A while ago, we met Organised Mum, whose fait accompli in getting her children ready for the new school year left us all vowing to iron the name-tags on earlier next time.
As a new term gets underway, there’s another mum I’d like to introduce you to. You all know her. She’s the mum who follows her young up slides, down plastic tubes and into the toilet. We all share her protective tendencies to varying degrees, and hover over our offspring at times, but let’s just say Helicopter Mum is hyper-present in her children’s lives.
You’ve just dropped your kids at school for the first day back and you’re
skipping returning to the car – with four child-free hours ahead of you – when you bump into her.
She’s sobbing into her hankie. Big fat tears and Bobbi Brown mascara streaming down her crumpled face.
Your bolt for freedom screeches to a grinding halt and you stop to chat, aware that those four precious hours (in which you planned to knock out several chores in double-quick time, buy a week’s worth of groceries and get a blow-dry) are already slipping away.
“We had such a wonderful holiday,” she blubs, dabbing at her puffy eyes. “I just wasn’t ready for term to start again.”
She regales you with sniffly tales about the cookies they baked, the trip to see Santa (in Lapland) and the Christmas stories her children wrote, while you almost start twitching with the urge to get going.
Helicopter Mum brightens noticeably when you – to get her off the school grounds – suggest a (quick) coffee. It’s the death knell for that morning’s to-do list, but at least it stops her calling her oldest on his mobile – the world’s longest umbilical cord – at break time.
As you part ways, she’s distracted from missing her children – until disaster strikes. It’s pick-up time for the little ones and her car won’t start. She calls you, so breathy with distress you think at first it’s a prankster.
“Don’t worry,” you say. “I’ll bring your DD home, no problem at all.”
But it is a problem, because her DD has never been in anyone else’s car before. It’s never been necessary, because Helicopter Mum is always there. She comes in a taxi, but by the time they reach the school (the driver not needing much encouragement to step on the gas), you’ve already grabbed her child.
You’re heading towards Emirates Road, with her DD doing hightails with her legs in her carseat she’s so excited, when you look in the mirror and realise Helicopter Mum is right behind you. She’s caught up in the taxi and is peering out the front window with an anxious, frightened look on her face.
You’re on her radar, and you realise you haven’t been terribly helpful at all. You’ve kidnapped her darling, bubble-wrapped DD. You wonder if you should stop to hand her child over, but, no, this little bit of separation will do them both good, you decide.
Her DD – singing along to the radio at the top of her voice and fluttering her eyelids at your son – certainly thinks so, even if Helicopter Mum sprouts a smattering of grey hairs on the way home.