I have known for quite some time that parenting two girls has its challenges, so why does it surprise me that it gets more challenging as they get older? It seems I just get over one hurdle, and another one is coming at me. Most of it comes from the “drama factor”. Everything is so dramatic and tragic to girls. Was I this way when I was their age? I remember my internal struggles, but I don’t really recall being outwardly vocal about them, so my mom was never involved in them…except once. There was a time when I was ten that I got into a fight with my best friend Michelle. Michelle told her mom, who called my mom, who then had to “have a talk” with me. Seriously? I just remember thinking that calling in parental reinforcements was so unfair.
Now I have kids of my own, and I wonder when I’m supposed to sit back and observe and when I am supposed to intervene. I have watched other parents contact each other to set their kids straight. I have even been contacted by other parents when Virginia has done or said something that hurt their child, which I hate. I would prefer to stay in observor mode forever, and most of the time I do. Even the one time when Virginia cried “fix it” to me, I had to set her straight and tell her it is not for me to fix her issues. Still, when I see something troubling her, I feel terrible and want to help. That’s when stupid mom mode comes into play. You see, my biggest issue is that I’m a thinker and a writer. I need time to think things out and then put them down in writing so I can contemplate what I have, rearrange it if necessary, and work it out so it makes sense. If I am called upon to act immediately, try as I may, I usually cannot think of the best thing to do or say. I always look back later and think , “Oh I should have said….” or “I should have done….”. Unfortunately, with kids, I don’t get assignments with deadlines. Nope. Instead I get emergencies that require an immediate response. And I have learned kids’ drama + immediate responses = putting foot in mouth.
One such incident took place during my daughter’s bowling league. She kept coming to me and complaining that the other girls were teasing her and being mean. I tried several times to tell her to just ignore it. The final straw was when she broke down crying. [TRAUMA! Enter irrational mom emotions.] So I went over to the group of girls and attempted to play mediator. I should have kept my mouth shut. Looking back, I know to the other parents it sounded more like I was a crazed mom about to pounce on their “innocent” kids for falsly harassing my child. I felt like an idiot. Ironically, in the end, the girls all ended being friends with my daughter, and they went from being on opposing bowling teams to being on the same team. It’s funny how things work like that. So I try to always remember that incident when my daughter brings her drama to me to “fix”. I should have remembered that today.
Luckily today I didn’t come off quite as much the idiot as I did back then, but I still should have just stayed out of my child’s drama. She was upset about her city bus ride today. It seems my friend’s daughter (“K”), has older friends that she sits with on the bus. According to Virginia, these friends are mean to her and curse at her, so she won’t sit with them. It was her choice to stay away from them, but she was upset about not being included. Being that my friend has such a super sweet daughter, who is popular and more mature than most adults I know, I thought I would help Virginia by telling “K” (yes her mom was present) that her friends were mean to Virginia. As the words came out of my mouth I felt like a complete idiot. Why didn’t I just let it all go? Well, in my un-thought-out-perfect-vision of the situation, I had hoped “K” would help Virginia by inviting her to sit with them and simply telling her friends that Virginia was her friend, which may possibly turn the situation around for Virginia. Yes, I do believe this child has this sort of pull at her school. To make me feel even more stupid, “K” asked Virginia a couple questions, and it turns out these friends were mean to Virginia LAST year. How is it that this 13 year old appeared to be so much more reasonable and logical than me? I think I totally lost cool points with my friend and her daughter. “K” explained to Virginia that the kids she referred to from last year weren’t on the bus, and the one that was part of that group, is a nice girl. So I explained to “K” that Virginia has the once-bitten-twice-shy syndrome. Now that I knew the situation, I suggested to Virginia that she give them a chance and try to sit with them and be friends. These kids probably don’t even remember her. Will that happen? Well that’s up to Virginia.
What appeared to be a major deal, was minor kid drama. I learned once again that I cannot let my child’s emotions affect mine. But it’s hard. It’s hard to watch this little person you love so dearly go through the most challenging parts of their lives and get hurt. A mom can’t help but want to shield their “baby” from heartbreak, but I know that is just part of the lessons we must learn in this school of life. Sadly, it’s probably true that the more they are exposed to, the more they will learn. I just have to learn to sit back with a guiding hand, but to not interfere and keep my mouth shut.