. XOXO! 🙂

  3. christina says:

    Yes… it is because he is first born! But he is still a precious miracle. Loved this post. Newest follower.

    1. Jessica says:

      Haha! Good to know! I had a feeling that the fact he is my “first born,” would have something to do with it! I agree, he is a precious miracle… 2 year old tantrums and all. He’s a healthy, happy boy and that’s what matters. Thank you so much for coming, and being a follower. XOXO!

  4. Jen says:

    I’m going to chime in here as a mom with 9+ years experience. I was EXACTLY like that when my daughter was a toddler and even a little older. Every time we went to a Bounce U birthday party I left with a tension headache from watching my kid like a hawk and thinking of spinal cord damage the entire time. It gets easier over time. Last weekend I dropped my daughter off at a birthday party and left her there alone. I still haven’t let her sleep over anywhere where I don’t know the parents well, but I’m much better than I used to be and she seems like a normal kid to me. Stopping by from SITS and now going back over to critique your blog, even though I have nothing bad to say.

    1. Jessica says:

      You’re so sweet. Thank you so much for letting me know how you feel about it too. LOL…and you totally cracked me up with the “Tension headache,” comment. That’s soooo me! Thank you for the encouragement, and hope that I’ll be a little less “helicopterish,” in the future! Also thank you for coming by, and going back to critique… I’m sooo appreciative! XOXO!

    2. LK says:

      We have decided our kids will NEVER go to a sleepover unless it’s at a relative’s or a very good friend or ours. Both my husband and I had very shady things done to us at sleepovers, and it’s not a risk we’re willing to take. They may resent us, but they are much less likely to be molested.

      1. Jessica says:

        That’s so sad that you both had things done to you! 🙁 I completely understand, and your kiddos will too when they get older!

  5. Gailyc says:

    Totally loved this! I can absolutely relate. I was that parent, too, with my son. He’s now six, and although school was tough in the beginning, I’ve seen how much his confidence has grown and how much fun he has playing with his buddies when I’m letting him be, so that’s really helped me to keep my crazy helicoptering tendencies in check. Of course, I still scrub him within an inch of his life at bath time and jump each time he says “ouch,” but I think I’m getting better. Restraints are no longer necessary. 🙂 New follower from SITSGirls.

    1. Jessica says:

      Lol! I love how you “scrub him within an inch of his life,” that’s too funny! It’s so nice to know that there are other mom’s out there that do the same thing, and that you make me feel “normal,” with your comments! Haha! Thank you so much for coming by, and letting me know that you did!

  6. Lisa H. says:

    I think we all have a little bit of “helicopter mom” in us. In this day and age, it’s almost a necessity. My 11-year-old will be in middle school next year. I expect he’ll want to run with his buddies at football games in the fall, and not sit with the family. The thought of him running around in a football stadium, with a group of boys his age who are likely just as flaky as he is, not under my watchful eye all the time, kind of makes my stomach clench! My husband is good about telling me to take a deep breath and unbunch, and just let the boys grow up. It’s hard, though. (That being said, I’ve always loved bounce houses. Awesome way to wear my kids out so they’ll sleep! LOL) Stopping by from SITS!

    1. Jessica says:

      Haha! Oh gosh, that’s another thing! When they get to be about that age, and want to start going places with their buddies alone, makes me a little nauseous. Don’t think for a minute that I wasn’t totally excited about the bounce house wearing my toddler out for naptime! Haha! Thank you so much for coming by and letting me know that I’m not alone. 🙂

  7. JILL says:

    Thought this article was interesting after reading your blog post: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-leave-those-kids-alone/358631/

    The article is super LONG…but it reminds me of when we were kids (in the barn, in the “tunnel” under the road, in grandpa’s childhood house…how cool that was).

    1. Jessica says:

      What an awesome article. You’re so right… those things that we did when we were kids were definitely not “safe,” and we survived. I think you’ve gotten hurt more now on the farm, in your 30’s, than you did when you were a kid! Haha!

      1. Jill says:

        **Butt** yeah you’re proly right. 😉

  8. I think a lot of moms can relate to this! Thanks for sharing this on The Pin Junkie. It was one of the features this week! Hope you can stop by to grab a featured button and join this week’s party at http://www.thepinjunkie.com/2014/04/friday-link-party-61.html

    1. Jessica says:

      Yaaaay! That is fantabulous! Thank you so much for featuring my post! That is great! XOXO!

  9. Oh crap. I’m the exact same way. Except I didn’t know there was a term for it or that it’s something to work on LOL. I do now! Thanks for the article 🙂

    1. Jessica says:

      Baaahahahahaha! You crack me up! I’m not sure if it’s something that we need to work on or not. I’m struggling with that! Some say it’s normal and good… some say it’s not the best. I just know I need help when I start hyperventilating when he goes off by himself to explore. Haha! Thank you so much for coming by! I’m going to check your blog out now!

  10. Heidi says:

    First of all thank you for sharing your faults with us! Secondly, being a helicopter mom is way better than being one of those parents who drop their kid off and let them go nuts, ( my experience, those are the rude kids) making us moms turn into helicopter moms! I have anxiety issues when my kids and I are around lots of kids I don’t know and they’re playing rough and roudy, like kids should. I don’t do well in large crowds! You sound like you’re on the right path, being a great fun parent! I have a 12 ,10, 5, and 3 year old, and I have issues still with my older kids, I hover, from a distant even at grandmas house! Call me overbearing, overprotective, stuck up, but my kids safety and well being come first! Thanks for sharing a piece of you with me! P.S. My daughters name is Jessica! Great name!

