I’ve always been a laid-back person. I take things as they go and pray for the best. I never worried more than I had to and always took the ‘if it’s meant to be’ approach to life. Until I had kids. Then my world changed upside down and I discovered cosseting tendencies I never knew existed.
My first-born is about to start Junior High in two days. Two FUCKING days! Yes, I’ve comes to terms that I actually have a child old enough to be in Junior High, and I’m cool with that. We’ve come so far, and I feel like I’ve been a pretty awesome parent in the process. I know in my heart that I’ve raised an amazing person that will eventually become an amazing woman in the future.
But for this huge transition in life; going from elementary school to middle school, whole new school, whole new schedule, whole new experience, suddenly I find myself in a whole new level of parenting.
I have become a Helicopter Parent.
This pisses me off. I hate labels. I hate being put into a box. I hate exuding behavior that can be categorized. Yet, here I am. And it all started with school supply shopping.
I downloaded the list and meticulously crossed it off. I questioned everything. I made sure she picked out every goddamn pen and pencil she would be happy with. Want this folder or that one? One Direction spiral notebook or the basic crap? Will this pencil holder fit all your shit or do you need something bigger? Which magnetic mirror do you want, because Lawd forbid you can’t check yourself in between classes. You want a locker chandelier and matching wallpaper? Hell no. Multi-color binders are a necessity, pick your fav colors. You need 300 sheets of loose-leaf paper and 500 index cards. Why? Hell if I know, just get them. No, 2 pocket folders are not acceptable; get the 3-prong, 2 pocket folders. And all highlighters need to be in different colors dammit! Do you have an equal amount of red, black and blue pens? Sticky notes….can never have enough sticky notes. Meh.
With that list completely crossed off, the interrogation began – Do you need anything else? Anything else?! Anything else?!?! Before I blow a capillary, DO YOU NEED ANYTHING ELSE?
She said no. Until today. Today was supply drop off and meet your new teacher day. As we set up her locker, we suddenly realized the items that we didn’t know she would need.
NOTE TO SELF: Go buy this, this, this and that. STAT.
Then I made her walk me through her whole schedule, starting from the front door in the morning until she leaves those doors in the afternoon. I made her lead ME. I made her tell ME where to go next. I made her show ME she could get into her locker in 5 seconds flat. I made HER introduce herself to her teachers. I allowed her to sprint along at her own pace, with me 20 steps behind her. I gave her a few tips and pointers on how to save time along the way. I suggested a better way to organize her locker. I prepped her supplies in ways she never thought of. I showed her short cuts to get from one class to another. I showed her which band locker to pick that might be better from the rest, and blahblahblah, blahblahblah……..
I’m shocked she didn’t bitch-slap me right there in the hallway.
I suddenly realized that I’ve become a Helicopter Parent.
I didn’t intend to. I just care so much – almost too much – and I want to see my baby succeed. I want to be there to hold her hand, but I also know I need to loosen the apron strings. This is the first step in the process. Yes, I am a proud Mama Bear. My protective material instincts are still intact. I hope this next year will allow me to loosen my grip. Slowly. Painlessly. Gracefully.
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