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Mom Crush Monday – The Freedom Kids Need from Helicopter Parenting

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend with your families.  I’m here to bring you another Mom Crush Monday post.  This week I am featuring Sarah from The Halfassed Housewife.  Sarah, The Half-Assed Housewife, spends her sunny southwestern days chasing her herd of kidiots, half-assing housework and sometimes blogging. She likes her coffee as dark as her humor and as strong as her opinions.  I absolutely adore Sarah’s sarcasm and writing and I think you will too! This is one of my favorite posts of hers about helicopter parenting and why she doesn’t watch her kids play.

helicopter parenting

I don’t watch my kids play – the freedom kids need from helicopter parenting

I might be alot of things but a helicopter parent certainly isn’t one of them.  I don’t watch my kids. I don’t control my kids and their playtime or run behind them on the playground. I don’t hover. It wasn’t that long ago that I recall reading articles about free-range parenting (a term which has thankfully faded into the great unknown) and how parents were shamelessly ridiculed for not watching their kids play every moment of every day. 

Let me set the stage before someone calls Child Protection on me for “not watching my kids”. I’m currently not watching them as I type this. There is some army-style sneaking happening by the older kids and the little ones have made a giant mud-puddle after taking it upon themselves to water our newly planted Raspberry bushes and are, I am certain sitting in it.

They are playing, happily.

We have a large yard with a somewhat secure fence on all four sides. We actually have 2 acres of property. Our backfield is fenced so that, in theory, our asshole goats will stay back there. In Theory. We have sheds, wood piles, a “vintage car” parked on the guesthouse lawn, tool shed, four wheelers, trees, grass, sandboxes and mud-pits courtesy of an Idiot Australian Shepherd and a two-year old with a hose.

I can see and hear what it is going on outside almost at all times. When I can’t hear the kids, I go find them. I can spot them from the kitchen window climbing a tree, a fence or an addition they built to their Little Tykes castle using an old trash can.

They have places specifically designed for them. We have a trampoline, we have a swing set, we have a sandbox. Those kid-friendly areas are used frequently but rarely in the way they were intended. The trampoline is more like an MMA octagon, the sandbox is a buffet and the swing set has seen some crazy Ninja Warrior skills from all 3 kids. I have noticed the less I watch the kids, the more adventurous they become. Or, the less they think I am watching them, the more confident they become in themselves. I also notice some wierd things being created by them all. We adults would call them messes but in our brush-off sort of way – but they are masterpieces and feats of engineering in their own respect. They are created by my kids every single day. Had I been hovering or helicoptering my kids, these things never would have been created.

kids play

I have seen some impressive problem-solving occur from the kitchen window as I sip my coffee and don’t hover over my kids like a helicopter. I have watched the three kids form alliances and make deals and solve fights without my ever having to leave the comfort of my living room. Kids who spend the better part of an entire meal pinching, kicking, poking and fighting have spent hours upon hours working together to dig a hole for a fort or collect the perfect rocks for a castle wall. Granted, I have also seen my herd run screaming past the window with sticks. Just because I don’t helicopter does not mean I don’t parent. I took the sticks away and sent them back outside.

I will not hover, control or helicopter parent. I am what I like to think of as a Drone Parent. If I see or hear of something going down I appear from nowhere and shut-that-shit down Drone Strike style without warning. Whenever I see some real shit about to go down I appear magically in the front door, hollering in my most serious mom-voice something along the lines of “absolutely fucking not”. The kids look around as though the Voice of Reason has just called to them and then they quickly scramble to quit doing whatever it was mom caught them doing that they shouldn’t have been. The “absolutely fucking not” is reserved for moments like the time I saw two 7-year-olds transferring a pickaxe and a fire extinguisher from a shed to the backyard for reasons that I could only imagine. Nothing more needed to be said and we haven’t had that issue happen again. Sometimes a quick yell from the window about hitting, sharing, screaming like you’re dying or trying to get out of the gate will suffice.

This drone style parenting is not for the faint of heart. There is a risk that while you cook dinner, three feet from the door your kids will be covering one another head-to-frickin-toe with tile thin-set powder. There is a very good chance that you will have to hose off your child multiple times, probably millions, throughout their childhood. There is a good chance that scrapes and bruises will become commonplace, but you will see that tears and band-aids are only requested when absolutely necessary. I have seen small children tackle tasks much larger than themselves with the determination of a nation. There is a good chance you will start to believe that when a tiny voice tells you “NO! I CAN DO IT!” that they can.

Not a helicopter.

I had read an article months ago about somewhere in Europe creating what basically amounted to a Junk Yard where parents weren’t allowed beyond the gate so that kids could do what kids are supposed to do. Apparently, that is break shit and get tetanus. I wouldn’t necessarily take my kids to this pre-fab junkyard to bounce around BUT letting them explore their own surroundings, at their own will, without my constant hovering, nagging, directing and fun-stealing has really allowed everyone to grow.

I don’t miss anything because what I don’t see while peering at my children occasionally they excitedly tell me about. Tugging my shirt to come see their sand castle, mud pie, rock pile – or telling stories over dinner about their day. Sometimes they don’t tell us. Sometimes their dad and I will be out wandering the yard and find something that looks like an army fort or a ramp or who knows what. We found some Hay Hooks in the bushes once. Immediately moved those out of reach, but I bet that was a really fun game of pirates.

