Assume ignorance not ill-will

To those who know me, they know that I can be a vicious Mama Bear where and when my kids are concerned. This doesn’t mean that I will tolerate any crap they try to pull, it just means that I am protective of my children and get a bit testy when they are treated less than ideal.

A couple of days ago, I booked a haircutter to come to the house. My daughter was the first one and because she has anxiety, I stayed with her during the process, just to assure her and to also just chat with her. I complimented her on her haircut because it really does suit her. The hairdresser piped in with “Oo, pero tama na ang pagtaba ha?” (Yes, but you should also stop being fat)

In my head, I had already launched into a verbal attack and have reduced this person into a crying and self-effacing creature, which is even less than a shadow of its former self. I WAS THAT ANGRY.

How dare this person who has absolutely no idea that my daughter has anxiety and takes strangers’ casual comments to heart?! How dare he make a hurtful and insensitive comment about my beautiful baby’s body?!

BUT… that would have ended badly – for everyone. I would have given my daughter an incorrect way of handling the situation. I would have made everyone feel terrible and that isn’t how I roll nowadays.

See, the haircutter didn’t really mean any ill-will. He was just simply doing what is normal to him because it is what he is shown and is used to. He was simply trying to make conversation and was trying to find a connection. I really can’t get mad at that. However, I also can’t let it just pass and I still have to handle the situation. I asked him what he meant by that and he replied with “Di ba inspired ang anak mo na maging tulad ng katawan mo?” (Isn’t she inspired to have a body like yours?)

I smiled and calmly told him that my daughter is healthy and I feed her with healthy food and give her supplements. Granted, she isn’t exercising as much as before but we work around that in the house. She is happy with how she looks like and if she thinks she is beautiful and I can be assured that she is healthy and happy, her body size is beautiful. I thanked him for his concern and pretty much ended the whole topic there.

I looked at my daughter and she smiled. I took that as a confirmation of how she feels about the whole scene. I looked back at the hairdresser and he smiled as well – so, that was good too. I still spoke to my daughter after, just to post process and also to let her know that I am here for her if she has any other questions or concerns. She said “izkool. thanks, mom.” which I translated to her being okay and I did good.

Now, let me share why this moment is so important to me as a parent of three teens:

Teenagers are a whole different creature from toddlers and school age kids. This is where complexities start coming up and you MUST prepare them for situations they will need to handle on their own when they become adults. It is important that I show them that it is possible to handle it differently.

I’ve also learned to take a breath and step back from my emotions before I react. My emotions were triggered, yes but that doesn’t mean I can’t control it or at least take a breath and take a wider look at the situation. I wanted my daughter to see that I can actually take that pause to reflect and then react.

It also shows my daughter that one is capable of change. I may have been a hot head (and admittedly, sometimes, I still am. I’m working on it though) and have approached situations with a very “Karen” attitude. I wanted to show her that I can change for the better and that the whole “This is me, take it or leave it!” attitude is toxic.

So, moving forward, I will now assume ignorance than ill-will… until I can prove otherwise.

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