Sometimes I have to pretend to be a “real mom”, one who knows exactly how to behave when she’s told that her son has acted disruptively in a group, kicked a ball through a glass window, or written his name in Sharpie on a playground slide, but the truth is, I have no idea who I’m supposed to be in those moments. Or what expression I should have on my face.
Am I a badly behaved adult who cannot extract appropriate manners from a little boy? Am I a prudish woman who is offended by this little boy behavior? Am I a sympathetic adult who is terribly sorry that this teacher has to work with my child? Am I an inconvenienced mother who wishes this would all go away? Usually, all of the above.
Here are a few of my listening faces for when a teacher or authority figure is telling me that my son has behaved poorly. Would you want to see any of these when you tell me that my child is pulling pigtails on the circle time rug?
I want you to know that I’m concerned (but not overly concerned), competent, listening, surprised (but I totally believe you). Since I realize that you don’t want to see the “Oh crap, this again!” face, I’ve been working on a few other facial expressions so you know that I hear you and I’m taking this situation seriously.
But inside my head, it’s a whole different story. I’m spinning about:
- Whether or not his behavior is age-appropriate, maybe just a phase…
- Do I have the whole story?
- Why does this keep happening?
- Am I a complete failure? Fraud? Both?
- Let’s solve this problem! We can do it, we just need an action plan, proper consequences, and to make amends!
- Overall grrrr.
Frankly, I wish you were just calling to tell me that my kid is a joy.
After hanging up the phone or walking away from our meeting, I have to turn all these emotions and expressions back into a calm parent who listens respectfully while sternly disciplining her child. And then we confidently face another day. Ha!
Please tell me I’m not alone on this!