I have never, ever, ever been the “not my kid” mom. You know the type: their little ones are perfectly behaved, never at fault and always a victim. No, actually I usually assumed, and was exquisitely accurate, that it was my kid. Once, when Jess was two, we were at the playroom at our local JCC, a place we logged thousands of hours in the winter months. I saw a parent angrily perusing the room, clearly looking for the parent of the little hooligan at their feet. I was pretty certain that it was my little hooligan (which it was) so I slowly, calmly headed in their direction, hoping that, if I walked slowly enough, the situation would diffuse before I arrived and angry other parent would never make the connection between me and Jess. Alas, that is not how it played out.
Other parent: (pissily) ” Is this your kid?”
Me: (with a calm, sweet, hopefully disarming smile) “Maybe. Depends what she did.”
OP: (still pissily) “She just bit my kid for no reason!”
Me: (still with a kind a smile) “Oh, she had a reason…she’s two.”
OP: Proceeds to rip me a new one. At which point, her little darling shoved Jess to the ground. Crying ensued. Other parent forced to eat their words. I did not gloat.
Game. Set. Match.
From the beginning, my kids were taught and knew:
- Tussle on the playground? You can never throw the first punch, but if someone hits you, hit ‘em back. You cannot, however, ever hit a girl.
- Someone giving you a hard time about being a swimmer and not a baseball player? Work it out. And, see bullet above.
- A teacher being mean to you? Talk to the teacher…you’re probably doing something to piss them off.
- Not feeling 100% this morning? To “ill” to go to school? Get up, take a shower and see how you feel. (That, in fairness, was a page directly from my father’s playbook. And, guess what? Nine times out of ten, the shower did the trick.)
- You’re a teenager? Time to learn and then do, for the rest of your life, your own laundry.
- You can be a boy, a girl, a dog or a Martian. You cannot, however, be an asshole.
That kid who elevated the playground tussle to pushing you down to the ground and then punching you? The classmate giving you a hard time to the point of making you not want to go to school? The teacher who legit seems to have it out for you? Spike a fever and throw up on my feet? Well, that’s a different story…and this Mama Bear is going to come out, claws ready, teeth bared and ears back, ready to rumble. Mess with me. Do no, I repeat do not, mess with my kids.
I am fiercely loyal, protective and supportive of my children. Have they always made it easy? Hell to the no. Has It always been fun? Nope. Have there been times that sitting in the corner, rocking, sucking my thumb and pouring wine down my throat feels like the only best solution? Yep. Has even the fantasy of clocking a kid or, even more so, their parent, seemed pretty much the most awesome and perfect way to solve an issue? Oh, yeah.
I am a mature, in-control, compassionate and kind (all of these, of course, most of the time) woman and, to date, have behaved appropriately, even whilst biting my tongue, sitting on my hands and gritting and grinding my teeth down to powder.
The depth of my anger and disappointment, both for my children and, frankly me, at someone’s behavior this week is epic. I am not a violent person. I try to let bugs out as opposed to kill them. I eschew gratuitous slashing and killing in books, movies and television opting, instead, for the feel good shit. Yet, right now, I truly want to rip into, call out, scream at, swing at and drive a car into and then over (and back again) a particular person (an adult, I might add) who has outrageously wronged my kids. And, not for nothing, this is not the first nor, I assume and dread, the last time.
I know, from repeated experience, that nothing that I say, do, plead, beg or pray for will change this person. I can neither embarrass nor shame. Talking calmly, yelling maniacally, remaining silent or enlisting others to intervene: all for naught. And, for this mama bear, that is perhaps the hardest part. I have always tried hard to let my kids, with my support and encouragement, figure things out. If I fix everything, what will they do when I am not around? I do, however, share their hurt, disappointment and fury. I also, want like hell to fix this one…but I know I cannot.
Do I want to swoop in and save them? Of course I do.
Do I want to erase what has happened? Duh, more than anything, ever.
Do I know that they are strong, independent and smart kids who will, like everything else, figure it out? Yep.
But, if I am being honest, it is taking every shred of self control for this Mama Bear to not go on the attack. And it sucks.
 Notable exception: “Shameless”. Oh. My. God