I am not a Helicopter Parent. My frequent misplacement of my children demonstrates that.
And I danced a jig the day my daughter broke the news that she was giving up the saxophone. That eliminates my chances of being an aggressive, overachieving Tiger Parent, I reflected while I flipped through a magazine.
In a fit of introspection, I was thinking about parenting styles the other day, as I find it helpful to put oneself inside a labeled box. It is neater that way.
I blame the outdated issue of a parenting magazine in the rack at the hair salon.
â€œThe motive for Tiger Parents is to produce superior children,â€ I read.
Well, I have no aspirations of that, consoling myself with the thought. My kids have trouble buttering their own toast … which is why I do it for them. Wait, I probably shouldnâ€™t have said that.
This brings me to the third parenting style, the Snowplow Parent. Iâ€™ve got to admit, this one shook me up. Snowplows are out front, plowing down obstacles, making life easier for their kids.
Buttering toast, I said, filling in the blank.
If my life was a movie, this would be when the director cues up the video montage of all the times I slathered Country Crock on slices of bread while my children, their mouths agape like baby birds at feeding time, waited at my elbow. Another clip would show me with a jar of peanut butter. Then the jelly. My life was a mess. I was destroying my children, and I had no one to blame but myself and my overactive butter knife.
I did the only logical thing one can do when faced with fear, uncertainty and the smell of eucalyptus deep conditioner: I took a magazine survey.
Five Signs You Might be a Snowplow Parent.
1) â€œIf youâ€™ve ever offered bribes to a coach to help your kid make a team or get more playing time.â€ I thought for a moment. The only thing I know about bribes is what Iâ€™ve seen in the movies involving dark alleys, envelopes filled with unmarked bills and thick-chested henchmen named â€œEddie.â€ Nope, never done that.
2) â€œIf youâ€™ve ever screamed at a referee or charged the field to argue with an umpire for making a â€˜wrongâ€™ call against your kid or her team.â€ Charging the field would mean Iâ€™d have to first put down my book and coffee. Never done that, either.
3) â€œIf you â€˜helpâ€™ your child with every homework assignment and project.â€ The person who wrote this must not be familiar with Common Core math. I couldnâ€™t do my sixth-graderâ€™s homework if I wanted to. Moving on …
4) â€œIf youâ€™ve ever hacked into your childâ€™s school system to change your childâ€™s grade.â€ Who am I, Edward Snowden? I canâ€™t even remember the password to my email and they expect me to be able to hack into some diabolical school grading mainframe?
5) â€œFinally, remember that mom, Wanda Holloway, who plotted to have the mother of her daughterâ€™s cheer-leading rival killed? If you can kind of see where she was coming from, youâ€™re most definitely a snowplow parent.â€ Nope, not me again. My kid doesnâ€™t even like cheerleading.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Not a single mention of buttered bread.
After reading the list, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I havenâ€™t bribed anybody, committed a cyber-crime or even once plotted murder.
I am Parent of the Year compared with that lot.
This calls for a toast.