My brilliant idea for surviving the grim Chicago winter was
to sign my kids up for tons of classes. And
as a bonus, lots of the classes were for children ages 3 to 5 so my kids could
enroll in classes together.
The only flaw in my plan is that my kids seem to act out
when they are in class together. When
they took classes separately, I dealt with plenty of shenanigans, but they were
of the I-just-want-to-sit-in-mommy’s-lap variety. Sure, my kids had individually refused to get
into pools or sashay across the room, but I’d never seen them proactively
misbehaving and disrupting a class.
Then we started our indoor golf lessons. The first class offered foreshadowing of what
was to come. My kids laughed and goofed
off, and often veered off into their own little world. By week three, they were full-on ignoring the
teacher so they could smack each other with golf clubs. Within the first 15 minutes, I developed
a migraine from the internal debate about whether I should step in or let the
teacher discipline them.
When my daughter refused to move out of my son’s way so he
could swing his club, I could no longer sit idly by. Their antics were holding up the class and
keeping the other kids from getting a turn. Mortified, I pulled both my kids aside and explained that if they
continued to be disrespectful to the teacher and the other golfers, we would
all sit on the sidelines for the rest of the class. They somehow kept it together for the rest of
I lingered in the gym for a few extra minutes, hoping I wouldn’t have to face the other parents.
I, on the other hand, was in a shame spiral. I was sure the
other parents were furious at me for letting my unruly pair dominate the class. I kept my head down and refused to meet
anyone’s eyes. If I were one of the other
parents, I am fairly certain I’d be giving me the stink eye for having such out-of-control children. I sat in the back
of the gym, one eye on my kids and the other on the texts I was sending to my
husband: Your children are acting like
maniacs during golf lessons. HELP!
When the class was over, I told my children that we were
going to work on listening and following directions. I apologized to the coach for my kids’
behavior. I lingered in the gym for a
few extra minutes, hoping I wouldn’t have to face the other parents who might
shun me for being that mom, the one
who can’t control her kids.
On the way out the door, we ran right into one of the other
mothers. Our eyes met and I tried to beam an apology to her without using any
“They’re so cute together,” she said, nodding toward my
Dumbstruck, I could only utter, “What?”
“Your kids—it’s so cute how they play together.”
“Thank you,” I said. “Sorry for all the disruptions during class.”
She looked at me with the kindest smile and shrugged her
shoulders. “It’s no big deal. Everyone was having fun.”
It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to
me. She genuinely seemed unfazed by my
kids’ behavior. Or, maybe she was fazed,
but she could tell I was beating myself up and offered to help me get off the
cross I was crucifying myself on.
Next time I see her I’m going to thank her for the gift she
gave me—helping me lighten up and use my energy to work with my kids instead of
beating myself up. And I’ll think twice
before giving some parent the stink-eye when it’s their kid acting up.