Momservation: If you are cutting your son’s meat for him – when he is on a date, you might be a helicopter parent
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I just got rejected – but in a good way.
A former producer for the Oprah Winfrey Show and current producer for the new Jeff Probst talk show premiering this fall called me about appearing on the show.
They were looking for some self-described helicopter parents and they had come across my blog, Signs You Might Be a Helicopter Parent, and loved it.They wanted someone they could have a little fun with, someone totally aware that they are in a constant flight pattern over their children but cannot help themselves. They were hopeful that person could be me.
“Oh, I own it,” I told her. “I know despite my best efforts to not be, I’m a helicopter parent.”
“Can you give me some examples?” the producer asked.
Excited that my blog readership included television producers and at the prospect of being on an up-and-coming program, I was happy to oblige.
I told her about my Believe to Receive philosophy that still has an eleven and twelve year old not questioning Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
I told her how I lied to my kids to protect them from the reality of the circle of life. “If I let them still believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny, why can’t I let them believe an animal they loved went to a good home instead of being euthanized?”
I shared how when we went to the movies that day there were a sheriff’s car and security car patrolling and the parking lot was deserted. I knew it was because of the recent Batman massacre in Colorado, but I made sure my kids believed it was because it was a midweek matinee.
“I know there are people out there who think I’m sheltering them, being over-protective; that I’m not doing my kids any favors by shielding them from reality. But I like to think I’m operating from a point of protecting them from having to deal with the realities of the world too early. They’ll have to face it soon enough, but I’d like them to enjoy being carefree kids as long they can.
My sister died when she was six and I was twelve and it shattered my innocence and threw me into the deep end of life. If I’m a bit over-protective because of that – so be it. I just want my kids to be able to jump in on their own terms, when they’re ready, not being forced to sink or swim.”
The producer decided based on our talk that she wanted to fly me down to the taping in two days in Los Angeles. “I still need to talk to the head producer to green light it, but I think it’ll just be a formality,” she said before telling me she would get back to me shortly.
I was so excited. She liked me! Helicopter mom me! While I waited for her call back I called Hubby to tell him the exciting news.
His reaction was disappointing. “This isn’t going to be some Jerry Spring talk show is it? They’re not going to vilify you are they? What does ‘having a little fun with you’ mean exactly?”
Mr. Voice of Reason struck again. Suddenly I had a pricking of fear that I might be getting myself into something more than I bargained for. I thought I was going to educate people how a normally rational parent can easily slip into helicopter mode. But what if I’m a point of ridicule?
When the producer called back she was apologetic. “We were looking for someone we could have a little fun with,” she said again insinuating the tightrope line of good TV versus throwing someone under the bus. “When I told my producer about you he didn’t really think you were extreme enough.”
Then she told me what he said: “She just sounds like a good mom.”
It was the best rejection I ever heard. It was also a wonderful validation that my helicopter, idling and ready, is not necessarily hovering, but instead just sitting at the tarmac.
“I don’t want to make you be someone you’re not, but are there other helicopter parenting examples you could give me because I’d love to have you on the show?”
This is the point where you self-reflect and quickly think, just how bad do I want to be on TV? Wouldn’t I rather be a shining example of doing something right, than an embarrassing subject of doing it all wrong?
So this was where I had to admit to some creative license with my writing. “I don’t think I’m your gal,” I apologized in return. “I’ve never done most of the things I listed in my blog as signs of being a helicopter parent – but my readers like to think I do, finding humor and commiseration that despite our best efforts we’re probably never going to be Parent of the Year.”
She understood and we agreed to keep in touch if there was a more fitting opportunity for me to appear on the family oriented Jeff Probst Show.
I’m thinking an episode on moms who survived back-to-school shopping without wanting to sell their kids on eBay…