Dear Dr. Laura,
Today I met my son at the bus stop like I always do, and walked home with him. We chatted a bit about his day, but when we walked in the house he ran off to fly his remote control helicopter. I played with my daughter in the living room for about an hour before I started dinner.
Then my son came in and asked for a snack. I offered him a cutie and a few leftover slices of homemade French toast sticks and told him that's all he could have since dinner would be ready in 30 minutes. Hearing this sent him into an utter melt-down. My six-year-old, who is generally well-behaved, had completely quit the earth. I had to drag him to his room and told him he could come out when he stopped crying. I got some water boiling then I peeled him another cutie and went into his room. I handed him his snack and asked him if his day had been rough. He stopped his tantrum and with tears of sadness in his eyes he told me it had been a bad day, no one had played with him at recess and his best friend just wanted to play with some girl. My heart broke for him. His meltdown wasn't about a snack, it was the avenue for the bottled up hurt he felt over being shunned by his classmates that day. I hugged him and cried with him and then we talked about what he could do the next day to get some of his buddies to play with him. I also told him I would eat lunch with him at the school the next day. (In my day that would've been social suicide but at his school it's very cool because they get to eat at a special table with their mom and invite 2 friends to come with them.) After that, I called three of the boys in his class (I know all the good ones to call because I volunteer in his classroom), and invited them over for a homemade pizza party the following night.
I kept thinking of my friends with "nannies". I wondered if those nannies would've been intuitive enough to understand there was more going on in the life of that special 6-year-old than just disappointment over the size of his snack. My answer was no. I wondered if they would sit with him, hold him, cry with him and tell him they understood. My answer was no. I wondered if they would have immediately made plans the next day to have some buddies over for a pizza party. My answer was no. I wondered if they would go eat lunch at the school with him. My answer was no.
I am SO GRATEFUL to be my kids' mom. I am grateful to be the one to dry their tears. As sick as it sometimes makes me to see them hurt, I am glad I get to see it, support them through it and fix it anyway I can. I'm so lucky. I wouldn't let anyone else near my job. EVER. No one can do it better than me and nobody cares more than I do. What a great feeling it is to be so satisfied with my job and so fulfilled at the end of the day. Wow, I am truly blessed.