Helicopter Mom or Airplane Mom?

Helicopter Mom? Or Airplane Mom?

This weekend was Asa’s Flying Ace Party! And oh, my! It was so fun. I always say that about my kids’ birthdays, but every time I’m surprised at how fun they are!

I’m going to give you the play-by-play of the party in a few days but today I wanted to talk about something I’ve been thinking about since dotMom. Vicki Courtney gave a talk entitled, “How To Raise a Me-Monster” which was basically calling moms out on having kid-centric homes instead of God-centric homes.

You’ve heard of the helicopter-mom, right? Where moms hover around their kids making sure life turns out right? Not letting them fall at the park, not letting them get an F on a paper, not letting friends bully them and basically “snow-plowing the roads of life” for them.

I don’t feel like I’m really a helicopter-mom because I don’t follow my kids up the playground slide. I don’t do Lydia’s schoolwork. I let my (new) 4 year old get dressed by himself and wear shorts and cowboy boots if he wants. I let them make ugly crafts and do things differently than I think they should be done.


Vicki Courtney brought up some points that were beyond letting your kid fall at the playground. It’s more about the attitude you have towards your kids.

Do I make my children the center of my life? Is my husband an afterthought? Do I defer to my kids on everything? Have I forgotten that my goal as a mom is to raise kids to LEAVE ME?

Do I do whatever it takes to protect my child’s self-esteem? Am I that American Idol mom who demands that Randy put her child through even though she can’t sing a lick? Do I call their sin, sin?

Do I rescue my child from poor choices and life’s injustices? Do I say (or show) that the rules don’t apply to my precious babies? Have I placed them on a track they won’t turn away from—a track of selfishness and pampering?

Have I taught my children to put their needs and wants before others? Am I raising a child who’s life centers on their vain conceit?

Sadly, I could answer YES to many of those questions. I think I’m doing my kids a favor by protecting them, helping them and putting them first. When, in actuality I’m planting seeds in their heart, mind and experience that says, “Life is about ME”.

Being a Helicopter Mom or an Airplane Mom

One of Vicki’s examples was throwing elaborate birthday parties. She gave an example of a pirate themed party she gave for her son when he was little–complete with a treasure map and walking the plank. I started getting a little antsy, because I threw the best pirate party ever for Asa. And while listening to her talk, I was in the middle of planning his big Flying Ace party!

It made me evaluate what and why I am throwing these big parties! Is throwing a party for my son setting him up for thinking the world celebrates him? People should come around him to throw gifts and honor at him just for being born?!

It’s still a question I struggle with. I believe there are lots of good that comes from birthday parties (I may do a more fleshed out post or series about this), but I can also see how crazy it can become, too. If I throw an elaborate 10 year old birthday, what will the 16 year old party have to be? The High School graduation? The 21st birthday? The wedding? When does it end?

I think it has to do with exactly the point of Vicki’s talk: is our home God-centric? Or kid-centric? Are we throwing parties (or helping with homework, or doing sports or taking ballet) because of a kid-centric attitude? Or a God-centric attitude?

Instead of turning my children into demi-gods that I worship and lead others in worshiping (I’m not talking about parties here, just a general attitude), I want to be the mom that sets my kids up for flight.

helicopter mom versus the airplane mom

I don’t want to be a helicopter mom. I want to be an airplane mom! I want to be the one that trains with my kids, helps with their pre-flight check, teaches them to buckle up and allows them to go down the runway listening to their air-traffic controller and then take flight!

I want to send them into life to soar! Yes, leaving me on the ground. Alone.

It is my heart’s desire to see my children do MORE than what I’ve done. To love God BEYOND what I do. To see them serve BETTER than I have done.

So, in this time of birthday parties, school projects and playgrounds, I’m purposing in my heart to center my home on God. To take my kids off a pedestal and help them kneel before the one true God, the object of our real affection.

Lord, I pray you would help me lead my children in loving you and serving you first! Help me raise children who are lovers of you instead of lovers of self! I pray they would do nothing out of vain conceit, but consider others better than themselves. Empower me to lead by example and put you first in my own life!

ps: the cardboard airplane Asa is sporting is from KC Wearables. Because I know you were wondering!


  1. I SO love this post! Thank you for sharing your heart and I can’t agree with you more!

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