It was one of those magical moments out of a real estate commercial: My husband and I driving around what was to be our new neighborhood, with our faces lighting up like up like Christmas trees with every new street we approached. There were all types of different homes to choose from. The neighborhood included a clubhouse with a fitness center, a place to hold huge parties and gatherings, and a really nice swimming pool our kids could use all summer. The location was minutes to every major shopping plaza and store we could ever think of and need. This was it. This was home. We could picture ourselves finishing raising our kids here. We could see ourselves old, retired, and holding hands on a front porch or a back deck. It was the perfect place, and we had fallen in love.
Our current home was just too large for us to handle. We had rooms in it we didn’t even use. With my physical health being so poor, I could no longer manage the cleaning or upkeep. As the mom of two teens and one tween busy with school, sports and jobs, the whining about helping me was just getting pathetic. Yes my kids do chores, but anything extra was getting to be a battle. This decision was a no-brainer. An adorable townhome came up for sale in the new perfect neighborhood. SOLD!!!
One other subject that has come up with this move is the fact that my children will start this upcoming school year in a new district, and honestly, we could not be happier.
Our family has spent eight years in our current school district, and we are not sorry to leave. The reason is not the kids. Yes you have kids that are mean and are bullies. You will have that anywhere. For the most part the kids have actually been okay, and the ones who have been mean either can be avoided, and some even have changed their tune eventually. After awhile, I cannot even blame the kids because I see what the true cause of the problem is nine times out of ten:
I implore every parent of a school-age child, especially if you are very involved in a PTO, volunteer, coach a youth team, or are just around other parents or children on a consistent basis, to just BE KIND! It’s really that simple. Do not talk about other parents around their backs. Do not be petty on social media. Do not be cruel about leaving children out when it comes to social events. Do not get political when it comes to extracurricular activities, and do not attack children with special needs.
One would think all of the above would be common sense, but here are just a few examples of actual things which happened to our family in the past eight years:
- Parent-coach caught on video screaming at and belittling our autistic son to the point where he quit sports and refuses to play them to this day.
- Daughter no longer invited to birthday parties after I stopped being friends with a group of moms. Yes she noticed no one would invite her and she was very upset.
- Autistic son had to be placed out of district due to severe bullying, with one parent calling into school to encourage it, even screaming at my son publicly in a skating rink and running away before my husband could get there to stop it.
- Oldest son prevented from playing sports his senior year due to parent-run board and made up “termination fee.” We actually received an official apology from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League for that one.
- My Facebook page was hunted through and posts were “untagged” by former mom friends because I stopped being friends with them… two years later. Yes, they were still mad I stopped being friends with them two years later.
These people were not the reason we moved, but waking up in our new neighborhood this morning knowing we are free of that drama, it’s definitely one of the perks.
I don’t enjoy speaking about this, and I don’t want to give anyone any attention by doing this, but I am writing about this after speaking to other parents in my old district who feel the same way, and other parents in general who have experienced this problem. Mean parents suck, and it’s time this gets more attention. No one should have to deal with this.
We live in a time where parents face as much pressure as their children to be perfect and to always one up each other. We have to have the perfect house, the biggest house, the nicest car, the nicest clothes, the perfect Pinterest life. If you don’t care about things like this, there are groups of parents who will put you down or leave you out. They are mean human beings, and they won’t hesitate to be mean to your kids.
What we have to remember is, in many cases, they are in the minority. Maybe not in the school district I just left, but in most cases they are. Find your tribe and protect your kids. More people need to speak up. Kindness in schools should not just be taught to children, but to parents as well.
Remember, we are the example.