When my son was younger I classified myself as a helicopter mum. The label carried no negative implications for me, I believed (and I still do) that my parenting was appropriate for his age. Imagine my horror when I discovered that it wasn't actual helicopter parenting because "proper" helicoptering means doing his uni assignments and stalking him, er, I mean watching him play with this friends when he is at school, at least according to what I read online.
Stuck without a label (bonsai, tiger, extreme, dolphin and free-range aren't doing it for me) I decided to give myself one. From now on in I will go for the "regular parent" label.
To avoid any issues with you calling yourself a regular parent only to discover that you aren't (although your child is perfectly fine) let me help you with a list of things that regular parents do.
- They give birth at home, in a hospital, in the water, at a friend's house, in the great outdoors or at a birthing unit
- At the time of birth they choose to have no drugs, all of the drugs, some drugs or their own concoction of drugs
- They give birth vaginally or by Caesarean section
- They choose to breastfeed or bottle feed. Sometimes they have no choice but that doesn't mean they don't feed their babies in some form
- They choose to let their babies co-sleep, sleep in a crib next to their bed, sleep in their own rooms, sleep in a pram/swing/bassinette, drawer, padded box, basket or anywhere they can think of that the baby will actually sleep
- If they choose to breastfeed, they breastfeed till they stop breastfeeding
- They teach their babies to sleep or they don't
- They use dummies or they don't
- They stay at home with their babies or they put their babies in the best care they can find or they take their babies to work (if they to go to work outside the home)
- They home school or send their children to school at the age they think is best for their child to start
- Some of them make arty school lunches, some of them pack processed foods, some only pack organic whole foods, some choose canteen every day, some encourage their kids to make their own lunches
- Lots of them have parties for their kids on their birthdays, lots of others don't. Sometimes they invite three kids sometimes they invite the whole class .
- They feed their child with food -- whether it be organic paleo or preservative processed.
- They do or don't do craft. Some also pretend to do craft and others have been known to do craft without their kids.
- They let their children watch differing amounts of TV or no TV at all.
- They are Jewish, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Taoist, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic and every other religion you can think of. Some of them don't conform to a single religion, some don't use the word religion at all
- They let their kids roam the street, make them stay indoors till they are 21, allow them to ride their bikes to the shop, go out with friends and every variation in between
- Some of them help with homework, some don't
- They either give their kids pocket money or they don't
- They share photos of their kids on the internet, except for the ones that don't
- They all love their children
Basically if you fall into any of those descriptions you are a regular parent. You love your kids, you do your best and quite frankly you don't need to conform to any label.