The title of Tiger Mom is often used about many moms around my neck of the woods. Amy Chua revealed this revolution of mothers who will stop at nothing to ensure their children’s success in the book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. But, what about the other stereotypical Moms? The ones that hover over their children like fallible superheroes with a “Type A” sewn onto their sweatshirts, but in a comic sans font? The ones that want to ensure their children’s well-being without being verbally abusive? The ones that care too much about the outcome of their child-related decisions, but want to sustain a nurturing and caring environment, sometimes ad nauseum?
The moms that watch their children and digest their every move without blinking. I am a mother and I ride in a helicopter daily. Talk about edgy, right? I sit on the edge of my own private helicopter with the door stuck wide open, hoping the auto pilot will work because, most of the time, I’m half-asleep from all of the damn worry that circles my mind. My teeth are deteriorating from all of the grinding that I never notice, because the worry distracts me from it.
We buy all-organic, because we worry about the chemicals our kids consume. We only buy metal containers to protect our young from the BPA and other unknown chemicals that might break the news in the near future. In our minds, plastic touching food equals kid kryptonite. “Dishwasher safe” may be embossed on the plastic, but we spend hours hand-washing their snack and lunch containers, “just in case”.
We sign-up to be Room Parents and volunteer for any opportunity in the class, just to watch their behavior and evaluate whether they are flourishing or need more guidance. We spend hours researching how to get our children into the best college, when our kids are only 5. We sign our kids up for all of the right extracurricular activities to let their dreams soar. You love art? Okay, how can I make you the best graphic designer? You like Legos? Okay, how do I make you the best builders engineer? You like to bake? Okay, pastry chefs can make a good living, right?
Then, there’s the social part. Is my kid picking her nose and trying to share what she finds with her friends? Is she making “equal” friends and not just following the rest? Or, is she a bully and making others feel bad? As helicopter moms, we talk to our children. We talk so much and read so much about how to talk to them that we worry if we’re asking the right questions. We over-analyze our own experiences and want to ensure that our kids learn from our mistakes. We’re cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but would never dare serve them to our kids.
We’re always watching and wondering what tomorrow will bring, based on our decisions and the moves our kids make. I don’t speak for all helicopter moms, because we all have our different reasons for hovering. I was a latchkey kid. My mom worked. When she came home, she cooked, we ate and then went to bed. There was no conversation about life. There was no worry whether we would turn out right. Times were different. She was a great mom, but I want my kid to feel like I’m on her team. I want her to feel like we are a team. I want to help her reach her goals by giving her a lift, in whatever way I can. And, if that means I have to pick her up in my imaginary, G.I. Joe helicopter, then so be it.
Screw Jared Leto for the making the speech my daughter was going to make 20 years from now! Okay, aside from the single mom part, of course. Hubs has a part in all of this too, I guess.