Fly the Friendly Skies

helicopter in pink sky

My sons were in their mid teens when I first heard the term helicopter mom from a neighbor friend. I laughed and joked along, but secretly I wondered if it applied to me.

Oh yeah.

I believe a certain amount of hovering is necessary so that kids feel loved and secure; not thrown to the wolves to fend for themselves. Like with anything, however, too much of a good thing can throw dynamics out of whack. And isn't that the challenge each parent faces?

Sometimes the hover works. However, good intentions don't always make an ideal parent.

When one grows up in a large family—9 kids plus mom and dad in mine—it's impossible for parents to cover all the bases for their brood all of the time or really know them as individuals. It's challenging enough to keep up with their basic needs. Heart-to-heart talks were a rare indulgence.

And because I felt lost in the stew of siblings, I grew up to be an overcompensating parent. There was simply no middle ground.

I've since stored my helicopter beanie into the dark corner of the closet (I'd like to say long ago since, but that wouldn't be true), but sometimes I still get the urge to oil the blades just long enough to navigate any given adult child crisis. It's a small victory to be able to walk past the closet without even peeking inside.

Old habits die hard, but I'm getting my sea legs.

Years ago, when I was experiencing one of my own young mom crisis, my father shared his own insights from the comfort of his favorite recliner chair. He used to believe that being a parent would get easier as we kids got older, but instead it only got harder.

Say, what? No no no. That was so not what I wanted to hear.

But I now know what he meant.

This is my take: Somewhere along the line my mom role changed. I just gotta let them fly. On. Their. Own. And it's okay and appropriate to say it's my turn to find something new. I can be playful about it. I can go deep or skim the surface. But I don't have to make it hard.

Sure, I'll always be a mom. Just more of the sideline variety.

The hover craft has been officially decommissioned. Romeo that.


  1. Love Romeo that. There's some good things about the military that sticks with you. What a fun post. Mom decommissioned—your sons will cry mutiny.


    1. Ha! Either they'll cry mutiny or mutter, "It's about time!"


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