I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pwffht! Pwffht! Pwffht!

(the sound of the chopper blades... or the sound which heralds a new post about Helicopter Mum.)

Earlier this week my trio went off to school camp for 3 days. I don't remember my American childhood being punctuated by these events, so for explanation purposes: it's a field trip, usually 2-3 days, which kids at Australian schools go to. Usually it's related to their field of study for that term. So in the case of my kids, because "gold" was the topic - they and the Grade 4's headed off for 3 days to Ballarat, a town famous for being a major destination during the Victorian Gold Rush and Sovereign Hill (replica gold rush town).

Helicopter Mum was in full flight over this trip - a trip which has been in the planning for several months. A trip which involved plenty of capable teachers acting as chaperones. A trip which every kid was counting the days to, a trip which was just bursting with excitement and adventure. So first it was the complaint that we didn't get given the phone number of their accommodation (no idea why we would need to call in the first place... but that's me). Then it was the declaration that HM's other daughter was having 'separation anxiety issues' about her sister going away for 2 nights. Uuum, hello, didn't ALL of us want to be only children at some point? I'm thinking separation anxiety is a euphemism for "bloody thrilled about it." Then it was the assertion that said little sister had nightmares the night before camp, due to earlier separation anxiety issues... which is just too ridiculous for me to comment on. Then there were the myriad little worries - will she eat enough? be warm enough? be cold enough? remember to tie her shoes? be able to sleep in a bunk bed? remember she left behind a neurotic mother?

And on and on and on and on and on and on it went. I understand that there are parents out there who are more protective of their kids - who want to wrap them in cotton wool and store them under glass rather than allow them some freedom. I would even understand the endless worrying if this kid was heading off on some youth group camp staffed by pimple-faced sixteen year olds. (Okay, I lied. I can't think of ANY time that amount of worry is warranted.) But this was a school activity, in a totally closed environment, supervised by teachers. Every single child on every single minute of every single day was accounted for. Helicopter Mum really just suffers from extreme anxiety - which I truly think is a mental health issue for her - but it's the kids who are dealing with the fallout of her own issues. Her kids can barely walk two feet without her hovering, questioning, worrying, nagging, or just plain robbing them of the joy of being children. At least one of her kids has already started to exhibit the same behaviours - which to me is worth a lot more worry time.

The rest of us parents just hang around and observe this, with as much internal eye-rolling and "is she for real?" as we can get away with...and to her face we just try and alleviate her worries and be comforting. Secretly, though, we're all taking bets on how long it is before her hen-pecked, suffocated, cloistered children take up with the wrong crowd and end up pregnant at age 15 because their Mum was too stressed out to explain to them about what sex is.

*eye roll*

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