Helicopter Mom Trying to Raise an Independent Child
My son is just shy of his four month birthday and my husband already jokingly calls me a helicopter mom! Yes, the moment my son cries, I am there. I am absolutely incapable of letting my son cry it out and I have absolutely no inclination to let him do so. (No judgment to those that do, I just can’t handle it.) In my eyes, we are there to comfort and love our children, not let them get so upset they give up on calling for us and then “soothe” themselves. I, personally, do not see the value in it and can see a whole list of negatives. Of course, when my son is older, I want to teach him how to deal with his feelings and how to share those feelings with others, but right now, he is just too small for that, and that’s okay with me! He will only need me for so long, so I relish every moment I get to be his security blanket. Right now, his only job is to know that mommy and daddy are there to take care of him and to trust us. We can work on everything else later.
While I am there to protect and comfort him, it is of the utmost importance to me that he have his independence. To some, that may seem like a contradiction, but I think both can be achieved at once! We already give him plenty of his own time, even at such a young age. (Or at least the illusion of such!) His favorite “independent” time is bath time. Of course, I don’t leave his side, but he normally has about thirty minutes to just enjoy himself. He absolutely loves the bath and can sit in it for quite a long time and just relax. In his future, it will be so important for him to know that he can slow down and take time for himself to just chill, so I am hoping this is something that we can manifest in him early on. I sit next to him and talk to him when he looks at me, but mostly just observe and let him do his thing until it is time for him to get washed up and get out.
We also let him have his own time when he wakes up in the morning. He sleeps swaddled in a Rock N Play in his own room and has finally gotten to where he sleeps pretty much all night long (hallelujah!). When he wakes up in the morning, he lays there for quite some time with his eyes open just taking it all in. It is absolutely adorable. Then, when he is ready, he starts “talking”. He isn’t mad, he is just making noises to let us know that he is awake and ready to be gotten. Going in and getting him up is my favorite part of the morning. I go in, turn off his Rock N Play and tell him good morning and ask him how he slept. He always looks up at me, happy as can be, with the biggest smile on his face. It brings so much joy to my whole day.
He is allowed to have his own time. He is allowed to make his own noises. He is his own person and I want him to know that. While I will always be there, probably very close by, I want him to have the space that he needs to learn and grow both physically and emotionally. There has to be middle ground. I can protect my child and love on him and do all the things I want to do and still teach my child that it is okay for him to be who he wants to be and do what he wants to do. So call me a helicopter mom if you will, I don’t care. I will continue to be there the second my baby needs me, or any other time I see fit, for that matter. Just know that we are developing a system that works for us, that we are both comfortable with, and that should be the goal of every parent. Helicopter moms, unite!