But I am a parent of my times, and so I know ALL about “helicopter parenting.” Honestly, I can’t take it too seriously. Do some parents go overboard? Yes. In every generation, are there some parents who are outliers of the norm and give the rest a bad name? Yes. Am I tired of this discussion? A resounding YES.
It might be because I’m a wee bit defensive, having just dropped my first kid off at college, and am facing the consequences of “attachment parenting.” (My preferred name for my parenting style.) Holy cow, no one told me it would be THIS hard. I knew it would be hard, but my household is reeling – Spouse and daughter included. And no one warned me how it would feel to be an “attachment parent,” and have those kids actually grow up into amazing young adults and, gasp, LEAVE.
In case you want to start, yes I have a life. I have an incredibly rewarding vocation as pastor. I have deep, close friends I see regularly. I practice yoga, and I’m studying to be a yoga teacher. My life does not revolve around my kids. BUT: When they were born, I nursed them, and found it very hard to leave them even for a night when they were babies and toddlers. When I weaned my first because I had a week-long youth mission trip in NYC, halfway through the week, my spouse and son joined us. I chose Doctor of Ministry program because friends lived in the area, and could watch my toddler for me. (Daughter came in-womb.) I didn’t plan it, but I’ve been entirely grateful that my work allows me the freedom to be there for my kids – after school, for sports, for rides (Just not on Sundays. Or some weeknights. That’s the gift and curse of parish ministry.)
And my kids are independent, fight their own fights, and when those times come, freely asked us to not get involved. And we don’t. But when we’d have the international students of the Hopkins Masters of Public Health over for dinner, and I heard these mothers and fathers leaving infants, and toddlers, and school kids behind, on another continent, for a year – my heart broke for them. And again, I was thankful I never had to make those agonizing choices. Motherhood and ministry just worked together, more or less seamlessly, with my personality and attached parenting.
Maybe that’s why we’re floundering so. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I would warn other parents who are practicing “attachment parenting.” It’s really, really hard when they leave the nest.