Honey, Your Shoes are Untied
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OpinionShaindle’s Shpiel

Honey, Your Shoes are Untied

No, I am not a helicopter mom, however...

Shaindle Schmuckler spreads her energy and humor as a regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

I was not a helicopter mom.

The only time the word helicopter was part of the lingo of the 70s and 80s was in describing this strange flying machine.

Or …

When I found out a friend’s husband was a helicopter pilot.

Helicopter mom? What the heck? I was, what I would comfortably describe as, an evolving mom.

What is an evolving mom you ask?  It is a mom who started out as a young hippie girl, married and became a young hippie wife. I had enough sense about myself to know I could probably integrate these roles as being a natural part of me. Well, pretty sure. (Notice the absence of the word “house” in front of the word “wife”?)

When I became pregnant, my prayer was I would have a girl (I did) and she would innately know how to guide me to be the mom she would need and deserve. (Boy, did she ever.) She kept my feet to the coals, so to speak, and every day gently opened her heart and guided me to be a mommy.

I was so happy being a mommy, I did it four times in 5 ½ years – all girls!

Given I was in the counseling field, I would test every new parenting approach introduced as “the right way, the new way, the best way” on my sweet and patient daughters.

I was a particular fan of “I’m OK – You’re OK” and Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development.  I was an avid follower of “Between Parent and Child,” Haim Ginotts’ revolutionary approach to parent-child communication. My girls passed so many “tests.” I, on the other hand, am still working it all out.

I was asked to lead seminars on parenting. Of course, before introducing a chapter from the newest approach, I would experiment with my girls.

One such approach was to give children the opportunity to make their own decisions, and learn from “natural” consequences.

So, for example, if your child’s shoes are untied, and you surely do not want them to trip, you do not say: “Tie your shoes or you will trip.” Instead you say: “Honey, your shoes are untied,” hoping against all hope, the response will be the tying of said shoes.

I was intent on bringing up independent, free-thinking girls. The response I received proved I was doing one heck of a job.

Me: Honey your shoes are untied.

My daughter: Yes, I know mommy.

And with that, the discussion was over.

Then there was this one: Teacher of one of my daughters calling her mommy (that would be me).

Teacher:  Mrs. Schmuckler, your daughter safely rode her bike to school, however, she does not have any shoes on.

My daughter’s mommy: Does she have socks on?

Teacher: Yes, she does

My daughter’s mommy: Well that was her choice, blue knee socks, no shoes.

Teacher: Will you be bringing her shoes?

My daughter’s mommy: No, I’m afraid not. I respect her choice. If she finds she is uncomfortable, she will never choose socks without shoes again.

In my head I am praying this works.

No, I am not a helicopter mom, however, my girls never tripped over laces, always learned from their mistakes, supported each other, and never laughed at me. Well, not that I was ever aware of.

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