Welcome to the mom of girl world
Sure, I know that girls can be mean. I started the book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” a few years ago but found it to be so depressing that I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. We have the American Girl books on friendships and have read them. I’ve heard from seasoned moms that sometime during the later elementary years, the mean girl thing really heats up. Truth is back in my coming of age days I was at times both a mean girl and a mean girl target.
I have raised three sons. They certainly had their share of disagreements and squabbles, but the male way of dealing with things is quite direct and efficient. A kick, a punch and then typically approximately two minutes later, back at the task at hand and still friends. It is over and done just like that.
I also am coming to understand that there are historical reasons that females are not accustomed to communicating in an assertive and direct voice. We have learned through the generations to try and get the things we want in a more indirect route – sometimes in passive or aggressive ways; sometimes through charm and manipulation; Finding our healthy, assertive voice is a challenge. Helpful to know, but…
What I wasn’t prepared for was the heart drop I would feel when my own daughter was the victim of girl snarkiness. I got to experience this sinking feeling over the weekend. Now let me be clear. All of the girls involved are talented and often kind-hearted kids. It was a beautiful day and there was lots of excitement in the air over a school sponsored 5K event. Three times my precious girl reached out to another and three times she was rejected on some level. It was so painful to watch – from afar and up close. I first felt a bit paralyzed. We are in that zone where mom does not step in and make it all ok. Yet I needed to acknowledge the hurt she was experiencing. I took a deep breath, shot up a prayer and then did the best I could.
Grace entered this situation as two beloved teachers came across our path. Maybe they saw the panic in my eyes or maybe the hurt and confusion in the eyes of my daughter. They excitedly invited her to run with them, tucked her under their wings and off they went together. I decompressed, felt my heart rise up, thanked God for teachers and waited peacefully and expectantly for her to run across the finish line. She ran fast and hard spurred on by these two people she loves and crossed the finish line well ahead of most of her peers – ok, now I’m being snarky.
There is still so much for each of us to learn – as daughters and as mom. A dear friend and mom of a grown daughter reminded me of how resourceful my girls are and that these things will happen along the way. My heart would like to shield them from this, but my mind knows that isn’t possible or healthy. These are times to learn and grow. I know that on any given day, my girls, just like their mom, can land on either side of this mean girl equation – I’ve seen evidence of both.. Some of you are veteran moms, dads or participants in the mean girl wars. I imagine that a few years from now, I will claim the same battle-scarred status. Any suggestions on ways to walk through this with our girls would be much appreciated. I think I’ll drag the “Queen Bees and Wannabes” book back out. It’s time to look at this more fully.