This past weekend I met a woman who goes to our church. We’re fairly new there, and she was asking me about my kids’ ages. When I told her that my youngest son was 8 years old and goes to Sunday school, she immediately asked me if he sits in church with us too.
I wavered. This woman obviously was a “children should be in church” mom and I’m not. When I think of Youngest Son lying on the pew, coloring and asking me 100 times when the service was going to be over, I silently thank the sunday school teachers for their time and kindness. Things are definitely better now that he is no longer “worshipping” with us.
I was then on the receiving end of a litany about how it’s important for families to be together and then go to Bible study, etc, etc when something in the very back of my brain snapped and I shut down. If Bossy Mom had been paying attention and not lecturing me, she may have heard the hum of my mind come to a complete stop and seen my eyes glaze over. However, she wasn’t done proselytizing despite the fact that I was done listening.
It then occurred to me that I was DONE listening to other Bossy Moms give me advice, period. I’m not talking girlfriend advice or a friendly pep talk. I’m done with people who want to give me unsolicited advice regarding how to live my life, raise my kids and conduct my church activities. Done. Done. Done.
Today is Eldest Son’s 17th birthday and, quite frankly, I’ve been doing this mommy thing for a long time now. In fact, I think that mothers should be allowed stripes for every year of parenting, just like the military. We could work our way up in the ranks and special medals could be awarded for injury during combat, bravery and volunteering.
If Bossy Mom had seen my stripes she would have said, “You don’t take your son to… oh, I’m sorry, Second Lieutenant Lee. I see that you are a decorated war hero, rewarded with the ‘Lack of Sleep for 24 Months’ award and ‘I’ve Raised Willful Children’ medal too. Forgive me – good job. As you were, soldier.” We would have saluted each other and moved on. No lectures, no judgement. Just two moms, both doing the best we can.
However, I had no such stripes so all I could do was say, “Nice meeting you,” and go back to the trenches. From now on, however, this Semper Fi mom is on a mission to be kind and supportive to other parents I meet. Come to think of it, Bossy Mom would have made a great drill sargent.