I have been called many things as a mom (I think most are good). But, a ‘Hover Mother’, I am not.
I personally know and dearly love many so-called ‘Helicopter Moms’. Heck, 5 or 6 babies ago I was most likely one myself (okay, I know for a fact I was 100% a Germaphobic, Pessimistic, Hovering Helicopter, Angry Bear, Stray Cat, Alpha Wolf, Tiger Mother). But, with time and many kids comes wisdom. And sheer exhaustion. For the sake of transparency, and at the risk of having CPS called, here is some real life conversations I’ve had with my kids: “I don’t care if you go outside, just make sure you don’t get run over, m’kay?” “And please, try to fall out of that tree feet first. I’m honestly too busy for a trip to the ER right now. Plus, I don’t have a bra on.” Or “yes, absolutely you can swim in the pool, let me just put your life vest on. Hang on, I’ll go ahead and add some arm floaties and donut floaties to make sure the entire top half of your body stays above water at all times and then Mommy won’t have to dress up like Shamu in her black whale suit to get in the water next to you, doesn’t that sound like fun, sweetums?” And my personal favorite – “For real? You’re hungry again? Didn’t we just eat lunch like 5 hours ago? Here, have some Fruit Loops cereal and milk. It’s like those fancy all-in-one casserole dishes you see on Pinterest – your grains, fiber, fruit and dairy all in one bowl!”
Does this confession make me a lesser mother? Does it make some mothers cringe? Does it mean my children are less loved? Does it mean I am failing at parenting? Maybe, probably, no and I hope not?!
Listen, I don’t know a single person that is a perfect parent. I honestly don’t even know what a perfect parent would look like. And would it mean that they, in turn, are raising perfect kids?
Does such a thing exist?
Would we even want perfect kids?
I sure the heck know I wouldn’t. My kids are messy, loud and crazy. They fight and bicker and occasionally think it’s a good idea to get ‘lippy’ with me (no worries. They realize real quick-like that it is, in fact, not a good idea). Their idea of cleaning up their room consists of picking up 2 toys and getting 20 more out. A few store their dirty socks under the couch, most can be absolutely disgusting and sometimes they all make my house smell (for real though, what is that smell?!?) These kids of mine can make my head spin Exorcist-style with more efficiency than a brand spankin’ new front loading washing machine. I may have actually spewed green foulness from my mouth a time or two (not officially documented, but we are all fairly confident it happened).
But, to this Mama, my kids are imperfectly perfect. They are beautiful in their messiness. Their goofiness makes me laugh and the stories they can tell are just as big as their personalities. Each is uniquely made. Each is beautifully, perfectly and exceptionally flawed. Like a good pie, every individual slice, no matter how big or small, is one part of our family whole. Without one piece, the pie’s just not complete.
Let’s stop putting fellow mothers in categories and stereo-types. Can we just agree at the end of another draining day, whether you’ve spent it nursing a baby, cleaning up after a toddler, working a full time job, folding laundry or eating Bon Bon’s barefoot in the kitchen that we’re all just doing the best we can? And that no matter what “type” of parent we are – we all respond to the same name?
Even when we don’t want to because we’ve heard “MOOOOOOOOOOOOM” about 78 more times than we’d have preferred today?
So, let’s try a bit of mutual aid fellowship, friends. Because we’re all in this parenting thing together.
Here, I’ll go first: “My name is Kristin. I am a recovering Hover Mother. I consider myself a mediocre parent raising exceptional kids. I believe exceptionalism is so much more important than perfectionism. And I am still looking for that smell – seriously – what is that?!”