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Please Don't Mistake My Hands Off Parenting As Being Lazy

I'm that mother that sits back and lets my children do their thing. I'm the mom who sits on the park benches and watches my toddler try to figure out how to climb up the play structure by himself. I let my kids fall, I let them make mistakes and I let my children learn (sometimes the hard way). I'm always in close proximity in case something serious happens, and make sure I'm close enough to protect them if somebody tries to hurt them. But I never, ever hover.

I remember one time my two oldest children were playing on the play structure. The play structure was in a gated area and the only way out was through two large gates. I stood at the gates to make sure that they didn't leave without me knowing. I could see both children safely and I was watching them from afar. They were having a great time and then my oldest son fell down onto his knee and he started crying. I started walking toward him. But before I could even get there, I saw another mom sprinting toward my son with the most panicked disposition. She was screaming, "Where's your mom?" The mother looked around as if my child's arm got cut off. She had so much fear in her eyes.

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I calmly said, "I'm right here." I looked at his knee, wiped off the dirt, gave him a hug and sent him back on his way. The mother looked at me mortified. She then walked away and headed toward her husband. She began whispering to him with the most awful look on her face. Then she sprinted back to her own child to hover over him as he climbed up a ladder.

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I continued to watch the mother as she helplessly chased after her three children to try and keep them from doing anything that could possibly cause them to get even slightly scratched. I never want to be that mother. I'll always protect my kids if they're about to do something life-threatening, and I'll stop them if I see that they're going to do something really crazy. I just want them to be able to learn how to do things on their own. I really want them to have confidence in themselves to make the right decisions. I want my children to learn their limits. I won't always be there, and I want them to be able to learn how to problem-solve without me.

Many people think that my way of parenting is lazy. Well, helicopter parenting certainly is more exhausting, but that isn't why I'm a laid-back parent. I'm a laid-back parent because I think it's very important for my children to learn how to handle situations without their parents. My job as a parent is to prepare them to take on the world on their own. How can you do exactly that if you never let them learn by themselves?

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