Becoming a Bully

When I started elementary school, I had long, strawberry blonde hair. Being the youngest of two brothers, I had a bit of a prima donna complex and was instantly called out for it. My teacher told my mother I bossed the boys around and made them put my toys away for me. I explained I wasn’t making them do anything. I told them to do it, and they complied. A few years later, my popularity began to falter as I had to get glasses and my mom cut my hair. I went from cute kid to dork in a matter of days. The transformation is evident in my old school photos. Believe me. At my 30th birthday party, my husband made a slide show. You could hear the “awws” change to snickering to all out laughter. Imagine Sophia from Golden Girls. That was me, trapped in the body of an 8-year-old.

You can imagine, my ugly duckling days made for some good fodder for the bullies. They pretty much left me alone until 5th grade. One 6th grader, in particular, used to pick on me like crazy, calling me “Old Yeller” and barking at me. It was horrible. I went home crying on a daily basis. I prayed he wouldn’t be at school. But, there he always was.

It was being bullied that always made me look out for the little guy. I think I’m awfully sensitive to that, so I watch my children carefully, to ensure they do not bully anyone either. With that in mind, you can imagine my shock when my five-year old called me a bully yesterday.

Do you ever just have one of those days? You know what I’m talking about. Everything goes wrong. You forget to take out the trash, then a telemarketer calls just when you get the baby down for a nap, the older kids won’t pick up their toys. Then, something happens that just pushes you over the edge. It can be something miniscule or it can be a festering thought, simmering below the surface that finally boils over.

Yesterday, I had one of those days. It was bad enough, and then it got really bad. Then, I yelled. Then, the kids opened my bedroom door (where I had been unsuccessfully hiding like Charlotte in the Sex and the City movie) and they smacked the baby right in the face. That was it. My tipping point. I yelled. I yelled at them to go clean their (insert expletive here) rooms. They stood there, in astonishment, until I yelled again. I stormed after them to their rooms and told them not to come out until their rooms were clean. Then, I walked back to my room, called my best friend and sobbed and begged her to come over.

While waiting for the arrival of my best friend, I stomped around the garage, attempting to clean up from my failure of a garage sale. My older kids asked if they could ride their bikes. Instead of explaining to them they couldn’t because my friend was coming over and I didn’t want them playing in the driveway when she pulled in, I growled at them “No!” It was then that my five-year old said something under his breath. My eight year old, standing next to me, looked up at me and said “He said you’re being a bully.”

Being called a bully by my own children was like a punch to the gut. It crushed me, made me sad and pissed me off, all at once. Of course, this made me cry even more. My best friend arrived shortly after, sending me away to go cool off for a bit. Essentially, saving the day. I tried to cool off, but the bully line really troubled me. It still does.

Today, I made a conscious effort to wake up on the right side of the bed. The issues festering beneath the surface will have to be dealt with eventually and, one day, I will explain them here in a post. For now, I can only deal with the challenges handed to me by controlling my own behavior. I can make a real effort to not be a bully. To not become the person who put me in tears every day as a child. 

We’re not perfect. It’s part of the job. We are moms and dads, but we are only human. That’s why I write this blog. I see too many perfect moms, or moms trying to appear to be perfect. I see it on TV and in the grocery store. What I really want to see, hear and read about is moms like me. I want to see someone else struggling with the hardest job on Earth, raising kids. And, I really want to know your stories. Tell me how you make it all work.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KalleyC
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 22:50:22

    Funny thing is, I don’t know how to make it work. Like you, I have good days and bad days–okay a lot of bad days. But, I try to take everyday as it’s own. I’ll learn from my mistakes, and try not to make the same ones again.

    Just a few days ago I snapped at my daughter for swatting me with her wooden cooking spoon. Instead of telling her that it hurt, I did want any normal person would do: yell, snatch the blasted spoon from her hand and ordered her to sit down. She was crying and I was fuming.

    I just needed to calm down (like you) and my senses (what’s left of them) would return. Could we all handle things better, yes–but we are human afterall and no one is perfect.


  2. Domestiç Reclusë
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 01:22:01

    Aww, don’t let the “bully” retort get you down. Us moms are never bullies until we tell our kids to do something they don’t want to do, like eating veggies, cleaning their room, doing their chores or homework. 😉 That’s when they pull the bull remark, coz’ they know it could guilt you into stopping the supposed bullying & get you off their backs.

    Oh, and just so you know… I don’t know how the heck to make it all work either. LOL Every mom, every child, every family’s different, so even if someone had some success to share with the rest of us — it might not work for us because of those differences. And uh, to be honest with you — I don’t know that I’d be blogging as much if I was “making things work.” Would you? 😉


  3. lamgold
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 19:45:11

    Anyone who tells you (or blogs about) how they make everything work is a big, fat liar! No one has it all together. I’ve tried for years to get on some sort of cleaning/cooking schedule. Never took. Now that the girls and I are on summer break it’s even worse! There is NO rhyme or reason to our days. As long as I don’t compare myself with others, I can live with it. It’s when I start thinking that I need to be more like _________, that I start hating on myself, and that’s never a good thing.
    It’s awesome that you have such a great friend who will come bail you out when you need it!


  4. lamgold
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 19:48:26

    And as for the bullying remark…don’t worry about it. I had a wise person once tell me if your kids don’t tell you how mean you are once in awhile, you’re probably not parenting very well! I believe it. My kids think I’m horrible for making them do chores and help out at home. And trust me, their load is VERY light compared with some kids their ages! You’re a great mom, and we ALL lose it on our kids sometimes. God fills in the gaps in our parenting, and graces us (and them) to get through the tough times. Hang tight!


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