 Thanks so much Sarah for the laughs and a funny start to our Monday!

Are you a helicopter mom, drone parent or somewhere in the middle?

1 In Lifestyle/ mom crush monday/ parenting

Mom Crush Monday – 7 Goals Every Mom Should Have for Herself

 Happy Monday mamas!  One of the cool things that I have enjoyed as part of this blogging community has been connecting with other women and mothers like ourselves.  As such, I wanted to start something new where every Monday from now until Mother’s Day I feature a “Mom Crush Monday” post where I share a blogger that I enjoy following and a post of theirs that I think is special. 

To kick us off I am sharing Sierra from Beautifully Candid. Sierra is a fellow boymama like myself who is candid in sharing her experiences in motherhood. I love how real she and I admire her sense of humor, which is so important.  Here is her post 7 Goals Every Mom Should Have For Herself.

The past few weeks it seems like my boys have been sick off and on which has really limited us to being able to do alot.  On a good note, the slower pace has been nice for a change. I guess in between dealing with cleanup duty, I’ve had some time to sit around and think while everyone’s laid out on the couch watching Paw Patrol. I have all of these goals and self inflections that keep popping into my head.

I shared the above picture on my instagram last week because as much as we have so much fun and enjoy all of our adventures together, there are days where it is not easy. Having two under two was no walk in the park, but at the same time, I wouldn’t trade if for the world.

I’m thankful early on as a mother I was able to accept that things aren’t perfect, life with kids is messy and even when you think you have something figured out, usually one of them throws a monkey wrench in there and you need to adapt all over again.

I’m sharing what’s helped me as a mom, and when you think about it, we’re all in this together and can learn a thing or two from each other.

1. Give yourself grace: this has been the biggest one for me and such a weight lifted off of my shoulders when I accepted that perfection doesn’t exist. Let me rephrase that, I never really strived for perfection, but I think when you have an idea of motherhood in your head and it doesn’t go as planned, you need to give yourself grace. Before I had kids, I thought I had this parenting concept in the bag. I would look at other kids and think, not-ah, that won’t be my kid. I will not be a mom who takes my kids to McDonald’s, my kids are going to have cute clothes and they are going to use their manners always. Ha! Oh silly me. Sometimes momming can catch up to you and you need to  remind yourself that we’re all human and grace is a beautiful thing.

2. Build your confidence as a mom: there are some people that are really gifted and great with kids no matter what the situation is. I’m sure being a kid whisperer must be a thing right? I have friends who are teachers and some that have psychology degrees, and I would think, if I just knew a little bit more about dealing with kids maybe I could master this whole mom thing. What I’ve come to learn is regardless of your background, you know what’s best for your child and are a master in your own way. If you are confident in your abilities as a parent, it will switch your whole outlook and allow you to handle situations differently and utilize what works best for you.

3. Trust your instincts: It’s going to be a reoccurring thing over here with me saying you know your kid best because I truly believe that. When it comes to them not feeling well, grasping certain things or displaying odd behaviors, trust your gut.

4. Learn how to ask for help: this should seem like an easy one but you would be surprised at some people who are just not able to swallow their pride. I don’t think it makes you any less of a person if you reach out to someone and say “I can’t do it today” or “can you please help?” In fact, I applaud you for that. It’s ok to admit that on some days we might need an extra hand or a few minutes to just step away. In the end, it’s usually beneficial for everyone involved.

5. Learn how to say I’m sorry: this has also been a big one for me. I don’t intentionally do it but I’ve been guilty of automatically assuming that my older son has been the trouble maker in some of their toddler scuffles. I mean, knocking over someone’s Lego castle that they worked hard on is not cool. I’ve been in the other room preparing dinner and heard cries coming down the hall. Little nugget will run to me and without hearing the full story I’ve been quick to want to put A on a time-out. After I slow down and hear the whole story I’ve had to apologize several times for my own actions and mistakes as a parent. I think it’s so important for our children to hear when we are sorry and admit our mistakes.

6. Downtime goals: It’s important to also figure out a way to work in some downtime for yourself. This is something I have to remind myself of frequently because usually when I sit down I’m thinking about the three baskets of laundry in my room that I have yet to get to and still working on my superpowers to blink and magically make them go away. I always feel better after a cup of hot tea, lighting a scented candle, putting my phone away and catching up on one of my shows.

7. Learn how to laugh: some days I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, sometimes both, or maybe even at the same time. There’s a reason why we’re taught a cheerful heart is good like medicine. I can’t say we’re like this all the time and I don’t want to come off like a mom who laughs at her kids when the are upset, that’s not the case. But sometimes they come out with the silliest excuses to things, like how they can’t pick up their toys because their legs don’t work. You can’t help but laugh or you might drive yourself crazy. I also think a smile is contagious. If one of us starts smiling or laughing it creates a ripple effect and everyone ends up in a better mood.

Here’s to laughing, crying, saying I’m sorry, being confident and giving ourselves grace. You got this mama!

Thank you so much Sierra for sharing this piece with us! I think there are so many important reminders for all of us mamas. What is one thing you’ve learned on your motherhood journey?

Have a great week!