Sometimes Being a Mom is Hard.

So during my oldest son’s year in the 7th grade he was bullied several times. This happens apparently when you start your kid in Kindergarten at the age of 5 because he’s bored and other parents sons don’t start until the age of 6. Being a year younger than his peers he had not yet hit his growth spurt (thank goodness that appears to be kicking in now).

Usually I am of the belief that bullies are not getting the attention and or discipline they should be getting from home. When it’s my kid on the receiving end I don’t give a shit why they are doing it I just want them to stop. After an incident where my son was pinned against a wall (thank goodness for security cameras in school I guess) I showed him three ways to defend himself. With this knowledge I also advised him that he should NEVER be the aggressor nor should he defend himself physically if it’s a verbal altercation.

There was one incident that stood out more than others last year though. One that I never thought I would have to deal with, especially with all the violence in schools these days you’d think I would be prepared. I was not. A student my son knew well enough to have conversations with threatened him with a knife. Thankfully threats were as far as it went.

The school took quick action and police were involved but I don’t think any mother can really be prepared for this type of situation. Kids going through puberty are not that smart, they make bad choices because their frontal lobe is still developing and hormones… good grief the hormones. Months later I am getting letters and calls from law enforcement regarding the situation, the charges and the process.

My kids should be enjoying summer, playing in pools, hanging out with friends, goofing off and driving me crazy but not thinking about victim statements and court orders of no contact. So today, after another reminder of this event I find being a mom difficult, but I am sure the mom of the kid who made bad choices is also finding being a mom difficult and that is what I am trying to remember.

Manicured Sons

I love my sons, they each have such different personalities and tastes. My oldest is very active and enjoys parkour, video games, reading and writing. My youngest is very empathetic and enjoys low key video games, reading, animals and legos.

My youngest ask for nail polish like mine a while ago and I figured it is harmless, if it makes him happy and it doesn’t hurt anyone I would do it. He proudly sported blue nail polish until it wore off though he was frantic at the thought of going to school and having particular people notice because he said they were mean and would make fun of him.

I used that fear to make a teaching moment that I wish I had when I was younger, also at the age of 7. If it makes you happy and feel good about yourself, it does not matter what other people think. You want a temp mohawk with blue gel, awesome, just don’t complain when I have to wash your hair, nail polish, cool what color buddy?

Long ago, should be the days we tells boys and girls they can’t do something because it is for the other gender only. I was a tom boy when I was growing up and my dad taught me how to work on cars and build things. Those skills have been mostly forgotten since MS has wreaked havoc on my brain but I am glad I had them.

I would much rather let my son learn to love himself at a young age and explore things now while he is young than wait until his a teenager and start rebelling because he doesn’t feel accepted as he is at home.

What do you think, should we let our kids be kids and love themselves or make them feel weird for behaving “outside the norm”?

School Recess and Lunch Times

I am not sure if this is a nationwide problem or a local one, but I do know that it is a present problem.

My seventh grader has 30 minutes for lunch, that is his only break during the school day besides the 3 minutes he has to get between classes and his locker if needed. More than half of the time he says he does not have enough time to make it through the line for food. There are so many children in his grade they split between two lunch times and yet, when there’s testing they are combined. Combining an entire grade into a situation where it is already difficult to buy lunch is bananas. Yes, I know I could pack lunch for him every day, he likes the options at the school.

My first grader has two recesses, one just for playing and then one during his lunch break. He has plenty of time to eat but not a ton of play time to be outside. I personally do not understand how they expect children to focus and get enough time outside to be kids when they are stuck in classrooms for 6-8 hours a day with tiny little breaks.

I do understand they are trying to put as much learning as possible into the day; would people really be up in arms if they add an hour to the school day to include more breaks and outdoor time? I would think that adding the hour for extra breaks and time to run around would be good, there are many working parents who either have to figure out child care for after school or arrange their schedules around it. For the families that don’t get home until dinner time because of jobs it’s usually not a great time to play outside during the fall and winter months.

Of course there’s the argument for after school activities and allowing time for that and if a person is set on having outdoor time than you can sign them up for those. Here’s the thing though, those things usually cost money, not all families have the ability to pay for all the things that go along with those. My children are hyper-mobile so they have crazy ligaments that move too much which makes injuries more likely and more severe. They have been told not to play contact sports, no soccer, no football, rugby, so that really limits the options in our house.

Do you have an opinion on the current amount of breaks for kids at school? I would like to hear them!