Are you a helicopter mum or a coffee mum?

November 14, 2009 at 9:07 pm 4 comments

helicof mums

Helicopter or Coffee?

I have been reading sooooo many blogs lately on what seems to be the new “it” topic – “Helicopter Parents”. My view I am sad to say is going to stray, drift, vary, no they’re not it; RUN now that’s it, my view is going to run far from the norm. Mainly because according to those particular blogs I am a helicopter parent. I have a feeling that some of the blogs I have been reading are written by coffee mums, yes, coffee mums.

While the coffee mums are sitting back naming us mums (that get off our buts and help our kids) “helicopters” we do the same thing. Us so called helicopter mums talk about the ones sitting around drinking coffee, and we have a whinge about the fact that we are the ones pushing your kids on the swing, picking them up as they fall off the fort and help them with copious other things that you seem happy to let us do for you. No we don’t have to do it but we don’t want your kids to miss out or more importantly get hurt.

I truly don’t believe that you can be a helicopter mum with a child under school age, however you can be negligent. Kids are reaching milestones each and every month. They are exploring new environments with newly acquired skills and sometimes these just don’t match. My son has learnt to climb, very high, very fast. However he has not learnt to get down. He can climb to the top of a large slide, he stands at the top and if I was not there he would walk straight off the edge falling the 1.5m to the ground. I show him step by step how to navigate his way back to the bottom.

I have a choice, fence off every possible thing that he might want to climb on or assist him. I choose to assist him as he is learning so much from exploring his environment. His hand eye coordination, balance, and strength to name a few are developing and he is happy. That is my goal as a mum, to have happy kids.

I do believe that you can be a coffee mum at every stage of your child’s life. Here are a couple of examples;

-The large community playgroup where a couple of mums assist the kids while other mums are inside chatting having a coffee. The mum outside would like one too; she is not being paid to look after your kids. She does not want her kids getting hit and kicked by yours. Just because you child is 3 and hers is 1 does not instantly make her referee. NO! kids cannot always work it out for themselves; some can’t speak not alone reason.

-The playground where the mum is pushing her child wants to have a swing so she takes her over only to have a total strangers child appear to have a turn too. The mum asks where her mummy is to see that the mummy is enjoying a chat with her friends. This mummy would love to have a chat with her friends too! I must admit, I no longer give other peoples kids swings, not because I’m being mean, but if their kid falls off they are likely to sue you for putting their kid on the swing in the first place.

Yes I do believe there are some parents out there that are helicopters, I once taught grade 4 and a particular mother walked her child in each and every day of the year, helped her son unpack his bag had a brief chat to me most days would stay and help out and then she would go. Now her son did not have any disabilities, he was very bright, well adjusted and respected by his classmates. I know that if he needed to do anything by himself he could, he was not hindered by his mothers help and nor were I. She was fantastic. From what I can see, I still bump into them in the shops; they are a close and loving family.

If there are any other hands on mums out there, please don’t be put off by all the name-calling. Assist your child if you feel they need it or if you want to. You only have one chance at raising a family. Do it your way, you are the expert on your child’s physical and emotional needs.

To all the mums who once came to playgroup with me. I love you all – you are fantastic mums, none of you were ever-coffee mums, and funny we still all got to have a chat and our kids seldom got hurt.

To the coffee mums out there reading this, next time you are at the park. Take a look the mums helping your kids and ask yourself did she come along to look after all the kids or did she come for a break too! Perhaps the old saying more hands makes lighter work fits better in this situation than too many cooks spoil the broth.

Now the big question after sitting staring at this for 15 minutes is do I hit publish? *deep breath in* YES

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Entry filed under: Kids, Whinge Time. Tags: , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rizoleey  |  November 16, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Jayne Day – from Swish Lily wrote (at connect tomums)

    Nicole, what a wonderful post. I haven’t heard these phrases before but I avoid reading alot of these things as I believe enough pressure is put on Mums these days to conform to “societies standards”.
    I suppose I would be categorised as a Helicopter Parent – I can not ever remember sitting still as my kids grew and played – especially as you have said in the younger years. And even my eldest is 7 and he still likes me to “play” with him. And like you I believe it is important for the childs growth to be able to explore their abilities and environment but they do need to be kept safe.
    Sometimes I look at the coffee mums and wish I could do that occassionally – but I will have plenty of time for that later on. In the meantime I know I am an important part – the most important part along with my husband – in my children’s development.

