Helicopter Moms, Hover On

helicopter2Exactly what is a helicopter mom? From what I gather, a helicopter mom is a mother who is overly concerned with her children, not providing them space to grow, roam free, and become their own person. You know, like a hoverer of sorts.

Here is my problem with the label “helicopter mom.” First of all, it is a label, and like many other friends, I am just not into labeling people. We all do different things at different times that work best for our families. Next, I want to know exactly what is meant by “overly” concerned. We really do need to stop comparing our parenting styles by criticizing others. Finally, my problem with this label is most of the time I hear it coming from my mothers of children under eight as they accuse other mothers of children under eight of “hovering.” Seriously, if your child is under eight, every mother should be hovering to some degree.

It is not hovering when you are trying to protect your two-year-old from falling into the glass table at Great Aunt Susan’s house. It is not hovering when you follow your three-year-old inside the play area for a moment while the other moms are sitting at the booth talking. It is not hovering when you care about your kindergartener’s progress at school and contact his teacher on a regular basis to check on her adjustment. It is not hovering when you encourage your seven-year-old on the sidelines with shouts of, “You can do it, Little Koala!” This is not hovering. They are kids. It is called giving a flip-flop.

Is it possible these mothers who give a flip-flop often give two flip-flops decorated with all things glitter and monogram? Yes, it is possible they can be slightly obsessive in different situations, overly anxious, and easily stressed about their child’s placement in the world. Yes, it is highly possible. But that is a completely different issue than hovering. Should these moms be labeled because you sent 24 stick and peel cards, and they handcrafted theirs with lace bordered burlap and chevron? Absolutely not. To each her own.

8t9y244tk8Children are . . . children. They have needs, and we are responsible for meeting them. We must help them feel safe and secure, give plenty of love and hugs and praise, listen and smile a lot, give them opportunities to talk and learn new things, take care of their feelings, and reward them appropriately. Every mother approaches these responsibilities differently. I believe motherhood is a journey, and, like our children, we grow along the way. The more mothers learn to let go of their obsessions, anxiety, and stress, the more they feel safe and secure in doing so, and the more they see their kiddo will be just fine . . . . And even when he does fall into the glass table, the trip to the ER wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t her fault. Life happens. Mothers learn these lessons internally, step by step. They learn these lessons as they feel safe to learn and make mistakes. Not when they are labeled. Labels from other moms only make things harder.

To be honest, I never hear mothers of middle-schoolers and teenagers engaging in such conversation about how others are raising their kiddos. So, if you are the mother of a little one, and your friends feel like you are overly involved and obnoxiously detailed, I say, Helicopter Mom, hover on. Thank you for giving a flip-flop. Find balance if you need it (only you really know), but never let someone make you feel guilty for loving your littles. They will get older and more independent soon enough. They will grow, and you will, too!

Andrena moved to Texas as a newlywed in 2006. She and her husband, Elten, have two active and loving boys, Ernest (born in 2009) and Andruw (born in 2010). Andrena finds great joy in simple living. She loves good food, good friends, and good conversation. In her free time, she likes to write and photograph her family. You can follow her personal blog at myandrena.com.


  1. I love this, Andrena! I wear my “helicopter mom” badge with pride! Balance takes time and every parent-child relationship is different. Judgement is not only unproductive but does little to ease the anxiety of anxious mamas. You hit the nail on the head!

  2. I’ll add that as a mom of several teens (high school and middle school), I have daily experience with other moms who DO talk about/criticize the parenting of others. I think it’s just as common though it typically centers on different things….freedom, phones, relationships, clothing, education, etc. I’m definitely more of a laid back, hands-off mama, but I often wonder if I would be if I didn’t have so many kids. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. I love this! Thank you for writing that just because one mom hovers a bit more, or differently, than the other moms who hover less or would rather not hover, doesn’t mean she’s “parenting too much” or “crowding her child and she should tone it down some…or stop.”


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