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Helicopter Moms Anonymous

The rise and fall of power

Hello. My name is Garine and I am a Control Freak and Helicopter Mom.

I know how everything is supposed to go and I know exactly what my kids, my husband, you and the President of the United States should be doing at any given moment of any given day.

When a group photo is being taken at a party, I'm the one who makes everyone move around to different positions, so that this person won't be blocking that person and the kids will be in front. If you try to add salt to the lentil soup I cooked for you, you will never hear the end of it.

On the reverse of that coin, I also don't like anyone telling me what to do, especially if I have exercised my womanly prerogative of changing my mind. I get pissed at my GPS mapping devise, after I decide the highway is too crowded and I want to take some backroads. The stupid, disembodied voice with the British accent (which I thought was so sophisticated and endearing at first) keeps telling me to “go. 300 feet. make. a. U. turn. . .” and I yell back at her, “YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!”

Are you rolling your eyes yet?

This is the dilemma of the control freak/helicopter mom. We dish it out, but we can't take it. And, in my head, I know that if I cannot take it, I should not be dishing it out. This is not-so-quietly pointed out to me every so often my family members.

I don't think this was my natural nature, though. You might have to go back to my grade school friends and ask if I was always this bossy as a kid. I tend to think that I had some of it in me, but it grew to critical mass with my entrance into motherhood. Motherhood endangers every woman of becoming a egomaniacal dictator.

You think Colonel Gadhafi has control issues? Try giving specific instructions to a middle-aged mother of three on how to fold a pair of socks and see where you end up. (Every Mom has her own method and her method is the best method, so put a sock in it, Mister!)

Here is how this happened to me: When I became in charge of a baby, I took it very seriously. I made sure everything was healthy and happy and clean. That takes a lot of mental and physical energy. As the immobile, cute babies became little kids, they generally did what I told them to do.

They adored me. I was Mom. I was brave – unafraid of spiders and other monsters that lurk at every turn. I was psychic – knew every detail of their schedule, what they liked to eat and who all their friends were. I was powerful – could make the lights go out and make the car move and was able to take them everywhere they wanted to go.

I knew the answer to any question they asked me. Even Dad agreed. When they went to him to ask if they could watch T.V. or about where babies come from, he would say, “Go ask your mother.”

I became the authority. Yes, of course I knew everything. I was THE procreator. I did the dishes, figured out the finances and knew how to get a peanut out of the nose of a small child. I was, and still am, protector and provider; chef and chauffeur; nurse and nurturer. I'm Mommy . . . and it went to my head.

I became the “Helicopter Mom” of modern pop media and I was in control.

But then, after years of total power, something horrible happened. These adoring children, who were my own personal cult following, reached a certain age when they started getting ideas of their own. They figured out that Mommy has no inkling which Pokemon can become invisible. They noticed that the teacher knows more about math than me. I don't even know the capital of Nebraska. They learned that the car runs because of gasoline and a key, not “Mommy magic.” Not only that, the sky won't fall down if they don't clean their room or brush their teeth.

They mounted a revolution against me and started walking to their friends' houses and doing their homework on their own.

This is the point where I, needing my empowerment fix, moved my control-freakishness out into the world. I got involved in the recreation sports team management and the PTA, where I could tell everyone what to do. I became more controlling with my co-workers, telling them where to have lunch and bringing them the break room coffee pot to show them they didn't clean it. I started taking it out on my GPS, dinner and all my poor family and friends who'd like to stand where ever they damn well please for a photograph at cousin Tina's wedding reception. I'm in a frustrating place.

So that is my story. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

You too can join Helicopter Moms Anonymous (HMA). You might be able to come to our next meeting, but you have to bring cookies, but not store bought . . . you should make some chocolate chip yourself . . . and if you could cut up some melon to go with it. . . but you don't chop nuts with those knives, do you? Maybe you can clean the knives with bleach . . . oh, and don't sit there, you can sit in the blue chair, it's more comfortable. . .

Janet TerLouw March 29, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Good article! So true of so many of us!
Jeannette Lemieux March 30, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Loved the article, it made me smile - but thank goodness I didn't become an egomaniacal dictator after having my children. I find I'm even more laid back now that I was before my kids. I don't care if the dishes are left over night, the cushions are 'plumped' just so and that everything is spotless. My days are not as structured (yes I still work full time - just a different career) and much more flexible.

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