Monday, September 17, 2007

That Mom

One of my favorite parts of the day is walking PB to and from his preschool classroom. The school is undergoing some construction so it takes a few minutes, but it's fun to hold his hand, talk about the day to come or that has just passed. I like to hear him and his friends call out to each other and chat (he seems so big these days!). I like standing around with the other parents before and after school chatting and getting to know them. I've met some really nice moms, and it seems like a great community.

The other day, however, we were walking to PB's classroom when all of a sudden a woman pushes me, yes pushes, me out of the way and runs past trailing two girls behind her. "Sorry, have a kindergartner," she shouted on her way by. No excuse me, no accident here, it was a pure out and out shove as she bolstered her way past me. I was shocked, not really believing that this happened at preschool, and a Christian one at that.

After recovering from the jolt, I shrugged it off, because I'd seen her around on a few other occasions, and I just knew she was just "That Mom." The mom who tries too hard, has no social skills, is loud, overbearing and just has no clue how to behave much of the time. When your trying to be polite and her name comes up innocently, you see the looks on the faces of others around that tell you they also know she's That Mom. Of course you never discuss it; it's just there.

To her credit she did find me later at a parents' meeting and apologized in this breathless, annoying way, but it really wasn't apologizing--more like defending what she did. "It's Kindergarten and they count attendance and everything," she told me. Personally, I'd rather have my child be tardy than to have him see me shove someone out of the way, but to each his own. I just wanted her to leave before she took the seat next to me, so I said, "no problem".

That Mom was present in Seattle last year in PB's class as well. She was the one who for at least the first eight weeks of school asked me EVERYtime she saw me if PB was an only child. Seriously, EVERY time. It was so annoying, particularly because it's an emotional issue for me. I'm not sure if she wanted more of an explanation, wanted me to say something more, or if she was just clueless. But it was incredible to me that it kept happening over and over. And it wasn't just me that was victim to her careless remarks. She told another mom, "You're a big woman, aren't you?" and to another she asked how she got such petite daughters when she, "wasn't petite at all."

And while annoying, That Mom really doesn't have any ill intentions (that's a whole other breed of mother). Behind their brash behavior I really think they're trying. Not everyone is comfortable in social situations, and when you're a mom you're often forced into them for your children's sake. Probably the That Moms out there are at least a little self aware and don't want their children to turn out as socially awkward as they are. So they end up trying too hard.

I should have more compassion I guess, but not too much. That Mom is notorious for finding a hapless mother and leeching on. Then there she is shouting your name across a parking lot the size of a football field, pushing countless others out of her way as she catches up to you and talks your ear off loudly in and out of the building each day.

P.S. Like always, I have to qualify what I just wrote and say, I realize that there are many types of moms out there. None of us is perfect--who knows maybe I'm That Mom to someone? But for the most part, we're all doing our best, and in the end that's what really matter how annoying.


Wes said...

It's easier for me if I believe those kinds of people are just stupid. Then I feel sorry for them, and go away :-)

Sean said...

being the lazy guy i am, i hate having to dig for peoples' better qualities. i want them up on the surface, so that they're easy to spot and it makes that individual easy to like. i think it's one of the hardest parts about leadership/management for me, finding people who have no social skills and having to put up with it and be just as polite and cheery with them as the guys who make it easy. being fair with them and seeing their good and playing to their strengths.