Am I a Helicopter Parent?

I Hate Bubble Wrap: Could I Still Be a Helicopter Parent?

There’s something clearly wrong with me. I don’t like going to the swimming pool. I capitulated and bought a summer membership to the Shaw Park Pool near where we live because what kind of a selfish mother would I be to deprive my children of a swimming pool during summer. That’s what summer is supposed to be about.First off, as I have previously advised, I don’t want to get any sun whatsoever. None. So I saunter into the lounging area with my long-sleeved tunic that I wear over my 100 SPF sunscreen. I complete the look with big sunglasses and a floppy sun hat. I find the shadiest spot I can under an umbrella and feel like a vampire the whole time. I am an official Sun Curmudgeon. Also, I look and feel like Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company. I spend half the time glaring at toned twenty-somethings while I mutter insults under my breath about how they are peaking. I dream of smart-lipo and botox injections. I envy those women who are comfortable with themselves and just enjoy the fucking sunshine.

The other half of the time I spend trying to keep track of Devlin. Neither one of these activities is relaxing. After losing him for the fourth time in a half hour, I finally found Devlin in line for the twenty-foot high diving platform. There were children younger than him in line. It wasn’t immediately apparent to me whether I should let him jump or not. On the one hand, if he wanted to do it, it would be a great confidence booster. On the other hand, he’s had private swimming lessons for two years and we describe his swim skill level as “able not to drown”.

helicopter parent

I never considered myself as one of those overly-protectivehelicopter parents, but perhaps I’m delusional. In my meager defense, Devlin is not neuro-typical and has a heart-stopping habit of running away (a/k/a eloping) Two summers ago I took him to the emergency room three times in six weeks for self-induced head wounds. He’s just that kid. I try to let all my children, but especially Devlin because of his unique perspective as a child on the autism spectrum, make their own mistakes. I’m the parent that thinks to myself that one of the kids is really close to bonking their head on the table and if they are doing something stupid, have the attitude that, “well, if they bruise their noggin trying to juggle the cat and their slippers, they’ll know not to do that again.” But maybe I’m not really that cool. More empirical evidence needed.

I did let Devlin go off the high dive. He could never remember to hold his arms in so his arms hit the water like he was hurling towards earth from a plane without a parachute. That didn’t stop him from jumping off at least fifteen times before we left.

Like it? Share it!


  1. Jencoy

    No sunscreen, ever. I’m sure we all recall the days of baby oil mixed with iodine so we were more like roasted turkeys.

    Am I the only one who doesn’t remember my parents during childhood? The only time I remember my dad being at the pool was the summer I gave myself a concussion by walking on my hands into the pool wall under water. The concrete wall was not kind to my face. He was so rankled that he spanked me on the way to the hospital for scaring the shit out of him. I only developed a concussion to make him feel like a heel.

    1. Michelle

      I was a lifeguard at Oak Tree. Dad was continually telling me to wear a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. You, Sheryl, Jill, were all “naturally” darker than me. I had the blond hair, green eyes…..what was I thinking???? I, for some stupid reason wanted to “keep up”! Really hoping my dad wasn’t right and I end up the one with skin cancer!

  2. Dusky

    Jenn, you rock as a mom.
    I have great memories of us at the pool At Ft.Sill & Clinton but i don’t remember our parents ever coming with us come to think of it I don’t remember any sunscreen.
    Love you cuz

  3. ev

    Good for him!!! And good for you too. It’s hard letting them do things like that. Try letting one of them move 3000 miles away. Talk about bubble wrap and helicopters. The gray hairs keep sneaking in.

Leave a Reply