Okay, look – let me preface this by saying, I’m really in NO position to be giving anyone parenting advice. Not only have I been a mother for less than 3 years, but I’m only kind of good at it. I keep my kid fed, clothed and relatively happy but everything else is hit or miss. Of course everyone thinks their kid is genius and I’m no exception, but really that girl’s intelligence comes from her Daddy’s nerd genes and lots of prayer. Maaaaybe I’ve done some things (you know, like teach her English, Spanish and sign language, but who’s counting?) but for the most part, I think my parenting style is more of the relaxed nature. This may change when said toddler turns into a preschooler, tween and teenager but for now, I’m finding that the less helicopter’y I am, the happier we are. I’m saying this is a former helicopter mom. Does this lifestyle work for every mama, kid and family? Absolutely not. However, I’m learning the more I trust my child’s ability without hovering over her, the more confident she is. The following has definitely helped!
Listen to your child
“I can do it, mama.” My 2.5 year old utters this a dozen times a day and even though I feel like she’s too small to crawl out of her car seat herself, I let her do it. The old me was all, “Nooo, Mommy is going to help you.” But how is my helping her AFTER she’s requested to do it herself helping her become independent? Yes, I’ve got the life experience thing but if she feels confident enough to at least attempt something, shouldn’t I honor that request?
As mothers, I know often times our kids put us in these stressful situations where a thousand thoughts start popping up in our heads. I am guilty of this. I’m always seeing the worst case scenario first but I’m learning how to breathe. It sounds simply but when your toddler attempts to climb a 4-foot wall, keeping chill just ain’t easy. Take a second to take a deep breath and be prepared.
Be in the moment – don’t control the moment
Sometimes I’m so busy telling my daughter what she shouldn’t be doing that I don’t allow her to make her own decisions and mistakes. As adults, we see mistakes are bad, right? But how else will you learn the best ways to do something? More times than not, you’re going to fall before you walk. And that’s okay! Instead of tossing out hints for what should be happening, I’m learning how to just be in the moment. I’ve learned how to be on the sidelines instead of always being the coach.
Think about it. Our kids are pretty incredible, right? Messy, a little nutty and they drive us batty but when they’ve gone to bed, tell me you don’t stare silently at them, grateful for their presence. We’re doing something right. We aren’t perfect parents and some days are just downright awful, but we’re getting by, slowly but surely. We’ve got to trust that we are doing a great job at raising confident and independent beings.
So how about you? Are you a helicopter mom or are you the exact opposite?