"Trust your mom gut!" I'd heard this sentiment growing up and after becoming a mom almost 3 years ago, I've realized just how true it is. There have been several times over the years, where I've just had this gut feeling, this intuition, that something wasn't right - it's normally been in terms of sicknesses or things like that in the past, but this time, it was about a person and a situation.
Silas started at a play school last year, just two mornings a week, and LOVED it. He had a great year, great teachers and we saw him grow and learn and everyone was super happy. He was always begging to go to school and every time we drove by on our way home, he'd shout, "MOM!! That's my school! That's my school!" Seriously, you guys. He loooved it.
After taking the summer off, he started back to school last month and almost immediately, we could tell that something was different. Honestly, it was obvious from the very first day, when Matt and I took him to class - we dropped him off and were both completely surprised and off-put by the lead teacher. She was brusque, monotone, almost rude.
"Hi. Come in. See you later."
That was all she said. No introduction. No name. No welcome. No smile. This is a class of 2.5 year olds! And you can't even muster up some excitement or kindness on their first day? It was definitely not a great start or first impression.
Matt and I talked about it on the way home and both felt the same way - not impressed and kind of concerned. But we decided to try and give this teacher the benefit of the doubt and wait a few weeks before saying anything. After all, Hurricane Harvey had just come through (so maybe she lost her home? Or someone close to her did?), the first week of school is always stressful (maybe she was just overwhelmed?), etc.
But as time went on, nothing improved. Actually, it just got worse and worse. Silas started crying about not wanting to go to school. We tried to ask him multiple questions in different ways about school and his teachers, to see if his answers would change and they didn't. They were 100% consistent every time.
"Do you like your teachers?"
"Are your teachers nice to you?"
"Are your teachers mean to you?"
"Do they speak rudely to you?"
"Do they use kind words?"
I get that he's only 2.5 and might not be communicating everything to us, but his answers NEVER changed. And he knows what those things mean because we talk about kindness and kind words/not speaking rudely, etc. all the time - so he's very familiar with those concepts and he knows what they mean in context.
Obviously, we were pretty concerned by this point. On top of that, Silas' behavior had been declining rapidly over the last several weeks and it became incredibly obvious to us over the past few days - he was shouting, growling, being super mean-spirited, snapping back, yelling, just having an ugly, grumpy heart. Which is so, SO unlike him.
We knew he had to be picking it up from somewhere because we honestly don't speak like that in our home - we don't tease, we don't taunt, we don't ever raise our voices or speak in a demeaning, rude way to him. And that's not tooting our own horns, by any stretch! Totally the grace of Jesus and the incredibly deep conviction He's given us about being intentional in the way that we speak to and about our kids and they environment they grow up in. That sounds trite writing it out, but truly, it's so raw and real to us that it actually makes my heart ache thinking about the weight of that responsibility.. we don't want our kids to fight the battles we've had to fight and we are doing everything we can to create healthy babies, which grow into healthy children, which grow into healthy adults.
So, all that to say... this situation was a big deal to us. And after such a good experience with Silas' school last year, I didn't think we would ever be in this position, needing to have THIS conversation. But this morning, I knew it was time. And as I walked him to class and saw the Director in the hall, I heard myself say, "Can we chat for just a minute?"
We sat down and I poured my heart out to her, explaining my concerns, describing the conversations we've had with him, all of it (basically, everything I wrote above). I also assured her that:
1) I know I can't keep my kid in a bubble forever, I know there was going to be difficult people that he will have to deal with one day.. but at 2 and a half, it's not okay. These are super formative years and if being around this lady 3 days a week from 9-12 is causing issues already, one month in, then something needs to change.
2) We also aren't the parents that think their child's poop doesn't stink. We don't think Silas is such an angel that he would never, ever disobey or do something to cause a problem. PUH-LEASE. He's not perfect, he's not even close. Heck, he drives ME nuts sometimes and I birthed him! But when your kid is consistently saying how rude and mean his teachers are being to him.. something needs to change.
The Director (God, I love her) just sat while I talked. She listened. She agreed. And even when I told her, "I really don't want to be THAT mom..", she stopped me and said, "You are NOT that mom. You are the only advocate your child has and you need to stand up and say something like this if you're concerned!" She also affirmed that while yes, eventually in life you have to deal with difficult people, it shouldn't be at this age.
She then proceeded to tell me how she felt like this entire meeting was a God confirmation - that through a series of outside events, they were going to have to shuffle some teachers around and she had been struggling and wondering if that was the right decision, etc and TODAY was the day they were deciding. And the EXACT TEACHER they had been thinking about moving is the exact one we had the issue with! WHAT?! Y'all. She cried. I cried. And how amazing is God in this process - that this morning of all mornings, I decided to chat with her. On the exact day they were making the decision. God had already been working in the situation and things behind the scenes were already in motion! I seriously can't wrap my mind around it - how GOOD is God.
Anyways, all that to say, the situation is officially resolved. The problem teacher is moving to another class and a new teacher (who is much more kind and loving, we're told) will be starting next week in Silas' class. Silas gets to stay with his friends, in his normal class. Everything worked out amazingly and I cannot tell you the relief this brings to my mama heart. I actually didn't realize just how stressed I was about it until it was all over and I felt like I could breathe again.
I am just blown away by the grace of God and the love he has for us and our boy. I am so grateful we're at a Christian school where the director and I could sit and cry together, talking about the hand of God moving and how amazing He is. What a gift, truly.
So listen... here's my take-away: I am not a person that goes looking for confrontation but I also don't shy away from it - and this entire situation just affirmed and confirmed the fact that we HAVE to trust our mom guts (which I believe is actually the Holy Spirit). You, mama... you ARE the advocate for your child. You ARE the one who helps speak for them. And if standing up for them, if trusting your intuition, even if it causes a stir or makes you feel or seem like "THAT mom", so be it.
Be "THAT mom". Be bold. The people your children are around, the situations they're in, the words that are spoken to and over them.. they MATTER. Those things shape them! Their personality, their strengths, their weaknesses, their little identities, their inner voice, their futures.. don't let someone brush you aside. Don't let someone make you feel like you should just go with the flow, in order to not cause a "problem".
A favorite quote from Pinterest:
"Mama, YOU were given these children - you. No one else. You were given these children because YOU are who they need."
Don't doubt yourself. Trust your mom gut and protect those babies.