Most races start on “Go,” right? Apparently, not yesterday, when my four-year-old daughter, G, was on the playground.
Running around the baseball diamond with her brother, R, and two other boys, G started each race at “mark,” which did not go over well with the children. The youngest of the boys was the most irritated by what he called cheating, and he was vocal about G’s lack of cooperation. The truth was that she hadn’t taken the game very seriously and was oblivious to his upset. While she was technically cheating, she didn’t mean to be: she was just being silly and laughing. For the other boys, though, all of the running about was a real race, and they said they didn’t want to play with her ever again. After a bit of cajoling, I got her to apologize and the hurt was forgotten.
It was one of those small incidents that I likely would not have remembered so acutely had it not been for something that the other boys’ mom said.
In the midst of addressing the boys’ frustrations over G’s behavior, she explained that “sometimes, girls need a head start. Sometimes, they need more time than boys.”
I don’t know this woman well at all, but she seems lovely. However, I completely disagreed with what she said. I started to say something since my kids were within earshot, but I stopped myself. Which annoyed me even more.
As the mom of a girl and a boy, it’s my responsibility to show the R and G that girls and boys are equal and should be treated the same. Giving a younger kid a head start is fine by me, but giving G a break just because she’s a girl? Not OK in my book.
And, yet, I held my tongue.
There’s this dance you go through when you make new friends, especially when these people are the parents of your kids’ friends. You want to expand your tribe, while, at the same time, you want to make sure everyone has the same parenting style. Being on the same page is a must. So, when do you let comments like this one slide and when do you decide it’s not going to work with that person?
For me, I’m letting it go this time, but I’ll make sure my kids know how I feel about treating everyone as equals (and, for the record, I don’t think she meant the comment the way I heard it). I also won’t be silent if I hear a comment like this one again.
What about you? What do you do when another parent says something you don’t agree with in front of your kids?