As we enter the thick of summer I find my kids, now teens, going in many different directions. Gone are the long hours spent blowing bubbles on the porch, sticky Popsicle drips and sandbox sand. These are the days of “Mom can I go / meet / do?” and “Mom I’ve got to work until…”
I’m proud of their work ethic — and social life. These are the days where they are joining teams, parties and social events. They are meeting new people through “friends of a friend.” This can be unsettling to a “Smother Mother” to let go as her babies leave the confines of the close community and go out into the world at large.
In meeting people there is a term for the friend who introduces you to a new potential admirer. That term is “Wingman.” A wingman is someone who is on the “inside” and is used to help someone with intimate relationships. It is often used in dating terms but has a larger more meaningful role in friendships. We have coined a new term: “Wingmom.”
A Wingmom is the mom who has your back when your own mom isn’t available. She looks out for you and your best interests, applauds your accomplishments, has your back when you need it and will correct you when necessary, too.
In the villages that are raising our children, Wingmoms are the advance troops. They carry the common sense and supplies. As a Wingmom (or dad) your job is to be…available. That’s it. Showing up, showing an interest, and showing that you care are all easily accomplished just by paying attention and making the time you have available open to kids.
I have spent countless hours listening to stories of childhood angst and teen romance of other people’s children. I consider it a blessing that they trust me. I have laid a blanket on the grass, my back to the game in progress (in which my own child was playing by the way) and given my energy and empathy to a young person ending a relationship.
If it is important to them, it is important to me. There will be other games, but I don’t think I will ever regret being there for a child in need. For their part my own children have benefitted from a variety of “Wingmoms.”
We each have our skill set (mine in wordiness and being a prude). Just as you don’t ask your carpet cleaner to repair your carburetor, so too, do you know when another parent is better at a certain topic than you. I, for one, have not an athletic bone in my body, unless fast typing and faster talking is a sport.
A dear friend is wonderful for athletic advice. She has walked the walk and can talk the talk to my children when I’m still reminiscing about my days in English Club. Another is very good at being blunt about interpersonal relationships and interactions.
She has gathered our girls together more than once and given them a very valuable lecture, er, lesson in how young ladies should behave.
I have given that lecture as well but it’s somehow more meaningful when your children hear it from a separate source. Being a Wingmom means being there through thick and thin and calling kids on their behavior — whether they like it or not.
Being a wingmom
I have called kids on their behavior on both social media and the street. Its what we do. Background. Wingmoms transcend village borders. They grease the wheels, widen circles and, quite frankly, help us know who to embrace and who to avoid.
In our case GirlWonder has brought home a very nice young man. His background check came in clear thanks in no small part to a fellow “Wingmom” who vouched for him, thus allowing Mr. Wonderful to (almost) sleep at night. For their part I hope the young man’s parents have checked us out as well.
Otherwise my liking their son so much I keep threatening to keep him could be seen as more creepy than comical. To sum it up are the words of a friend who blessed me with this note at the close of her son’s senior year: “That hug (the lingering one) he gave you last night was truly from his heart. …I could see it in his eyes. You are a part of his senior year (the ups and the downs) and I am thankful as a mom that you’re his “Wingmom”. You provide encouragement and gummies when needed. You do matter and I’m happy he (all by his self) hugged you up on senior night. You probably will never see your missing shorts. That alone confirms he is partly yours.”
As a Wingmom, I couldn’t be happier to claim him.