Since I started blogging a few months ago I’ve noticed that a lot of the blogs I follow are written by moms who, like me, have to split their time between writing, family, as well as a job or a home business that demands their attention. Even on the best days, I feel that I come up short. Either I didn’t get around to editing as much as I needed or I didn’t get to spend as much time with my girls as I would have liked to. The guilt kills me, but try as I might, I am just not willing to give up any of the things that make my life great: my family, my work or my writing. Not that I think I should have to choose, but there has to be an easier way. So I thought I might ask you, the readers, to offer suggestions. Perhaps you have figured out a way to have it all, or at least have most of it minus the guilt. Either way I am desparate for ideas, because I have set a deadline for myself and I am afraid…I am very afraid that I am going to let myself down and that I will lose the drive to keep going.
As parents we often have to tread carefully to avoid stepping on the fine line between good parenting and over parenting. How do we know when enough is enough? Is there a magic age when we can say that we have done all that we could for our children and that the time has come to step back?
I thought I was a helicopter parent. I hovered in preschool, in elementary school and would have continued to hover in high school if I had not walked into that invisible wall as my oldest daughter went off to her first day. It wasn’t an actual wall that stopped me…it was a look of sheer horror and embarrassment on my daughter’s face as she realized that I was stepping out of the car and following her. That look stopped me in my tracks. I realized that I had gone as far as I could. I stood outside her school like an abandoned child for a few minutes, before it hit me. This was it. No more greeting the teacher as the kids walked in and hanging around the classroom if they needed parent helpers. Apparently, once your kids hit high school, parent helpers are synonymous with the plague. I realized that I needed to get a life of my own, hence the desire to start a career as a writer. Also, I had some time to transition since I had another child and her teachers to harrass for a few more years.
Which brings me to the article about helicopter parenting. Apparently it is a real affliction. It seems that there are parents out there who haven’t heard of the invisible wall I was talking about. And if they did, they may have just crashed through it anyway. I’m not judging because I know I’m just as guilty of hovering, but I do draw the line at calling my children’s prospective employers or future university profs. But extreme hovering tactics aside, when do we let go? Do we deprive our children the benefit of our experiences and failures and allow them room to make their own mistakes? Is it hyper-parenting to want to spare your child the disappoinments that you have faced and give them an edge? I don’t have the answers, but I do know that it is a daily struggle to decide when to step in or back off. After all, it is our children’s future that’s at stake.