Helicopter mom. If you’re a millenial parent, then surely you’ve heard term. Those of us bestowed with this less than charming title are given it because we tend to “hover” over our children in public, swooping in to rescue them at the first sign of danger.
Venture over to any public playground and you will see a clear division between two types of mothers – the “heli’s” – those who helicopter, and the “non-heli’s” – those who don’t.
I am a “heli”, a self-proclaimed helicopter mom.
I am my children’s shadow. You will never catch me warming a bench when I take my daughters to the park. You will never see me looking at my cell phone as they play on the swings. I stand at attention, practically on top of my girls, nervously wondering if I made the right decision to allow them to climb a ladder to reach the top of the slide.
Other moms sit in judgement of me. I can hear them at the park. “Why don’t you just let them play by themselves?” “C’mon, she’s a big girl, she can do it.” “Are you a pilot, because you sure do like to fly that helicopter?”
They have no idea why I “need” to be right next to my daughters – because they don’t know my blindness only allows me to see about 10 to 15 feet in front of me.
These judgmental parents have no clue what it took for me to pack two toddlers up in a double stroller and cross a major intersection just to get to that park. They have no idea how badly I would love to let my kids run loose on the playground with only minimal supervision. These parents don’t know how much I would enjoy sitting on a park bench, soaking up the spring breeze and maybe having a chance to sip coffee.
That, however, is not in the cards when you’re a legally blind mother.
With vision in only one eye, I need to make sure that my kids are close enough that I can “see” where they are at all times. I need to carefully tread through the playground, making sure I don’t step on another child or trip over a lingering toy. I am my daughters mother and it’s my responsibity (not yours) to ensure they are safe when they play.
At times, my disability forces me to helicopter parent and I am okay with that.
I know I do my absolute best to provide my children with a well-rounded childhood. Having me for a mother can pose some logistical difficulties, but their safety, especially at this rambunctious toddler stage, is my top priority. There are countless ways I promote socialization and independence beyond the playground and I highly doubt having their mother stand beside them on a see-saw will create a need for a therapeutic intervention in the future.
As my daughters mature and become more cognizant of my blindness; we will discover ways to have experiences together where I may not have to be quite so on top of them. For now, being a helicopter mom in certain instances suits me just fine.
The next time you sit in judgement of another parent on that park bench, ask yourself “could there be another reason this mom is staying so close to their child?”
Look at me. See me. I carry a white cane. I pull my double stroller behind me. My daughters wear bells on their shoes for me to hear them. I don’t think you need to be Matlock to figure out I’m not your typical mother.
And if you find yourself still unable to get past your curiosity with regards to my helicopter parenting, how about you get off that comfy park bench and come on over and talk to me? Take the time to hear the reason for my parenting choices.
This helicopter mother loves her children just as much as that playground benchwarmer. I’m not asking you to adopt my parenting style; I’m just asking you to respectfully understand my disability plays a role in “how” I parent to ensure my children’s physical well-being.