    1. Jessica says:

      Oh my goodness, aren’t you the sweetest ever!!! You just made me feel so much better about this too! You have 4 kiddos!!? I sooo love that. That tells me you know what you’re talking about! Haha! Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts with me! I really hope you can keep coming back and visit! XOXO!

  11. Allison Burke says:

    Great post! Just found your blog also through Pinterest…my fave site – i.e. – time-waster, inspiration-getter, etc) 🙂 I actually realized the same dang thing at the ball park tonight about myself and sorry to say this is my 2nd born – so not so sure it has EVERYTHING to do w your baby boy being your first born. 🙂 I thought to myself before I ever even saw this post, wow i am watching her (my 3 yr old) EVERY move and watching over her non-stop. While the other parents had their kids running rampid throwing rocks (lol) – playing in the fields, etc. I, of course, let my girl play in the dirt, etc while we are there -(hey what else are ballparks good for when older sister has practice) – but I could feel myself watching non-stop just in case she needed me or of course to keep her from getting hurt. Wow, so glad to have read this – pretty cool i was having this same feeling an hour ago before I ever knew of this post! I have GOT to work on this within myself. 🙂 thanks for the honesty and a great parenting post. – Alli

    1. Jessica says:

      Alli, you are SUPER! I’m so glad that you found this on Pinterest and came by to check it out!! It is so nice to know that I’m not alone, and that there are other mommies out there that feel the same way.
      OMG. Ballparks give me the heebie-jeebies!!! I’m always afraid a ball will fly over the fence, a kid will throw a rock at mine, etc! LOL. I’m thinking we need a support group. Right!? LOL! I truly hope you get to come back and visit, so we can see what else we have in common! Thanks again!!!

  12. Julie says:

    I found this post on Pinterest just now – I soooo get you, mama! I am a total helicopter, all the time. My 3yo is so spirited that he will run away from me with no hesitation, anywhere (think parking lots…). When he was 18mo old, he very nearly threw himself off a 6ft tall piece of playground equipment. I’ve learned I almost have to helicopter, just to keep him safe! Maybe someday that will change…we’ll see, I guess.

    1. Jessica says:

      Oh.My.Gosh. How scary that would be! But I’d be doing the same thing, especially if there was an accident so close to happening! Goodness! Thank you so much for coming by and sharing!

  13. Honestly, you sound like me. But not just with my first, but with all three. I tell people that the type of mom I am must be considered a mental illness. I am a self diagnosed lunatic mother. People like me probably get medication from their doctor’s on a daily basis. I worry like crazy, I trust almost nobody, and I still struggle to not hover over my kids constantly at the park or similar places. It started when my oldest was little, and now I have a 8,6, &5 year old and I am still doing it. My kids have turned out awesome, but I do see the affects. They are shy, totally sheltered, and can be afraid of some situations. Buuuut…I don’t personally think it is wrong for me as a mom to trust my gut. I know lots of people would disagree, but I trust what my instincts (& common sense) tell me is dangerous or not. I know I can totally go overboard, but there are also times when I have trusted my gut and been right about people. I obviously haven’t achieved this yet, but I think if we try to find a balance we will be okay. I think some moms are just wired to be more “helicopter mom”, and some are more likely to be that mom in the corner on her laptop. We are all doing it our way, and it sounds like you are making the choices that feel right to you. I think that is what we all ought to do for our kids. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jessica says:

      Oh no… sign me up for the mental illness diagnosis. Haha! You’re right about trusting your gut, and that some moms are just totally different. I’m so glad that you came by and shared your thoughts. I really hope you come back again and let me know what you think! You’re so helpful! XOXO

  14. Bonnie a.k.a. LadyBlogger says:

    I see nothing wrong with being a helicopter mom…Of course, I’m one, too, so don’t listen to me! “Excited to meet you tomorrow at BBCSTL!

    1. Jessica says:

      Hahaha! I’m still thinking that we need to start a “helicopter mom” club. 🙂 I’m so heartbroken… I had to make the decision late last night to cancel my trip to BBCSTL. I was so looking forward to going and meeting you all, but I had to make the tough decision and cancel my plans. 🙁 I hope you have a great time, and I hope I can read some blog posts from it to learn some things that I missed out on! Thank you for coming by and chatting it up!

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  16. Farrah @ Reflective Mama says:

    Yep. Go ahead and put my picture right next to yours, Mama! I’m totally guilty, too. But I don’t see this as a bad thing! We all parent differently and in the ways that are make sense for us and our kiddos. I’m not scared of little bumps, scratches, or bruises. I can’t be when he refuses to let me clip his fingernails or constantly falls into the wall while trying to practice walking! But I am scared of gym day cares (germs!) and don’t let anyone else put him to sleep. Solidarity sister!

    1. Jessica says:

      I just literally “LAUGHED OUT LOUD.” Haha! You crack me up. I’m so glad that I’m not alone, and that we have each other to relate to! 🙂 Thank you for coming by and dropping a note. I’m so glad that you did!

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