An incident, which occurred last week, took me straight back to the time that Linda Marsh’s mum pulled my mate Penny up in the primary school playground and gave her the biggest dressing down I had ever seen in my whole 11 years on the planet.
Penny was getting tongue lashed by someone else’s mum for all to see. (And if you thought Penny was unhappy, Penny’s mum was steamily livid when she found out about it later that afternoon.)
The verbal assault set in train a series of unpleasant events and exchanges between the two women and soon became the talk of the town.
I would NEVER reprimand someone else’s child unless they were about to light someone’s hair on fire.
But it seems that there are some parents out there who feel it is their business.
My darling son, who is eight, apparently has an arch nemesis in the year above him. A girl who enjoys some argy bargy. Now do not get me wrong here, I know that my son can give it back as much as he gets it, but after a particularly unpleasant exchange, this girl told her father. And he took the matter into his own hands.
Mr Woog and I had fronted up to the school to attend an event. There we found our son in tears.
He had been accosted by the father of his nemesis who proceeded to have a bit of a yell and holler at him in front of his classmates. Our son was totally freaked out and started to calm down just as I started to fire up.
“Who was it?” I asked. “Point him out to me.”
Harry showed me the father. After a quick chat with Mr Woog it was decided that I would go and calmly address the situation as I am much better than he is at these types of confrontations. Mr Woog would be more likely to end up apologising and then buy the man a case of beer.
I calmly walked over with an ever-so-faint hint of steam coming out of my ears.
I introduced myself to the man, who could not look me in the eye.
My external exchange went something like this…
“I really do think that there are more effective ways to deal with a situation like this than to yell at a child in the playground. I am horrified of what you are accusing my son of and if it is true, then I will deal with him in my own way. If you have a problem the best course of action would be to talk to your class teacher and we can investigate what actually happened. Please do not take it upon yourself to yell at my child.”
My internal dialogue was a lot less flowery and used several expletives and a few rude hand gestures.
But I did not unleash that beast. Because I am a lady. (From the outside anyway.)
I was perfectly pleasant, to the point and firm. But inside I was shaking with rage.
We left on OK terms and with him understanding the extent of my displeasure, although I think he was just nodding and agreeing with me so he could get out of there as fast as he could.
I went back to my son and told him that all was fine and to avoid the girl and her father if he sees them again.
And I told him that I will always have his back, no matter what.
I am his mum, his disorganised, undomesticated and sometimes dim-witted mum, who in the blink of an eye can morph into a Warrior Mum and use as many big words as I can to scare off schoolyard bully dads.
Don’t mess with me. I own a thesaurus and I ain’t afraid to use it.
Did I do the right thing? What would you have done if you were in my shoes?
MORE STORIES BY MRS WOOG
*About Mrs Woog: “I can be found in the laundry, folding laundry, sorting laundry and dropping off the dry cleaning. I am mum to two boys, boss of my husband and master of a cat and two guinea pigs. Come nightfall, I watch TV while tweeting which drives Mr Woog insane. I like to read cookbooks and eat out. During my waking hours I ferry kids around in the Mazda while drinking takeaway coffees and listening to talkback. I think about going to the gym every day. I used to work in the publishing industry before I realised it was nothing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld made out like it was. Now I write this blog. And I never get writer’s block. It is a gift I have.”