    Reply
  • 2. Rizoleey  |  November 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Comment by Vicki ~ Lunalei
    Well I must admit that once and only once I was guilty of being a Champagne Mum. I was too busy drinking at the park (birthday celebration) and did not have my eye on my then 3 year old who quickly scaled some climbing equipment and then yelled for MUM. I was close by, but not close enough. He did not fall, but when I rushed over…boy did I get some dirty looks from the other Mum.

    I guess overall though I was a helicopter parent when my children were young, but I see more that a helicopter parent is one, that when their child is in High School, they are still doing their assignments, still hovering when the child is doing anything of independence, still checking their bags for school notes, still making their beds.

    Its hard to let go and let them grow, especially when they are teens, there seems to be alot more danger, then when they were toddlers grappling with swings.
    I have learnt to take a step back and give them a bit more less of mum the helicopter hovering over their every move.

    But I so get what you are saying. I think until the child is 15 and even then, we must maintain that hover over our kids, afterall we are their parents

    Reply
  • 3. Simone  |  November 16, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    I too have never heard these terms. Very interesting indeed.
    I guess if I am honest I would say I strive to find the balance between the 2. Of course most parents are helicopter parents in the beginning but then we seem to let go at varying times. I think we also learn to let go at different times with each child we have. Each child is different after all. My first child would scream if I left her side, couldn’t entertain herself for 1 minute nor work out her own battles in the playground. In hind sight these were not faults she was born with, rather my “hovering” greatly limited her ability to learn these skills.
    My last child however was a product of my own growth. She is happy to go to anyone on this world who shows even the remotest interest, will play happily in her room for hours on end and has the best lil friends a kid could have. My sons on the other hand….hmm a mixture of both I think! I really did learn a lot with each one!
    I think everyone also has encountered extreme versions of each parent type. There are parents of monsters who let them run riot at the park, and then there are the parents who detol their kids at every second touch of the play equipment. Both drive me nuts. Oh then there are the judgemental parents who assume just because you are reading a book, that you aren’t watching your kids and checking up after them after reading each paragraph
    I agree I use to take my kids to the park only to be bombarded by toddlers who needed noses blowed and swings pushed. I also run by the rule that if I want to help I do and if I dont feel like it dont.
    I guess basically I can see both side of the story. I love to go to the park and read a book or chat with friends(of course still watching the kiddies but not interfering unless necessary). I think that some space between you and your kid is very healthy occasionally. My kids have learnt that I am a person with needs just as they are, I needed time with friends or to myself and I hope that they learnt that being a mum doesnt meant 100% sacrifice of yourself.
    It took me a log time to learn that the person you have to look after first is you. If you dont look after you, then no one else will think they have to either. I use to think this selfish but actually I think I was a very immature 1st time mum, made myself a mater and thought that if I played hardest with my daughter, she walked 1st, talked 1st , read 1st etc etc then I came 1st as a mum. Pretty stupid really! I ended up with an intellectual smart mouth who had no clue how to interact with others, unless of course she was telling them how clever she was. Argh – the lessons we teach ourselves!
    Like everything in life – there needs to be a balance 🙂

    Reply
  • 4. Rizoleey  |  November 17, 2009 at 5:55 am

    Thanks Simone, I too have two screamers. One stopped at 18 months and let me go and do things, Mr 14 months still likes to know that I am around.

    Reply

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Nicole Carr


Rizoleey = Riley + Zoe
I loved writing a diary for both of my children during their first year, I also made them a wonderful scrapbook of photos. Since my son turned 1 I needed a new avenue to express my creativity - Blogging combines my love of scrapbooking, kids activities, photography and writing.
I hope you enjoy taking a peek at our lives.

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