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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why ya gotta be so mean?

I generally try to maintain a positive outlook on life. I am definitely a "glass half-full" kind of girl. When I relate the stories of my life to other people, it's generally with for others' amusement. I believe in laughing about what ails you because if you can't laugh about life's little problems, you run the risk of becoming bitter. Crabby. Angry. Mean.

It's a painful word, mean. When I hear it, I generally think of several things:
Mike Tyson.
School yard bullies.
People who catch butterflies.
My ancient fifth-grade teacher who used to pull our hair if we weren't listening.
In short, anyone who tortures another living being for pleasure.

My husband and I have had a running joke about me being the "mean mom." The mom who wouldn't let her kids ride their bikes without a helmet. The mom who makes them put away their own clothes. The mom who won't allow them to swim without adult supervision. Yep, that's me, definitely the mean mom.

And yet it still came as something of a gut-check recently to find out that I am, really and truly, the mean mom... in the eyes of a... teacher?

We were attending an information session at one of the kids' schools when I found myself feeling slightly under attack by one of the teachers. This particular instructor felt very strongly about the merits of a certain class. When I questioned what would happen if certain requirements were not met by my child, the teacher was clearly taken aback. Aghast, even, that I would dare to question my brilliant daughter's brilliant-ness. Now, let's be clear. She's a very intelligent kid. She's mine, after all. But as I like to believe that one's education should be well-rounded, I wanted to weigh how she would handle the extra demands of the particular class versus keeping decent grades in other classes in which she's not as well-versed.

The next day my sweet, smart, daughter came home and with a laugh, related that her teacher had said - in front of the class - that her mom was really mean.

Mean. Me. Zoinks.
The first thing I did was apologize to my daughter and make sure she understood that I have complete faith in her. I have no qualms about her taking the class but I wanted to make sure she could keep up with her work and still maintain some kind of life outside of school. She thought it very amusing. Since then I've debated - do I call the teacher and apologize for questioning her authority? Did I really and truly come across that badly? Did Taylor Swift write a song about me?

This happened several weeks ago and clearly it's still bothering me. I guess the most important person in this whole issue - my daughter - seems to be doing well despite my mean-ness. I did, in fact, agree to let her take the course in question and I expect she'll do fabulously.

Meanwhile, her current teacher just assigned another hundred notecards on top of all their other homework. No weekend fun for you kiddo!

 Hey Teach?  Why ya gotta be so mean?

1 comment:

  1. Bev, clearly this instructor has a somewhat skewed idea of what parental involvement should mean. She did engage you to help partner with you in your daughter's education, but rather chose to 1) place judgement and 2) behave in an unprofessional manner.

    On a side note, I know there is no way you could be the mean mom when my son has spent a limited amount of time with you and still talks about Ms Beverly and her cool house. He does not associate with meanies haha

    Great post - it made me think of myself and my own definitions. I am the mean mom and try very hard to learn to be the "loose and carefree" mom. I hope I find a good middle somewhere!