I’m not a Tiger Mum.
I’m the kind of Mum who prefers not to helicopter around her when we’re at the park. Bigger kids might push her a little but I try not to intervene too much as it’s all part of her learning how things work; learning to stand up for herself from time to time. Nursery has been such a great experience for her so far and I can see her confidence grow from strength to strength.
Last weekend, we were in the queue to pay at Tesco and a couple of 8 year old kids were next to us playing with their football. Emma loves a football so immediately it caught her eye but she sat there nonchalantly eating her Babybel that I had bribed her with. Then all of a sudden, they openly started laughing at her, pointing and even called her a racist name. I couldn’t believe it, standing there frozen in shock that this was happening.
I’m not a Tiger Mum but I am right now.
As I stood there boiling with rage, I glanced over to the Mum and mentioned that I thought it was uncalled for, to which she replied that I was an a**hole and to ‘get a life’. I know I should have just left it. I should have just taken a deep breath and let it wash over me. They don’t matter and I shouldn’t have let it get to me. But I couldn’t just leave it. I had flashbacks to when I was laughed at as a child and all I wanted to do was protect Emma. It was unfair – she is not even 2 years old and can’t stand up for herself. How I felt was like an uncontrollable feeling to protect my girl. So I said my piece and walked away with dignity. I was so cross that I even forgot to eat my sneaky packet of Frazzles, which I’m sure has not happened before.
On the drive home, torturing myself at whether I did enough in that situation or if I did the wrong thing, I started to wonder why they were ridiculing her. Was it:
- My toddler was eating food in the trolley – if only they knew that the alternative is arch-backed rage that she can’t run around. That red wax cheese saves me every time.
- I was a dazed Mombie – was it me they were laughing at? Because I was staring into space, taking a few moments to just catch my breath after a busy day.
- Because kids are cruel.
I realised that there is no point running through these options because I will never know why.
But it disappointed me, is that what we’re faced with now, parents who will defend their children behaving badly to others? I remember when I was younger, that would not be the case and us knowing that we didn’t have the safety net of our parents defending us when we were jerks was such a positive thing. And ultimately isn’t that what we’re trying to achieve as parents – to bring people into this world that are decent human beings. Well I thought so.
I never thought I’d label myself as a Tiger Mum but I’m not ashamed of being one when the situation needs it. Sometimes it goes too far and you have to say something, because not saying something means accepting that it’s okay to treat someone this way. I’m just so glad that she is too young to pick up on this kind of behaviour. As we left the supermarket, she laughed hysterically as the trolley went over those bumps by the zebra crossing. Immediately I was brought out of this bad feeling by the joy on her face and it was all forgotten. I will always protect her as much as I can, and seeing her happy reminds me that’s all that matters really.