One of the surprises of parenting that I have dealt with since becoming a mom is not with my own children but with that of dealing with other children and parents.
I am surprised on a regular basis how some parents react to their children’s misbehavior or should I say don’t react. When we out and about we frequently run into kids who say or do mean things with their parents in ear or eye shot. They do not discipline or even address the issue with their child. I have a problem with that. The problem is how do I react?
In my mind I say –hey aren’t you going to do something about your little so and so? But I don’t. There are times when another child has done something more than once that I have gently spoken to the parent. However, many times there is not a resolve that satisfies me or my children. So it comes down to telling my children to find another place to play or another friend.
There are times when my momma bear instinct overwhelms me. I remember the first time I had the momma bear feeling. It was nearly 20 years ago when I took my then four-year-old niece and godchild to the park for the first time – just the two of us. We played together for a while. Then I took a seat on the bench and watched her run from swing to monkey bars then to a line to climb the ladder for the slide. A little boy jumped in front of her. Before I knew what I was doing, I was off the bench, running across the park and putting the little boy in his place - behind my godchild.
It wasn’t until I sat back down that I realized my emotions to the moment and what I had done.
Recently, there was an incident at an outdoor music venue. My kids, 8 and 10, were playing with other children somewhat nearby. While the play area was behind us, my husband and I could see them by simply turning around.
After a few minutes of them playing, our children came back in a frantic manner. Julia, 8, was crying and Charlotte was yelling about some lady fussing at Julia. I have to note Charlotte is every bit a sister bear as I am a momma bear.
After we got them calmed down, my husband took Julia to wash her face. When he did I got the scoop from Charlotte.
The lady did not like the game and toy Julia was playing with. She did not react the way I would have toward another child by saying something like “Sweetie, could you not do that here?” Or “Honey, I don’t think that is a good idea?” And if she was not comfortable talking to my child, she could have asked to speak to us and done so politely.
Instead she laid into Julia like she was some sort of criminal according to Charlotte.
I fumed to the point that I could not enjoy the music. When my husband came back with Julia, he took both girls to get ice cream. It was then I felt the momma bear really rise and I laid out my plan. I stood in my spot, took the objectionable toy and proceeded to hold up until the lady, talking to several other folks, saw me. She said something like “really?” I said something like “how dare you make my kid cry.”
Then I turned and walked over to visit with another mommy friend I spotted earlier. I told her what happened and she said “good for you, let me know if you need back-up.”
Am I proud of my gesture? I am a little. I am proud because I stood up to a bully with quiet protest. No one could really say I did anything wrong. And for Charlotte and Julia’s sake, they know that momma bear has their back in a (somewhat) civilized form.