Helicopter Moms


I really hate to judge, but “Helicopter Moms” have always driven me totally crazy. I frequently roll my eyes at that mother who hovers over her children at the playground or a friend’s house, rarely letting them out of her site. The mother who has so many issues that her poor children aren’t allowed to have any good, old fun. How annoying are they?

I was pretty easy-going with Lily and by the time Evan came around, I was as mellow as jello. Whether the kids are at the park, the pool or playing with each other, I am able to totally tune out the chaos and noise, and just let the kids be kids. I think it’s better for everyone that way.

This summer, however, something changed. My children decided to actually… swim at the pool. To dunk underwater without the aid of floaties, vests or an adult. To kick their legs and pump their arms and actually move in the water. Gone were the days that they fearfully clung to me and were content playing under the fountain in the kiddie pool. And with those days, my peaceful afternoons in the water were over. They have become heart-stopping adventures as my elder children plunge confidently underwater for endless moments.

With them in the water, I am that annoying mother who holds my breath and can’t engage in a conversation because my eyes are glued solely on them. I grip the rail, palms turning white and heart rate quickened. I watch them, filled with a combination of pride and fear, realizing that I have become that mother I so despise. Only once they are draped in towels and headed home can I fully exhale.

I guess that Helicopter Moms aren’t so horrible after all. At least pool-side.


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  1. 1

    Jen, buried with children says

    Ok so I like to think that I am not a helicopter mom either but at the pool is a whole other ball game and maybe that b/c you can heal from a fall at the play ground but there is no healing from drowning. I freak out at the water now and my kids don’t swim underwater yet. Man, I am so in for it next summer.
    .-= Jen, buried with children´s last blog ..What Does a Murloc Say? =-.

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  2. 2

    Amber says

    I think you get a pass when there’s a pool involved. Kids drown, there are objective and very immediate risks involved. It’s not as if you’re sticking them in a bubble and not allowing them to go on the playground. Really, the fact that you’re letting them in the pool independently speaks to how much you’re NOT a helicopter mom.

    (I say this to justify the fact that I can’t let my 1-year-old and 4-year-old take a bath together without one hand on the baby at all times. I try not to helicopter, but there are times when I believe my attention is all that is keeping these children alive.)
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Maternity Leave in Canada by the Numbers =-.

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    • 3

      Scary Mommy says

      Yes, that’s true about the water. Maybe that’s a logical exception.

      So, what’s up with all the other mothers of similar aged children, who were sunbathing and reading while their kids swam?

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  3. 4

    christy says

    That is so funny! I have no choice at the pool – Fiona likes to try to crawl around the baby pool, but if she did that she’d choke because it’s a little too deep for that. I think Amber’s right too. What she said!
    .-= christy´s last blog ..Because I know you want a peek inside my brain, this is how I think =-.

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  4. 5

    Julie @ Angry Julie Monday says

    Yea, I’m like a hawk at the pool. Maybe becuz my kid has no fear. I also tend to watch other people’s kids becuz most of the time they are not watching their own kids, which completely freaks me out.

    But for the rest of the stuff, I’m pretty relaxed.
    .-= Julie @ Angry Julie Monday´s last blog ..Project Playhouse =-.

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  5. 6

    Notesfromthegrove says

    That’s sweet. Isn’t there a cute lifeguard to helicopter FOR you? If not, there really should be.
    .-= Notesfromthegrove´s last blog ..Flashback Friday: An Old Toy. =-.

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  6. 7

    Kay says

    Being super alert when the kids are in the water does NOT make you a helicopter mom. Holding your breath while junior plays in the sandbox or runs around in the back yard… THAT would make you a helicopter mom.
    As moms, we’ve all heard too many true stories of water related injuries for us to be anything other than vigilant. So I’d say this just makes you “normal”… whatever that is.
    The moms that are sunbathing and reading? Are either heavily medicated, completely oblivious to the danger (how is that possible?) or of the mind that someone else is paying attention, so why lower themselves to that level? Once the kids become a bit older and more comfortable in the water, you’ll be able to relax some, I promise.
    .-= Kay´s last blog ..I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was… Six Word Saturday =-.

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  7. 8

    Bruce says

    The more I can ignore my kids while out the better, but then I have friends that I feel like I have to watch their children for them when we hang out other wise their kids would play in on-coming traffic. It’s one thing to helicopter, it’s another to never take a glance to see where your child is at. You can only push the line so far. I agree with everybody else, the pool is just one of those areas where you have to be more watchful.

