Because I tutor children, there are some things I have realised about different mothers (who are generally the primary dealers with me).
The main thing, of course, is that they do like to talk about their kids. The thing is, you see, I really am not interested in what Aaron ate for lunch last night, or how late Peter went to bed (theoretical names).
I genuinely DO NOT CARE. I care how much your son knows or if your daughter has done her homework, but all those little details about how good they are… I don’t care.
A mother’s opinion is highly subjective, of course. I know lots of mothers who take it too far. For example, my mother in law, doesn’t like it when anybody else highlights anything bad about her kids even though some of them are right brats. RIGHT brats, I tell you, and it really annoys me. They aren’t perfect just because you birthed them, you know. And they genuinely are horrible and mean, e.g. one of my bro in laws is pretty mean to my little brother so my mum doesn’t want them to mix as much.
Even with D, if I say something, even if its so small like ‘Oh, D couldn’t cook to save his life’ (because I always cook and a girl gets sick of that you know? And he can’t cook but you could darn well learn to, even if you hate it, and help your wife out a little. He acts like such a baby when it comes to cooking I swear) she will say ‘awww but he’s my baby, he’s such a good boy, his heart is in the right place.’
Um, I’m married to him, I know how he treats me sometimes, it’s like he is a massive child and it’s because he is constantly coddled. I won’t mother him. And I will secretly really seethe when you coddle him and treat him like a child, because that just makes him act like one with me and lately, after living here for a good four months now, it’s getting worse. Gah. I need to move out already.
Anyway, so some mothers like to say how good their kids are and how well-behaved etc etc… BUT I REALLY REALLY DON’T CARE.
I will be the judge of that, thank you, based on how they behave with me. A lot of mothers just can’t accept that their son back talked me or their daughter keeps disrupting the class.
‘Oh but he’s such a good boy he can’t….’
He jolly well can and if you aren’t going to take responsibility he will grow up an arrogant fool and nobody will like him.
For example, a student was late for his lesson and his mother texted that he couldn’t wake up, and it’s fine, of course, sometimes people can’t wake up because they need the extra sleep. So I said,
‘Ok, that’s fine. We can resume next lesson.’
There. End of.
But then she goes on to say, ‘Andrew wakes up at night, he struggles to wake up, and he has poorer health than others. He ate cereal last night and it didn’t agree with him, I think it’s the milk, maybe I should start giving him fruit if he wakes up hungry.’ [this is the literal text, by the way]…. ON and ON and ON.
I get that you want me to understand that he isn’t being spoiled and there is a genuine reason for his tiredness, but spare me all the details.
I really don’t care, lady. It irritates me because then I have to REPLY to it, and I really don’t want to because I didn’t want to know the details about Andrew anyway. He is so rude to me, honestly, and gets really pissy when I correct him, even though it’s my job to, and when I try to explain to him where he went wrong he just grunts at me. Which is rude for a 12 year old boy. But his mother brushes it off saying his cereal put him in a bad mood, or ‘he takes his study so seriously and gets really upset when he gets it wrong.’
Son, you are going to get it wrong plenty of times so learn to deal with it and move on. So I roll with it and smile and nod and say ‘good job’ while inside I am just really wishing I could tell him to stop whining and get on with it.
She also has to bribe him to have lessons, by promising him sweets. Makes my blood boil. She is basically bending over backwards to make him out to be this angel when really he is disrespectful and is too big for his boots, and needs a slap.
Some mothers think that other people have no right to say their kid has done wrong, even if said other person is dealing with their kid for hours and hours a day, even if said person is MARRIED to their kid. No, only you can decide if your kid is being naughty. I think that is very wrong.
My mum’s friend told me she saw that her daughter was being told off by her class teacher at school and suddenly she was gripped with this rush of anger making her hurdle down the stairs so fast to intercept it.
What? I said, But surely the teacher has a right to do that? How else will the teacher maintain discipline in the class?
The lady wasn’t having any of it, though.
Oh no. Not to my baby. She’s an angel, she would never do anything naughty, nobody else can tell her off but me!
I really, really have had it this morning. It’s a combination of lack of sleep, D acting like a big child and being moody with me (because, I dunno, my hair’s a mess?), his whole family in the room last night at 10pm when I just wanted to go to bed because I have been awake since 5:45am and need to get up at 5:45am again tomorrow, and my head pounding like a thousand Thor hammers creating a racket in there, but no, they can sit around and chill while I am blatantly waiting to sleep, his mother babying him (if I hear one more ‘awww my baby’ I will explode!), and all these mothers making excuses for their rude little children.
If I spoke to my teacher like that (I wouldn’t dare to, out of respect), my mother would nip that in the bud quicker than I could blink. She would march me over there and make me apologise, and forget watching movies or having treats for a good week (which is AGES in child time).
Well. Who knows what I will be like when I am a mother. Hopefully I will be sensible and recognise when my child has done wrong, rather than make them think they are angels walking on this earth.
The Naughty Boy – George Bernard O’Neill