Is this the new normal….

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

     We all know that motherhood today is quite different from motherhood in the good old days. Moms today are way more involved.   On paper, it seems like this is a good thing. We take interest. We pay attention. We know what are kids are doing in school and afterwards. Over the years, we co-ordinate teams of experts pretty much from "mommy and me" to "college counselors"   to make sure that the kids have a talent in something, can swim and play sports, never fail a class and get into college. 

   The term is helicopter mom. I don't think that I am one of them but I certainly have to stay on top of everything that the minors in my home are doing, tell them what to do most of the time and yell about stuff a lot.  Maybe I am hovering a bit but it is too late to stop now. We are almost at the finish line.  Over the next three years, G-D willing, both of my kids will get accepted to college (in another city)  and I can be pretty much done.  Sure I'll have to fund their lives, but not continue to manage their lives, right? 

   When I went to college, my parents drove me up, dropped off my stuff in my dorm room and then headed to their hotel bar for some celebratory cocktails. I'm sure that they were toasting each other to something like  "one down, one to go".  I did not want them to unpack or decorate my dorm room and they did not offer.  I wanted them to leave town and let me start my life.   Obviously I depended on them for the rest of college for financial support (and once in a while advice) but they were not involved in my day-to-day operations during my University years or anytime after that.

Mug from nordstrom

    These days, it appears that the helicopter moms don't land when their kids go off to college. In fact, they seem way too involved.  According to my research, which mostly consists of the reading of Facebook posts of my friends, mothers today not only drop their kids off at college on the first day, they must help them decorate their dorm rooms so that they look Pinterest worthy. This does not appear to be a one shot deal either. Some of my friends move their kids into their new digs every single year of college and help them decorate.  Huh? I don't think that my parents even saw where I lived after my sophomore year at college. They just kept sending checks. It was the perfect arrangement. 

    Then there are the weekends visiting. Not just once a year. These parents are heading into college towns for multiple visits per school year. I love my folks but I specifically recall that when they did visit, it seriously put a crimp in my style.  Sure the annual visits which included some fancy meals and some shoe shopping were great but I was happy when they hightailed it back home so I could continue with my college life.  And it was not just me. I don't ever remember any of my roommates or sorority sisters getting more than one visit a year from anyone in their families, if that. 

     Another friend whose son is a college freshman bragged that her son and she text all day long.    I think that it is great that they communicate but isn't he supposed to be making friends and learning how to play beer pong. If he wanted to talk to his mom all day, maybe he should have saved her the $60,000 a year (this is a true figure) and gone to community college. 

     Even worse, a Facebook friend of mine posted photos of herself  at her daughter's law school orientation.  I went to law school and I don't remember ever meeting (or even hearing about) anyone's parents unless they were hiring law clerks. Is my friend going to sneak into court for her first trial? Will she yell at the Judge if he rules against her baby?  Let's hope not.

    Another friend's son recently got accepted to college. This was exciting news because he did not always seem to be the college-bound type. I called her up to tell her how jealous I was that she was done with the college planning and  to say "Mazel Tov! Congrats! You did it! The bird is leaving the nest!" Instead of being excited she is already fretting about what she is going to line up for him after college. "What is he going to do for the rest of his life?", she cried.   

    Seriously, isn't that what kids are supposed to figure out in college.   

* I reserve the right to delete this post in the very near future when my sons become college bound!



Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

This gave me a good laugh on many levels, but sadly, it's all true! I felt very much the way you did when I was in college. With a high school sophomore, I'm just getting my feet wet with this college thing, but I'm already not sleeping nights, worrying about whether he'll get in, and if he does, will he be able to hack it? I need an intervention! Or a drink! Or both :) Thanks for this - loved it!

Courtney [Sweet Turtle Soup] said...

Ha! I mean I am certainly no where near that and I don't know any parents with kids ready for college, esp on FB. Oh wait, I know one with older kids and they seem to help with everything. I always think it is, shouldn't the kids be doing that themselves? Hopefully I feel the same way when Aria is college bound because it isn't the real world but it certainly is a learning experience so you can handle yourself in life.

angryparsnip said...

I helped each of my children move into their dorm rooms. They wanted the help caring up boxes of stuff. I stocked the Frig. The next day I helped with anything they needed, we went out for lunch or a dinner.
I said goodbye and drove off. I think the next time I saw them is when they were packing to drive home.
The only son I didn't help was when he was at school in England and Japan. I bought his ticket and gave him money for school he did the rest.
I can't believe the Mom who is texting all day. I feel for the poor kid.
Yes you miss them but my goodness let them grow and leave.
One of Daughters friends mother went to a professor they had and argued her daughters grade.

It gets crazy when applying and getting the acceptances letters. So many mothers get caught up in one upping each other. Be fore warned and have a huge bottle of Advil handy.

Good Luck !
cheers, parsnip

NanaDiana said...

Yep- been I gave advice WHEN ASKED FOR and financial support. It was not always easy to "let go" but I think yo have to or you essentially cripple your children to some extent.

We ended up with four successful kids that we loved, but didn't coddle. They all have great jobs and good families...and are happily married (except for the son that married an idiot)lol....not only MY opinion on that one, by the way. He is single now and once again happy. (He did NOT take my advice when he asked if I thought he should marry her)...see what happens when you DON'T listen to your Mom?!?!

I loved this post, Julie! xo Diana

Susie said...

Japolina, I think our parenting "job" is to raise the children up with good morals and a sense of making the right choices. Once they go to college, yes you may want to see those grades and attendance records. Hey, if you are paying, you want the kid in class. to be need to know they may not get a job in their field of studies...sad fact.
When my oldest went to college, I cried every day for a long time. It was a sense of loss...I think that is a bit empty nest feeling...even though I still had three more to get out the door. LOL. Julie, the world is a bit scarier than when I went through this. I think your boys know, you will always be there for them..just not holding their hands. Give yourself a nice pat on the back, you are a great mom. You know I tell people take time for each other(mates) ..because once those kids have left home, you want the person left with you to be your best friend....some people get all busy raising kids, getting them out of the house and then they are looking across the table at a stranger. Sweetheart, never let that happen. Blessings my dear friend, xoxo,Susie

I Heart Miami said...

Wow..clearly I came from the opposite end! I did everything I needed to do to get into college on my own (visits, applications, etc.) I'm thankful my parents trusted me on that part to figure out somethings on my own, though I'm sure I could have used some of their guidance at the time...but I would have gone absolutely crazy if they were helicopter parents. What's the point of "growing up/live it/make mistakes/learn from them" if they are doing everything for you!!!

Katie Clooney said...

I hate helicopter parents. I kept a close eye on my girls, read their emails and texts when they weren't looking. I think I was more of a James Bond mom than a helicopter mom. Great post.

Red Rose Alley said...

Japolina, this is interesting and very different to me, as I got married at 20 and was on my own. The girls moved out when they were around 19, and did almost everything on their own. I am certainly involved with my kids and I give them advice, but the decisions they make are their own. I know what you mean about some parents overindulging in their kids. How are they ever to grow?


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