Today I broke up with my four year old’s swimming teacher. Well, in actual fact she broke up with me and I am still furious about it. This was such a shock as there have been many times in my life where I have not been able to hold my tongue when confronted with rude people. Look, admittedly I do have an extremely low tolerance for stupidity and even less tolerance for unnecessary rudeness or bad attitudes from complete strangers. I, like many others can also appreciate a bit of rudeness where rudeness is warranted. I am usually the first to throw out a few colourful f-bombs or go for in for the kill when I feel something to be unjust like my pet hate of people pushing in, but this lady or should I say Sergeant (I know this as she reminded me 99 times ‘I am ex-military you know’) really takes the cake. For the first time or maybe the second in recent years, I said NOTHING. I remained cheerful as I gritted my teeth. I tried to ignore the hot burning sensation of fury as I hurriedly dressed my son to leave, knowing he would be listening to every word to coming pouring from my mouth. I walked out in shock and at that point I was still unsure what to do.
Anyway between her outright rudeness, pretending she didn’t receive text messages or emails, talking to the children like ‘dogs’ or sorry ‘soldiers’, her ridiculous logic regarding make-up lessons and her insistence on me joining Facebook in order to communicate with her on any level, enough was enough. Today after my son continued to cry through her lesson she responded with ‘I can refund your money if your’re not happy, I have a waiting list and plenty of clients’. Excuse me crazy lady but isn’t this your job? You are getting paid a decent hourly rate to help children overcome a fear of water, not to create one!
In a way I am proud of the pleasant way in which I responded to her behaviour today. I contained my shock and simply sent an email accepting her offer to cancel our lessons if we weren’t happy, but then a part of me is feeling as though I have let my self down. Perhaps I should have told the truth in my cancellation email and told her exactly why we were cancelling. There’s always a part of me that needs to fight the fight, but lately much of me says ‘ Is it really worth it?’. I know I would’ve walked away feeling like crap.
Later today, while researching other swim schools in the area I had a horrible thought that maybe I had just become one of ‘those mums’. The mums who fight for their children so hard that they become the habitual school hoppers, the soccer club leavers or the dance school deserters. Maybe I should have put up with her rudeness and returned the following week? Maybe my child should get used to being petrified and scared to death of another adult? Maybe it will build resilience? My heart tells me I did the right thing but my mind is still playing out the argument I should have had. He is only 4. I was disgusted that I had watched him in tears today as ‘she’ tried to blame his fear on ‘behaviour’ rather than that she was a cold, harsh nut case who needed to calm down a bit. We are not trying to qualify for the Olympics over here.My son had no fear of swimming until this lady took over the lessons a few weeks back. Fill in the blanks lady..I mean ‘sergeant’.
As a teacher, I am a huge advocate for challenging the comfort zones of a child, so would hope that I have been able to separate what is helping and what is hindering. I continually preach about the disabling consequences of parents rescuing children and making life ‘breezy’ with no hurdles to jump and removing fears to conquer. This type of ‘helicopter parenting’ results in generations of children who can’t solve a simple problem like finding a pencil, and generations who can’t apply for a job without mum and dad holding their hand at the interview (true story).
But alas, as the evening draws to close and I finish writing this blog, I receive a rude reply from her saying only ‘money will be in your account in three working days’. There I was this afternoon constructing a polite and cheerful email to ensure our agreement ended on a positive note. What a waste of time. Just goes to prove that regardless of how much I have learnt to control my own behaviour, some people are just Assholes!
Surely someone else has gone through this, or am I just one of those mums?