Dear Snotty Parents,
This serves as a warning before my child enters the world of art and dance classes, the gates of playgrounds, or even the doorway of a school: your snotty counterpart that is your behavioral-issue-ridden, entitled-yet-mediocre, attitude-problem child is not better than mine.
The reason for my pre-emptive strike was an article I was reading this morning. It was about a young girl selling Girl Scout cookies outside a medical marijuana shop in California. Apparently, she sold a lot more than normal at this spot and people are applauding her choice to set up shop there. I did not even read the comments against the parents of the child. It was one comment in particular that set me off on a rampage. A woman, I shall call her “This Bitch”, commented snidely about the sale of the cookies. “Well, my daughter sold more than that and that is her normal day,” said This Bitch in so many words, trying desperately to belittle anyone who thinks that about 120 boxes of Girl Scout cookies is an accomplishment for an elementary or middle school child. This Bitch continues, “But I guess that is good for her.” Amidst the angry comments about pot being terrible or the comments defending medical marijuana, This Bitch has to put her two cents in about how her child is better. She was not provoked. She was not asked for her two cents (as this social media thing seems to go). She simply wanted to let everyone know how much better her child was. And in the 200 or more other comments on the subject, I found no one else who was interested in bragging. Which I guess says a lot of good things about humanity.
When I reflected on this comment, I realized that there is a chance that this woman’s child feels exactly the same about herself. Thinking that others accomplishments are nothing compared to her own. And I can only imagine the countless other children who incur the wrath of said child each and every day. If you are person who likes to tear down others, especially a woman tearing down other women, you are only paving a way for the cycle to continue in your children. You are teaching that it is okay to brag, even if it makes others feel smaller than you.
Now, I know that we all as mothers look at our children as the most perfect beings every made. It is nature. But there is a difference between boosting your own child and using the child as a weapon to boost yourself. The new flash is that your child’s entrepreneurial skills should not serve as a reminder that others can not do what she does. There is always someone better at it and there is always someone worse. Because that is how this shit works. Our children find talents and excel at them. They find subjects in school that they like and they pass them, even if it is their ability to show up and attend classes for things they are not so good at. It means they haven’t given up on themselves.
We need to find a balance in how we hold them up and how we humble them. They should not be on a pedestal that we built for them using the broken hearts and hurt feelings of others. They need to learn how to build their own pedestal out of hard work and good intentions. This makes the difference between the heart surgeon who kills their patient accidentally while rushing through the procedure to make it to the 9:30 flight to the Keys and the heart surgeon who just wants to do right by his patients. The difference between the CEO that donates millions to charities and the CEO that still finds ways to swindle money from others in an investment scam. The difference between the child who is just happy that she sold 120 or so boxes of cookies for her troop and the child who reminds everyone that the 200 plus boxes she sold are the reason that they get to go on the camping trip.
When my daughter meets yours, snotty parent or This Bitch or That Bitch, I don’t know what her skills will be. I don’t know what she will excel at. Right now it is looking like her skills lie in the “averting sleep” category. But if she is in your daughter’s dance class, don’t come to me gloating about how many hours more she practiced than mine or what part of the list she was on to get into the class. I don’t want to know and I don’t care. If you would like to tell me how much both our children enjoy doing this and how hard they are both working, I will gladly discuss that topic. Don’t tell me how little Sally is so wonderful that she is going to Europe to perform before anyone else in the class. I will just tell you to watch the movie Hostel and have fun on your trip.
Don’t pollute my child’s positivity with the void you are filling with your own children. And stop contributing soul-less creatures with bad intentions to humanity itself.