Dear Mom in the Green and White Shirt,
You probably think I didn't notice, but I did. I saw you gossiping about my son with another child's guardian and I want you to know that I felt like I was in high school again.
I felt like I was the new kid and that whenever I would walk by the "cool kids," they'd make fun of my knee-high socks. But nowadays, instead of poking fun at my socks, you look at me and think, "Oh look! It's the mother of that child."
That child who's hit yours one too many times. That child who's made fun of and teased yours. That child who's done myriad other disappointing things.
Yes, I'm the mother of that child. The one who constantly causes trouble. The one who other parents have deemed a nuisance to be around. Several thoughts probably swirl through your mind, "What kind of parents does he have?", "Why isn't his mom disciplining him?," or "If he was my child, he would never behave like that!"
As hurtful as these thoughts are, I understand you. If someone hurt my child, I'd be just as upset. The thing is, I'm on the other side. I'm the mother of that child who parents are slowly beginning to dislike.
I wish I could walk up to you and tell you that my child isn't all bad. That like everyone else, he's got his good traits too. I bet you don't know that he loves cleaning the house, watering plants and taking care of babies and animals.
But you don't know that because whenever you see him, you raise your eyebrows and silently wish he'd stay out of school. Don't deny it, we both know it's true.
Truth be told, it's been exhausting being the mother of that child. To love someone with all your heart, just to have it broken into a million pieces everyday when the teacher comes up to me with a report.
Not only does it hurt, but it makes me feel like a failure as a mother. Am I too strict? Too lenient? Should I spank him when he does this? Or should I simply talk to him when he does that?
It's confusing and it's exhausting, having to struggle everyday trying to understand that child. But as if that wasn't pressure enough, I have to deal with a group of mothers who, as opposed to talking to me about their concerns, have opted to gather like a school of fish behind my back and feed each other the little information they know about my son.
I wish I could tell you that his father had walked out on him twice. That my son felt angry, rejected and that he hasn't been the same since. Did you know that when he was five, he asked his teachers and classmates to pray for him? To pray to God that his daddy would love him again so that he could see him? No, you don't.
I wish I could tell you that I work two jobs to help pay for his tuition and therapy bills. That his grandparents have been more than generously helping out, too. That I am currently exhausting all options to better understand what's going on in his little mind. That I am doing all that I can to make sure that my child doesn't hurt yours.
I am doing everything that I can, but ultimately, the choice to behave is up to my son. And unfortunately, as a six-year-old, he fails to see that as a consequence of his actions, not only is he hurting your child, but he's hurting you, your family, me, his grandparents, and several other people, too.
Be that as it may, as exhausting and frustrating as life has been lately, I am his mother. I am the mother of that child and I refuse to give up on him. So, what I'm trying to say is, I understand that you're angry. I understand that you're hurt.
But passing judgement on a child and his mother without knowing the whole story? That doesn't make you a better person nor does it make you a better parent.
You and your child have become one of the many reasons why I will continue to persevere to provide my child with all the help that I can. And one day, when he grows up to be a respectable and proper gentleman, I will look back at the moment I caught you gossiping and be glad that, in line with whatever misconceptions you had about him, my son will have finally proven you wrong.
If you are a #MotherOfThatChild, know that you aren't alone. There are thousands of moms across the world that share your heartache and know what you're going through. Life may not be easy now, but don't give up. One day, I promise you, everything will be worth it.
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