I would be classified as a helicopter mom. My kids are still very young so maybe this is justified, but I do understand that sometimes I go a little overboard when we are out in the real world. I hear tragic stories that happen to children and think “That could never be my kids” This isn’t because I think I am a better parent than those parents (I’m not), or because I think my children are more well-behaved (they aren’t), It is simple because when we are out in public I have a hand on my children always. And this is everywhere, the grocery store, the park, a secluded field with nothing around, it doesn’t matter. I realize this is ridiculous and that at 3 1/2 and 2 They probably don’t need to hold my hand at the grocery store if they are right next to me.
Yesterday we went to an amazing park with a farm animal barn, playground, and nature center. My children love places like this, but they get easily overwhelmed. I knew this would be the case when we pulled up to the Barn and there was a bus full of kids on a field trip. But we went anyway. We started off the same as always, hand in hand. By the time we got to the goats, Tim and Alice were already ahead of us looking at the ducks. The ducks are one of Tempest’s favorite animals so she was beyond excited when she saw them.
This is when I did the unthinkable. I let go. I told her to go ahead and catch up to Daddy and watched her run to her sister. It may have been less than 50 ft, with my eye on her the whole time, but there was other people around and this was a big step for me. The rest of the day I remembered to check in with myself. Was I being too overprotective? Could the girls walk on the path without holding my hands? could I trust Alice to walk over the bridge without falling over the edge? I know I can’t protect them from everything. I can’t save them from getting hurt always. They are going to have to experience pain, sadness, and mistakes. For now, I will celebrate one tiny step in allowing them more freedom.