We all know a crazy, overprotective helicopter mom or two; some of us might even admit to a little hovering of our own. But you'd be hard pressed to find anyone quite as determined to keep her kid safe, as mom Julie Cook, who calls herself "the world's most over-protective mother."
In an article in the Daily Mail, the first-time mother writes about the extreme efforts she took to keep her son Alex safe during his early years. Besides padding nearly every inch of her house, she said when he began moving about, she started making him wear a "crash helmet" full-time. He wore the thing at home, out running errands, and even to Cook's own wedding.
When her fiance asked that if just on their one special day they could remove it, she balked. "'The town hall is huge,' I protested, ‘and it’s full of sharp edges and polished floors. What if he hits his head?’"
She did acquiesce a little and said if he could be strapped into his stroller, he could leave the helmet off during the ceremony, but then the helmet went right back on for the reception. He was 11 months old at the time, and Cook continued making him wear his "crash hat" for years. She wrote:
I couldn’t be persuaded — or teased — into backing down. I thought the helmet was wonderful. I could cook, work, or do housework knowing Alex was safe. And I tried not to notice him tugging in irritation at the strap under his chin. I made my toddler wear it all the time at home.
Can you even imagine? Well, the fact is I can ... and you probably can to some degree as well. When our children are little and so precious and innocent, all you want to do is protect them. My son had a permanent purple goose egg on his head when he was a toddler from tripping, slipping, and tumbling about the world, and each one struck panic in my heart with what ifs and if onlys. I can't say the idea of making him wear a helmet didn't cross my mind, and I may just have put one on him had I not feared people thinking that I was crazy.
As he's grown, there have been so many other times my instinct is to do whatever necessary to protect him -- emotionally and physically. To attend school with him so he never feels alone or bullied; to give him every vaccine possible, and then again no vaccines; to dive in front of the ball on the baseball field when it's coming straight for his head; and to somehow protect him from the breaks and aches that I see coming toward his heart. Of course I don't, because I know that all these are part of growing up, and the road to adulthood is paved with plenty of bumps and bruises, some of which no doctor can fix. But it doesn't mean I haven't wanted to, and probably always will. So I don't blame Cook.
The good news is that she did come to the realization that she was going overboard, and now almost four years later, Alex does get to go about life without a helmet. She says she realized she had to let him grow up -- sharp corners and all. Good for her. Good for him. And good for all of us who are doing the best we can on this terrifying journey that is parenthood.
In what ways would you protect your children if you could?
Image via D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr