Our fall favorites are here! 🍂

I used to be a helicopter parent, hovering over my boys’ lives like a, well, helicopter.

I didn’t interfere. I observed. Ready to swoop and recover in case of an emergency—like an actual driving to the ER, emergency.

Parental styles these days are a far cry from the traditional, dare I say, simple categories of parenting we grew up with: authoritative or permissive. Back in the day, I knew two types of parents: strict or not strict. Varying degrees, temperament, and personality were involved. Different levels of guilt-inducing decision existed.

But, it all boiled down to this: are you allowed to go? And did your parents find out?

Not anymore.

Now, we have lawnmower, bulldozer, free-range, and snowplow parenting. We have dragon and tiger moms. (Why is it always the mom?)

RELATED: Dear Kids, When I Let You Fall

I have decided my parenting style has changed over the years. Not drastically, but enough to fly me out of the helicopter range and into what I would like to call the “curling mom”.

Yes, curling, as in the Winter Olympic sport where they push the stone, sweeping the ice to determine the path, ultimately aiming for the target. That’s me! I am a curling parent.

If you’ve ever watched curling, it appears so simple. (Curlers out there, please note that I said appears, I realize it’s not. And the more I researched this sport, it’s quite fascinating and looks exhausting. I can only imagine that an Olympic athlete makes the competition look easy after long hours and hard workamazing and well done!)

One person, the captain, slides the stone with a seemingly gentle push across the ice. The captain glides gracefully, releasing the stone at just the right moment, on bended knee. Then the sweepers, frantically at times, brush the ice to determine or alter the path and speed. A third (the actual title of the person) guides, calls strategy, and directs the sweepers. There is yelling, there is abrupt silence, but the ultimate goal is to get the stone to the target or “house”.

That’s me! I am a curling mom.

Stay with me on this.

As captain, I have released (at least one) of my boys out into the world. And, if you saw me after we hugged him goodbye and left campus, walking the equivalent of an ugly cry of shame to our car, then you would agreemetaphorically, I was on my knees.

Sweeper may be my finest job. I don’t bulldoze or snowplowI’m not that pushy. I am definitely not that aggressive. But, I will direct the trajectory of my child’s course through gentle nudges, hints, reinforcement, and guidance.

I sweep with my words.

I sweep with the language I choose, to give them an option maybe they hadn’t thought of before. (Should you really take improv and film studies in the same semester?)

I (frantically) sweep when I want them to make a different decision, ultimately realizing I need to allow them their independence. They need to fall short of their goal. They need to make mistakes. (It’s a process, parents, if I can get here, trust me, so can you.)

I don’t clear the pathI show them the way.

I am the third. I am the coach, the strategist, calling the plays and praying someone hears me.

Seriously, is anyone listening to me?

I can see it from the perspective of the goal, and I can see the direct line to be taken. I can see their strengths and weaknesses and call it like it is. 

I am the one (yelling) calling them to the target, to their future, to their home.

So, move over lawnmower parents. See you later dragon moms. I am a curling mom, and I am going to sweep you away.

RELATED: Want Your Kid To Succeed? Don’t Be a Lawnmower Parent.

Disclaimer: I am not an authority in parenting. Any parental information posted in this article, unless directly quoted and cited, is my own opinionplease take it in the lighthearted manner in which it’s written.

Previously published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Karen Geiger

I am a writer, mom, wife, and speech language pathologist. I am currently blogging about navigating midlife with style and grace, and a bit of luck. Almost empty-nesters, I try to dote on my son who is a senior in high school—and yes, he LOVES that. Most of my time is spent writing, taking my amazing puppy for walks, and trying to keep it all together. 


To the Parents Facing a Child’s Illness: You Are Strong

In: Grief, Kids, Motherhood
Toddler with cast and IV looking out window

If you are the parents who just sat for hours in a cold doctor’s office to hear that your child has a life-threatening illness, you are so strong.  If you are the parents who can’t bring yourself to decorate or celebrate the unknown because you don’t know if they’ll ever come home, you are so strong.  If you are the parents who travel or relocate to deliver your child in one of the best hospitals with hopes it will change the outcome, you are so strong. If you are the parents who learn all the medical terminology so you understand...

Keep Reading

What Happens When Your Perfect Life Explodes?

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Marriage, Motherhood
Sad woman by window with her head in hands

One day you’re living your best life, writing articles about how perfect your marriage is, and the next, BOOM, life as you know it completely changes. I was blindsided by information that my husband had been lying to me for three years about certain aspects of our lives. I felt like I had been hit in the gut by the biggest rock you could imagine. What has followed has been a snowball of events and new information that has changed the course of my and my kids’ lives. So what do you do when your perfect explodes? This is one...

Keep Reading

Life Began with You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding baby to her chest by window

I heard about the labor pains. And the sleepless nights.  I heard about the inconveniences. And the never-ending sacrifices.  I heard about the “end of life as I knew it.” And the loss of my individual freedom.  I heard about how it would impact my career. And how I’d never get to travel the world.  I heard about how I should date my husband while I can. And how expensive it all is. I heard about never getting any alone time. And how frustrating it can be. I heard about loneliness, depression, and the blues. And how hard it is to...

Keep Reading

Sweet Baby, I Wish I Could Have Met You

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Toddler standing at table with lit candles, color photo

Miscarriage. It floods my head with devastating memories. It seems like it happened so long ago, yet I can still feel the roller coaster of emotions I was taken on. My husband and I were ready to start a family, and I was fortunate enough to get pregnant right away. Holding that pregnancy test with my hands shaking and voice trembling, I was scared and excited.  I was ready to be a mom. Even though seeing those two lines so quickly left me shocked, I was ready to meet my baby. When I found out there was a little human growing...

Keep Reading

All I Could Do Was Make It to Church Today

In: Faith, Motherhood
Close up of man holding baby in his arms in church pew with kids in background

All I can do is make it to church today. It was the final thought that shut the door on all the other thoughts this morning. The thoughts that said I don’t look good enough. I should put on makeup. I should wear something nicer. I should find a way to paint my nails without them getting smudged up from holding a baby before they dry. The thoughts that said I am not doing good enough. I should have made supper last night. I shouldn’t have used that glass pan that shattered in the oven while trying to steam bake...

Keep Reading

You Are Worth Every Sacrifice

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, black-and-white photo

The best part of me is my son. Being a new mom is exhausting yet so rewarding. They say when he sleeps, you sleep. But I don’t want to miss any cuddles, so when he sleeps, I snuggle him up tight.  Being a new mom is lonely and so fulfilling at the same time. I’ve never felt so alone, but I’ve also never felt like my life had a purpose until now.  I wouldn’t trade my loneliness for a large number of friends. Although having some friends, even if very few, helps. Sometimes it takes being lonely to bring the most...

Keep Reading

I Should Have Stayed with You Longer Tonight

In: Motherhood
Little boy sleeping with night light above his head

Sweet child, I’m sorry I didn’t stay cuddled up with you longer tonight. I quickly tucked you into bed because I was exhausted. The night didn’t go as planned, and I was frazzled by the time we got to the end of the day. All I wanted was for everyone to be in bed. I wanted the house to be silent so I could hear myself think. I wanted a minute to catch my breath. RELATED: Why Tired Moms Stay Up Late But I should have stayed with you. I know you needed that extra time to unwind from your...

Keep Reading

3 Things Toddlers Teach Us if We Slow Down and Notice

In: Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler and mother hold dandelion flower

The saying goes, “Learn from your elders.” I’ve heard it said throughout my childhood and into my adult life. There is a lot to learn from people who are older than you, especially from their mistakes. However, I’ve come to realize that I can learn a great deal about living in the present from my gutsy toddler. Being a parent allows—more like forces—you to live in the moment. Toddlers are temperamental, tenacious, tender-hearted, and if they are anything like my daughter, they are also incredibly talkative. Their mood swings hit you in the face, sometimes quite literally with the unwanted...

Keep Reading

The Greatest Gift We Can Give Someone Is to Include Them

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Female friends laughing together outside

The greatest gift we can give someone is to include them. Never have I felt more isolated and excluded than I did as a new mom. With two babies born a year apart, socializing was impossible. I couldn’t hold a conversation with my kids in tow. And they were always in tow. In those early years of motherhood, something like a hair appointment meant more than just a cut and color. It was an opportunity for uninterrupted, adult conversation. After a couple of years of baby talk and mom buns, I was intensely in need of all three. I booked...

Keep Reading

What Baby Books Don’t Tell You about Motherhood

In: Motherhood
Mother hugging toddler daughter in kitchen

The thing the baby books don’t tell you about leaving the hospital is that two new people emerge. Yes, you’re going to come out of there with another person, but you’re going to be a different person too. The world changes in the matter of a moment. Some part of me was buried, laid to rest back in that stark birthing room after I gave birth to my first child. A new person emerged who was intensely immersed in his little toes and the piercing cries, waiting with bated breath to catch the first smile. The feeling of mine-ness and...

Keep Reading