Maybe it's a stay-at-home-mom thing, but I'm really into blogs. I don't do the best at updating mine, mostly because I feel like our life is SO mundane, that no one cares to read about it, so why bother writing? But I do love to read them. I had to create a new folder in our favorites that is simply labeled "Blogs." I check them all faithfully almost every day, even the ones who are written by mine friends that haven't been updated in over a year. I don't want to miss a new post if they ever feel inspired to write again.
My friend Stef introduced me to a blog called Baby Bangs. I don't know the author personally. I like to think I know her mother, but I don't really. Her mom is Beth Moore of the fantastic Beth Moore Bible Studies fame. And her daughter has the most delightful mommy blog. Her latest post is called "Helicopter Moms Anonymous" and I've been thinking a lot about it. I may have to join.
Pumpkin Pie is only 2. She requires a LOT of supervision. But I'm starting to wonder if I've passed the point of normal supervision and fallen into the unsatisfying chasm of helicopter parenting. When we're at the park, I hover very closely as she climbs on the equipment and slides down the slides, guiding her away from the ladders in favor of the wider, sturdier stairs. When we're at home, if she's playing in another room and I haven't heard from her in about three minutes (not an exaggeration) I usually call out to find out what she's doing. If I can hear her chattering or playing then we can go quite some time in different rooms, but when all gets quiet I start to get nervous. I still dutifully cut up her hot dogs, grapes and any other large pieces of food into bites that could fit through my ring. (I read somewhere that if food is bigger than that, then the kid could choke.)
The world is pretty scary, but probably made scarier by the vast amount of information out there. Yes, kids can fall off of playground equipment and break their arms or their heads. Yes, kids can choke on food. Yes, kids sometimes accidentally hang themselves by the cords on the mini-blinds. But does it really happen THAT often? I try to think back to my childhood to remember what my mom did. Obviously I made it to adulthood alive and well. I don't remember her hovering around when I was playing. In fact, most of my memories of playing outside or in the basement or whatever involve her practically out of earshot. But is that because my memories start when I was about five, and didn't really need her close by anymore? Is it okay to hover around a two-year-old?
I'm also concerned that my hovering tendencies show a lack of trust in God. I fully understand that even under my supervision, Pumpkin Pie could get seriously hurt. She could fall in a blink of an eye and break some bone before I have a chance to catch her. Or she could choke on a grape while I am sitting next to her, sipping my tea. I recognize that I have to trust God with her life, and whenever I start to get panicky about things like this, I simply pray "Lord, protect her life." I feel like sometimes that is all I can do.
I keep telling myself that I will slowly let go as she gets older, but I hope I am not creating bad habits for myself. I do not want to rob her of any childhood joys because of my fear. I also don't want to be reckless and refuse to see how the world has changed. For instance, I'm not so sure that it's a good idea to let your kids play out on your neighborhood streets by themselves anymore. The advent of cell-phone usage while driving has made drivers a little less careful about driving, and I don't trust them to not run over my little kid as they reach over to pick up their ringing phone. Maybe this crosses the fearful line too.
I do NOT want to be a helicopter mom. But I'm afraid finding the balance won't be that easy.