Thursday, October 3, 2013

Confessions of a Hover Mother

Hi, my name is Beth, and I am a hover mother. Hey, admitting it is the first step, right?  I wasn't familiar with the term "hover mother" when my sister first labeled me one.  Urban dictionary defines it as an obnoxiously overprotective mother.  I'm only obnoxious sometimes, overprotective all the time. 

I have always, and I mean always wanted to be a mother.  I used to beg my parents to have another child, even though I already had 5 siblings.  But every time the baby became a toddler, I thought it was time to bring another baby home.  I loved babysitting, loved being the mother, even if it was just for an hour.  In my senior year, when I sat down with my guidance counselor, and he asked, "What do you want to be?", I answered "A mother."  He rephrased his question, "I mean, what do you want to do with your life?"  And I repeated, "I want to be a mother." He then showed me my good grades and my class rank, brought out various Ivy League school brochures and booklets and tried to convince me that I needed to choose a career and a good school to assure that I would do something with my life.  After I wasn't swayed, he suggested that I be a teacher so that I could "mother" lots of children, while still having a real job (his words).  I decided that would work and pursued that avenue. 

I never became a teacher.  Instead I achieved my own dream at the age of 21 when I became a mother.  I was a single mother, and my son was my life.  I felt guilty leaving him at daycare while I worked and would devote every minute between getting out of work and his bedtime to him. We ate what he wanted for supper, we played whatever game he wanted to play, we watched what he wanted to watch on TV. He was my baby, my best friend, my life, my love.

As a young child, he told me one day that he was going to live with me forever. He said he'd build a candy store in the backyard and sell candy for his job.  I held onto that promise and the joy that my boy never wanted to leave me. Hover mother...

Before long, he became a teenager, and his friends were his life.  He wanted to ride his bike miles to go hang out.  All right, maybe 3 miles, but it seemed like 10.  I had to know what he was wearing when he left just in case he was kidnapped, I had to have him call me when he arrived at his destination so I knew he had made it safely.  I had to know where he was, who he was with, what he was doing.  Separation anxiety was HUGE, and it was all me.  He was excited for the freedom and raced off with a quick "I love you" to go meet his friends, and I was left behind to worry until he got back home.  Hover mother...

Then he became an older teenager, and the bike was replaced by a car.  Now there were more worries: Who are you with?  Did you all wear seatbelts? Where did you go?  Did you get a ticket?  Don't drive fast, don't drink and drive, don't miss your curfew.  All these things I asked and said every time he left the house, and the "I love you" goodbyes became aggravated "I know's" and "You treat me like I'm 5."  Hover mother...

When he was out, I would call to ask what he was doing and when he would be home. He would answer and then tell me to text because he was with his friends and didn't want to talk.  What he didn't know was that I just wanted to hear his voice, that I missed him, that I was saddened that we were like passing ships, pretty much only saying good morning and good night.  I missed my baby.  Hover mother...

Now he's 21 and ready to move out.  I know that this is the natural progression.  Children are supposed to grow up and move out right?  And in my head I know this. I know that my kids aren't going to live with me forever no matter how much I want them to.  I know that he could have gone away to college or the military after high school and that I've already had 3 more years with him than some of his friends' parents have had with their children.  But in my heart, I wonder what he'll be doing every day.  Will he eat good?  Will he take care of himself?  Will he brush his teeth?   Will he have enough money?  Who will text me every day and ask "What's for din din, Mommy?"

I remember something my Dad told me years after he dropped me off at college when he said that as happy as he was when I went running off to make new friends and to embrace the new adventure in my life, that after he kissed me goodbye, he cried as he drove away.

And so this Hover Mother will try to hold back the tears, to be happy for him on his new adventure, but I will always have enough "din din" just in case he wants to come back, even if it's just for supper. 


  1. Call me, my dear, just call me! You are a wonderful mother, and your kids surely know it. You need to know that moving out doesn't cut that bond; it doesn't take away the love or the need or the fact that he will always always always be your boy.
    Good luck, Jake!!! Good job, Beth and Brian!

    1. Thank you Karen. You will be on speed dial! I love taking care of my kids, and it will feel strange not to be doing that for one of them. Not to mention, he's taking his girlfriend and their 2 dogs with him, so I'll be missing 4 loved ones!