Go on. Admit it. You're a helicopter parent aren't you?
Not game to fess up? You're not the only one.
Because, for whoever invented this charming label – some self-satisfied wag of a "journalist" no doubt – it would seem that to worry and care about your children is some sort of a crime. At least, a social one.
One to be jeered at and sneered at. By whom, I'm not sure. Smug singles with no children? Or maybe parents with a brood so large that to even contemplate worrying about each one individually would necessitate growing octopus arms and eyes all over one's head. Or, even worse, and probably closest to the truth, other mummies.
Well I'm a helicopter parent and I'm proud of it.
I also only have one child – only one to focus on, and because he's my firstborn, I'm still learning as I go along. And I worry. A bit less than I did, now that he's past the age one milestone, admittedly, but still.
I worry about him falling over and breaking a newly minted tooth. I worry about him choking on a raisin. I worry about being a bad mother. I worry about him tripping clumsily and smashing his precious head on the coffee table. And so on. I try not to hover when he's trying to climb up the jungle gym for the first time, but sometimes, I just can't help it. So sue me.
In some circles, such as forums on-well known parenting websites (not this one, I hasten to add) the term "PFB", standing for "precious firstborn" is a derisory term, hurled at other posters too naïve to the scene to realize that to admit you are slightly obsessed with your child is a faux pas of the first order.
Likewise the helicopter insult. I remember reading, what seems like aeons ago, when Oscar was just two or three months old, a thread lambasting some poor woman and her mother, who the poster had observed at the local playground.
Apparently, their concern over the toddler in the their care in this situation was something so appalling that this poster was compelled to post the story up on the site's message board, inviting others to criticise and laugh about it.
I was so upset by the vitriol aimed at this poor family that it took me several months to even contemplate posting a question onto the board, for fear of being taunted and flamed for being too cautious, very silly or simply too paranoid.
I just do not get why we, as mothers, as women in fact, are so judgmental and awful to each other about the way we raise our kids. Everyone is trying their best, after all, and sometimes, when you don't know what you're doing, you can over-compensate. So what?
I have recently joined a mother's group, who welcomed me, a newbie to their little circle, with open and welcoming arms. We exchange information about our children, sharing tips about things that have worked for us, and our get togethers are the highlight of my week.
Yes, we all only have precious firstborns, but this sharing of information and emotional support between mothers is a very precious currency. One that gets us through these first, difficult years of child rearing. Knowing you are not alone and can lean on others who understand exactly what you are going though is the most important gift we can give each other, and cements lasting trust and friendships between families.
To call people unhelpful names and label them "helicopter parents" just for caring about their children is utterly stupid and completely anti-family, and it needs to stop.
Are you a helicopter parent? Are you happy to admit it?
Should mothers be kinder to each other and share worries rather than pouring scorn?