Motha _____a

I would do anything for my sons. Well, maybe not anything and not even almost anything – but I would do a lot of things for my sons. For instance, if someone or a group were attacking us, I would plead with them to just take me and leave my sons alone. I would willingly accept the threat of death if it meant saving my sons. I think most mothers would. If the house was on fire, I would push them out first and make sure they were safe before saving myself. I also think most mothers would do this. Anything that has to do with risk of harm or death to them, let’s just say I would do whatever I could to ensure their safety at the risk of my own.
On a less serious level, I actually do a lot for my sons. Probably too much. I wash jeans or a certain shirt late at night if they decide before bed that they want to wear a certain item to school the next day. The few times I haven’t made enough food for dinner, I go without or don’t eat until I know they’ve had all they want. I’ve driven over to school in the middle of the day with books or homework assignments or clothes for sporting events or practice that they’ve forgot to take that morning. I probably let them get by without doing enough chores. I drive them down to the Community Center to play basketball, even tho they are teenagers and we only live 10 blocks from there.
But what I won’t do is help them get something they didn’t earn, especially at school. My sons are smart and very capable and usually make A’s, and if they don’t prepare enough to get an A on a test or assignment then that’s their problem. They will have to accept the lower grade. What I won’t do is contact the teacher and insist through any means that my son get to retake a test or redo a speech or redo an assignment as many times as needed to get the “A”. And if my sons don’t qualify or get chosen to take advanced classes I don’t call the teacher who teaches the advanced class and insist through sheer force and intimidation that an exception be made and my son be allowed to take the class. If my son doesn’t qualify for a reward lunch because he made one B instead of all A’s, I don’t call the teacher who gave him the B and insist the B be changed to an A and that he be allowed to go to the lunch. If my sons don’t qualify for the gifted program because of scores they made on a standardized test, I don’t complain constantly about the school district or call the school administration and insist my sons be retested or that they be let in the class based on other criteria. I don’t do my son’s science project to help ensure he gets an award at the science fair. In other words, we try not to be sore losers.
But there are mothers out there who will go to these lengths for their children. And this practice isn’t limited to just academics. It happens in sports too. There are mothers out there who complain to the school superintendents and try to get the coach fired if their son is taken out of play sometimes during games instead of just playing the entire game without being taken out. And I know of one mother who was so beset by fear that another player on a team was going to qualify for an honor that her son maybe wouldn’t qualify for, that she went to the parents of the other child and encouraged them to not let him accept the honor if he was awarded it – because she said she didn’t think it would be fair to the other players on the team! There are parents who yell at players during games if they think that player may be perceived as a better player than their son, even if they’re on the same team!
I’m guilty of a lot of things, but envy isn’t one of them. I’m thrilled when my sons do well, but I’m also thrilled when some other student I know does well in his or her studies or sports. My sons are also really good athletes, but there are others who are better than they are and there always will be and that doesn’t upset me. I’m just happy my two are staying involved and enjoying it. My sons golf, but they don’t excel at it, and another young man we know is doing very well and has had two nice articles written about him in the paper recently, and I congratulated him lots at church on Sunday when I saw him and his dad. I’m very happy for him and his parents, because I know they’re proud. One of my sons didn’t get to go to an academic award lunch and fun day one semester, so he put in more effort to make sure his grades would warrant him getting to go this time. He earned the right to go – I didn’t throw a fit to make it happen.
Why do parents act badly, especially mothers? Aren’t we all in this together? Is it insecurity on the part of the parent? If so, I’m one of the most insecure people I know so why don’t I engage in this behavior? Is it envy? Lots of us don’t have as much as others so why don’t we all operate this way? Do they love their children more than I love mine? I doubt anyone could. I’ll probably never understand what drives well-educated and otherwise successful people to turn into green-eyed monsters who almost become ruthless when it comes to their children, even to the point of it affecting the other kids in the class or on the same team.
As a Christian, I’ll just pray about it and try to accept it. I’ll try to not let these outrageous tactics irritate me when it affects my own son and I won’t confront the mother, as much as I would like to. I’ll try to remember that person is lacking somewhere in their lives somehow and so much that it drives them to get their child recognized and acknowledged as one of the best somehow and someway, even if it means their child gets rewards they haven’t earned, they irritate teachers and administrators or that their child might be ridiculed by other students who are aware of this. Because one thing worse than the types of mothers who demand unfair rewards for their children are the ones who let themselves get petty and angry and fixated about it. And I don’t want to be “that” type of mother.

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