I get that everyone parents differently, I’m in no position to judge. There are definitely times when I’m absolutely not winning parenting awards and occasions when I’m barely parenting at all. However. When I say I’m not judging…
The Girl has swimming lessons. 8 kids in an old school swimming baths, teacher in the water, arm bands all round, parents sit on benches next to the pool. You get the the picture.
Parents generally sit on the side, perspiring, passing the time of day, some checking their phones, others lightly snoozing, or like me, chasing after a newly wandering baby (who I know isn’t really a baby anymore but I’m damned if I’m gonna accept it).
All except Billy’s mum. Billy’s mum doesn’t sit down. Billy’s mum paces the side like an Olympic swimming coach. Billy’s mum is rather vocal. And because of this, every other parent knows that Billy’s mum is “so proud”, we all know that Billy “is the most amazing swimmer ever” (an awkward declaration in front of 7 other “swimmers”), we are all aware that it was “really amazing swimming” when Billy didn’t sink, despite him having arm bands, a woggle and kick board – it would have been more of an achievement if Billy had managed to sink with such an array of floatation devices.
Now, I know it’s a bit catty, I don’t know the ins and outs of Billy and his mums life (other than how accomplished Billy is at preschool and how much he excels at football, running, and everything else) and I KNOW I shouldn’t be, but I am so intensely irritated by Billy’s mum.
At the end of the class there are 3 showers and 8 children. Billy is one of the first ones in (obviously – he would be, his mum cheer leaded him in to it from the poolside), and Billy’s mum is waxing lyrical to anyone who will listen about how great Billy is.
Billy says “Mum, I’m going to do a wee”. This is witnessed by 5 waiting children and at least 6 of the parents. One of the parents who didn’t hear is Billy’s mum. Billy’s mum is still vocalising her sons success. So she misses it the first time he says it and also the second time. She also misses it when Billy pulls down his shorts, takes his willy out and starts sprinkling the shower floor, and the poolside with his chlorine water diluted urine. In fact, Billy’s mum only notices when she gets a warm, wet foot.
Billy’s mum is mortified.
Inside there is a tiny bit of me smugly enjoying the fact that this perfect little boy with his perfect mum is absolutely, totally, 100%, normal.
Obviously at this point I do the right thing. I drop a classic line “boys will be boys” and follow up with some small talk my urology husband tells me when I question the amount of time The Boy spends playing with his todger. “If boys weren’t meant to mess with their boy bits then they wouldn’t have been made with them at hand height”.
So, Billy’s mum just learnt that that kids make sure that pride comes before a fall. Billy’s mum, being the way she is, clearly feels more mortified about this than most.
So, then on reflection I feel guilty about how annoying I find her. I decide over the next week that I will not be annoyed by her over enthusiastic parenting, and will instead recognise that I’m maybe slightly envious, as this highlights my own shortcomings as a parent.
But then the next lesson comes. And Billy’s mum won’t sit down. Or shut up. And “Darling Billy” is still the “best swimmer ever”. Even if he does publicly pee all over his mother.
Well, that’s unconditional parental love right there. So I guess Billy’s mum is alright really. Just wish she would pipe down, because clearly The Girl is “the best swimmer ever”…