Well I had my blog topic all planned out tonight. It was going to be written between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., after tuck-in, and as I enjoyed a glass of wine and some quiet. Instead, I spent the night consoling a crying nine-year-old who said he wasn’t going to go school anymore because he was being picked on. It is now almost 11:00 p.m., my plan is thrown off, and I am distracted from my original topic.
This was one of those moments I felt totally unprepared to be a mother. Instead of having words of wisdom or advice on how to fix the problem, it took me right back to some memories I’d rather just forget. All I could think was, “Yeah, it sucks and you really can’t stop it. You just have to get through it.” I know, not a very encouraging mom perspective.
Now if you ask me why he got picked on and I told you … you’d say it is pretty silly. Minor stuff. Actually, fairly ridiculous. But if you were ever teased, you know that even someone saying, “You are too smart, pretty and rich,”—when said in a mocking voice—would make you want to give it all up just to fly under the radar. As a kid, you just want to be liked and fit in.
I still clearly remember going into seventh grade, starting at a new school, and a popular girl asking (in a really mean way) if I was wearing eye makeup. I wasn’t and said so. But sensing my vulnerability, I soon had a group of girls surrounding my desk teasing me for looking like I wore mascara. I went home and cried. Every day, I would walk into that junior high class knowing I had an hour to be tormented for having dark, long lashes. Looking back with my adult brain, I have a ton of comebacks and can’t believe that upset me. But at that time, being singled out in a crowd was devastating. I am not sure I am ready to go back through the emotions of reliving those school years again. Another thing no one warned me about when becoming a parent (an ever-growing list).
So what do you do as a mom? I can’t say it is stupid and just don’t listen to them. (Who doesn’t take it personally when mean things are said about them?) Nor, tell a teacher. (That makes it worse if peers know you snitched.) Or, if you don’t let them see it bothers you, they will stop. (They probably won’t ’til they find someone else to bother.) The truth would be to say: “It is going to hurt like hell and this probably won’t be the only time you go through it.”
So there I sat. I held a crying kid with no words. I knew what not to say and had no idea of the right thing to say. Rack up another mother moment where I just cross my fingers that my kids can get through my lack of suave parenting skills. I swear I remember my parents as all-knowing and full of advice in situations like these, but they probably struggled, too. (And, I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and call my mom and ask what to do!)