IS MY MOM A HELICOPTER OR A HELIPAD?
Last evening, during our P.D. session, a young girl, who is all set to start her college life, was on stage. “Is your mom a helicopter?” I surprised the young one with the topic… For a while, the girl was rattled… understandably so. Right since her kindergarten days till now, this girl had been in a convent school which was barely a boundary-wall away from her home. And, now, suddenly, she was expected to commute all the way to Churchgate (Jai Hind College).
“My mom is a working lady. She has been my friend, philosopher and guide all these years…She is just like any other mom, very caring, supportive and protective… I could share each and everything with her… She has been strict but she hasn’t stopped me from whatever I wanted to do… When I go out with my friends, at night and with boys in particular, she is very concerned… she makes sure I am safe with my friends and, that’s how it should be… I have never commuted alone to townside… I have never commuted by train… Now, which mom will not be not anxious of her daughter in situations like this? Yes, she wants to keep an eye on her daughter… But, certainly, my mom is not a helicopter!”
There was this boy, a second- year engineering student, in the class, whose mom was my student when she was even younger than her son’s present age. This mother has some real problem in hand… She has to push her son for everything and every time… including our P.D. class. He is bright but suffers from low self-confidence and low level of self-motivation. For everything the mother has to take initiative… she has to plan, she has to call, she has to decide… Even yesterday, when I did not see him in my class even after ten minutes, I called him up. It was only after my call, he left home. When he was on stage, I asked him to speak on the same topic. "Speak very, very honestly beta,” I encouraged, “What is there, it is there… When you see the reality, it helps you,” I said. The young engineering boy opened up… Shared with us how tough it was for his mom to do what she had been doing. The class applauded.
“The best gift you can ever offer your parents, particularly your moms, is: you can reduce their anxiety a bit,” I said, “Tell them, ‘Mom, you have done for me more than enough… I am an adult now… I will handle things; I will take charge of myself… You take a break, you need to rest’.”
There was another young boy who hailed from an academically-inclined family. His elder brother was doing IIT and this boy was now all set to join a government medical college after successfully cracking the entrance exam. “When you guys come out with your B.E or M.B.B.S degrees, you guys must remember that you are on par with B.A., B. Com or B. Sc degree-holders… You will be just graduates,” I put it bluntly, “You guys need to study further… maybe go aboard for it… go on a scholarship or be ready to pay a bomb.”
“Sir, I have made enquiries… How much it costs if I go to the US and if I go to Germany,” the engineering boy said.
“Have you not made enquires about going on scholarship so that your parents are not put under further financial and mental strain?” I asked, “They are your parents and they will do whatever it takes to help you realize your dreams… They will borrow or sell their property, whatever, but they will help you… The question is: Have you given them that rock-solid trust, that you are worthy of that sacrifice? If not, you are simply tormenting them.”
There were some mothers, too, in the class… They were absorbing what I was saying.
It has never been about being a helicopter or a helipad for mothers when it comes to raising their children. Nobody trained them to be mothers… They had to bring into their motherhood their own childhood anxieties, fears and unfulfilled dreams… They all wished their children not to go through the same turmoil they had been through… That’s why the protective shield – call it overprotective one… That’s why the ‘surveillance’ – the so-called the helicopter mummyhood… and, that’s also the reason why they have been absorbing all the shocks and pains of their young ones even after they have turned adults – Yes, for being their helipads!
Today is my mom’s birthday. For eighty-two long years, she has absorbed the shocks and pains of her five sons, including this one here. If she had been a helicopter, at times… It was for our good. And, if she has been our helipad – should we say it was her good?
Happy b’day mom. Just some good health and peace of mind and loads and loads of love and affection from your five sons… Yes, we wish you today. Love and hugs… Bless us too.