I know this may come to a shock to those of you who have been reading my blog(s) but I’ve always been famous for my inability to be confrontational in any and all situations. I’ve always hated conflict and have been known to freeze at the precise times I should be speaking up.
Wrong coffee order? It’s fine. I’ll drink it anyway!
Bad service at a restaurant? No worries! Here’s 20%!
Screwed on my phone bill? Oh well.
Cut in front of in line? No worries!
I don’t make a phone calls or write letters of complaint when I get screwed. That’s just not my style. Even in Archer’s baby days, when strangers made snide remarks about the fact that I wasn’t breastfeeding, I didn’t fight back. I just sat there. Mainly because what the hell’s the use in saying something? Especially to someone I don’t care about. This is probably why I’m attracted to wildly confrontational people. My husband, for instance, who will stay on hold for three hours in order to yell at our cable provider or file a complaint against a police officer who cited me (or him) “improperly.” My friends are the same way. They’re badasses in ways I’ll never be. I think it’s all about the balance. I’m too laid back in most cases. Something people can smell from miles away and regularly take advantage of. (Unfortunately, in my case, many times.)
But that, my fine friends was THEN. Something snapped in recent years and now I’m a changed woman. How did this happen, you ask? Two words: Archer.
It all started two years ago in the sandbox. Archer was playing nicely with his shovel and bucket when all of a sudden, an older boy snatched the shovel out of Archer’s hands. Without thinking I got up, rolled up my sleeves and literally tackled the boy to the ground.
“This isn’t yours. And if you take it again, I’ll end you.” I said.
Okay, so I didn’t really say that but I did tear the toy from his hand and make him go back and apologize to Archer for being a jerk. (I would have effed some ish up with the parents, had any of them been
there. Our park is 95% nanny operated and 90% of these nannies just
hang on the sidelines and gossip, ignoring the actions of the children
they care for, leaving people like me with no choice but to discipline. So annoying.) The kid stayed away from Archer and from me for the rest of the afternoon. I would even go so far as to say he looked a little scared.
Could it be? Had Motherhood suddenly made me ballsy? Intimidating? Someone bullies might even come to fear?
And stay out!
Whoa. What happened? My mom is turning into a kind of badass.
Over the years there have been plenty of times shovels were stolen, so to speak. Because some kids steal shovels. And so over and over I steal them back, explaining to Archer that if something has your name on it, and someone wants to take it from you, that’s just not cool. Asking? A different story. Taking? No way, Jose.
Because of this, or maybe because Archer’s more like me in his non-confrontational-ness, Archer has never stolen a shovel. Not to say that he won’t one day, and I hope if/when he does someone reprimands him if I’m not there to. Because shovel-stealing JUST WILL NOT DO!
And if parents/nannies don’t want to be the ones to teach their kids the importance of kindness, then how the hell can I keep my mouth shut? Case in point, the other day, when I had to break up a fight between two eight-year-olds who were kicking the shit out of one another as their father read the newspaper a mere five feet away. Archer and several other kids his age were watching in horror, so I grabbed both kids by their shirts and told them to “go beat each other up somewhere besides the Barnes and Noble train area! There are little kids here trying to PLAY WITH THOMAS AND FRIENDS, YOU HEAR ME?” The kids scurried off, followed by their dad, who looked like he was waiting for me to reprimand him, too.
And stay out!
I suddenly felt like a superhero, fighting injustice and the bullies of America! Protecting the peace with my newfound ability to speak up and protect my kid.
These days I don’t just feel like I’m speaking out to protect/set an example for Archer. More and more I find myself looking out for myself, too. I’m proud to say that I now speak up when given the wrong coffee order. Hell! I even said something to the bitch who cut in front of me in line at the post office last week! Something I would have never done had motherhood not taught me the ways of the Samurai.
So thank you, Archer. For teaching me to stand strong and speak up. First for you, and now, for myself. If I ever write another book about being a mom, I think I’ll call it: How Motherhood made me a Scary Badass Mofo.
Has a certain ring to it. Don’t you think?