Talking To Other Parents About Stuff That Bothers You
June 20, 2011
Everyone knows I’m a single mom raising a little boy—especially people I see out and about who, I assume, consider me a friend, hmmm?? Well, something is soooo bugging me and I know I need to say something before I snap. There’s a family we see often. Picture a mom, dad and four little girls. Picture pink, princesses and tutus x 1000. Do I care my son plays with these girls or picks up their dolls? NOPE. Am I over the dad in this scenario telling my son he’s a wimp and making comments to his wife, I am supposed to hear, but it’s like they’re being said with me not in the room? “I can tease boys! Boys are supposed to be tough.” FUMING. My plan is…
To just say something. Today. Say something like, ya know, something has been bothering me. I don’t like the sarcasm you use with MY son. Not only do I not practice such in MY home, but he’s 3 and doesn’t understand it. He just thinks you’re BULLYING him. It’s going to end now. I don’t make remarks to your daughters. I don’t discipline them. I don’t say a word when X gets bossy with my son. I let the kids figure it out and I’ll only step in if MY son isn’t sharing, or pushes—or does something for me, MOM, to handle.
I’m sympathetic to the fact that this dad doesn’t have a boy to be rough and tough with, but I really don’t limit JD to “boy stuff.” He likes trucks, mud and bugs. He also likes to dance, paint and visit museums. He’s not a sissy, or a wimp. He’s a friendly, smart, thoughtful, logical kiddo—and, OK, sometimes, like all KIDS HIS AGE, he doesn’t want to share his cars, when most of the time he does! This is a kid who sees a stray ant and wonders if it’s lonely. Seriously. Me: "It's not lonely, bud. His mommy is cooking grilled cheese in the kitchen. She'll be over soon."
I think these subtle digs are also because my lifestyle, being a single working mom is deemed unacceptable by the picket-fencers. I once had a conversation where mom and dad were wondering about another girl’s dad. But we all know he is MIA. So, I said, "you know he’s not around." And mom said, “everyone has a dad, where is he?” Yes, everyone on this Earth originated from man and female parts getting together. But everyone doesn’t have a dad. Or a mom.
My biggest issue is that I have platonic guy friends, friends that are the dads of JD's friends -- and I see how...normal they are with JD. They high-five, they push him on the swing, they call him dude...they talk to me about anything and everything while our kids play in the sandbox. It's easy-breezy fun. I just want cool guys around my kid (and me), what can I say. What SHOULD I say???
Again, sorry for being so blunt here -- this has been bothering me for a bit now.
I would love your advice on how to approach this problem—because in my book, it’s a problem.