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  8. 9

    jess says

    Honestly, I’m just happy that they didn’t inherit your “wimpy” gene. If they can manage to keep their eyes open during a sleepover, I will be ecstatic!!!

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  9. 11

    Loukia says

    OH, phew… you don’t hate me after all! I am guilty of often being ‘that mom’ who can rarely let her kids out of her sight… I am okay with Christos playing in another room with friends alone – but not yet with Dimitry! But yes, the water is scary and even though they are swimming like little fishies now, you still have to be careful. Christos can swim on his own, but wearing a life jacket, and I’m obviously still holding Dimitry in the water.
    .-= Loukia´s last blog ..My petty complaint =-.

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  10. 12

    C @ Kid Things says

    My kids won’t go anywhere near the pool without a floatie and I’m glad. Even with those, though, they still have a tendancy to gulp mouthfuls of water.
    .-= C @ Kid Things´s last blog ..Showing Her Age =-.

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  11. 13

    Em says

    No helicopter involved, just being a mom – as for the chicks that read while their kids flop around, I’m betting they’re counting on you to hover.

    We have a pool. You can bet we have a triple lock/baby proof gate and beep on the house alarm should anyone go out there without me. You can’t be too safe with water. The playground? My kids eat dirt – no sweat.
    .-= Em´s last blog ..Make an experienced parent laugh, tell them your toddler woes. =-.

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    • 14

      Scary Mommy says

      We looked at a house once with a pool, and the pool was the reason we didn’t put a bid on it. The thought of it was just to stressful with little ones.

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  12. 16

    Jennifer says

    The water totally freaks me out. I just can’t help it. Other times I’m pretty laid back…. or at least I like to think that I am. LOL
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Home again, home again =-.

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  13. 17

    Cara says

    I don’t want to be a helicopter mom but my child seems to have a death wish. There is no ledge she won’t jump off of, no moving object she won’t walk in front of and no body of water she won’t dive into. She’s 22 months old. I don’t get a moment of peace. I wish I had a kid I could let run around.
    .-= Cara´s last blog ..Contradictions =-.

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  14. 19

    Lolli says

    I tend to lean more towards the let-em-be-kids side, but with 5, I kinda have to be that way. Granted, when AJ’s in the pool I’m right there with him, but for the most part I like the freedom–both for me and for them.
    .-= Lolli´s last blog ..Can I Book My Flight Tomorrow? =-.

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  15. 20

    Val says

    I’ve got a helicopter mother in law. If I send 9 yr old to the bathroom which is within sight of our table at a restaurant, she gets all fussy that she should go with her. Um no… She can do this by herself. But, but… No. It was worse when 9 yr old was younger. My mil lives with us, so at dinner, I have to separate them so if dd needs her meat cut, I’ll be the one to do it. Not hover over her plate for when she needs another bite…
    I think I just threw up just a little in my mouth remembering this…
    .-= Val´s last blog ..Current sewing project – Vest =-.

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  16. 22

    T Rex Mom says

    I hover quite a bit but my child is fearless and if I’m not close by he will jump right off the top of the jungle gym – he is only 20 months old. And I am totally paranoid around water – he is also fearless there too. We’ve had a couple kids here locally that have drowned so that just feeds into my water paranoia fears. As far as I’m concerned you can NEVER be too careful when it comes to kids and water.
    .-= T Rex Mom´s last blog ..I LOVE My Blog… =-.

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  17. 23

    Texan Mama says

    I still SO CLEARLY remember the first time I took my kids to the lake (beach) and let them swim without floaties. My daughter was 6 (almost 7) and a great swimmer. Plus, she could stand up in the water and it was only up to her chest. But still, watching her go under AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE HER freaked me the hell out. It’s different in a pool where you can potentially see a body at the bottom. But a lake? That shit was very scary.
    .-= Texan Mama´s last blog ..Clothes Sorting =-.

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  18. 25

    tracey says

    The lifeguards at our pool SUCK. It’s actually a blessing to know that fact so that I am never deluded into thinking that my kids are relatively safe. I AM finally ok with letting the older boys go to the deeper end without me, but it’s usually pretty empty at the pool, so I can do a constant headcount. The fun part is when I bring friends along and then can’t find someone! Good stuff!!
    .-= tracey´s last blog ..Like Miralax for the Mind =-.

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