Categories: Self

My Kids’ Brutal Honesty Is Killing My Self-Esteem

“Your hair is turning really grey, that means you’re getting old.”

Awesome. Thanks for that keen observation, son. Can I get some ice for that burn?

I have come to the conclusion that kids either don’t have a concept of self-esteem or really don’t give a shit about your feelings.

I taught pre-school. I am fairly immune to the insult-comic stylings of young children. But I can’t pretend I love getting asked if I have a baby in my tummy, and the follow-up question, “Why is your belly so big then?” Because I ate the last kid that asked me that, that’s why.

Yesterday, I asked my four-year-old what he thought I’d look like with purple hair. He said, “Good! You’d look like a woman!” Uh, thanks? What do I look like now, an aardvark?

“You have such beautiful green eyes, my boy. What colour are Mommy’s eyes?” “Umm, green, and white, and red.” Super. That’s because Mommy lives on coffee and faint memories of sleep, sweetheart.

Why yes, I am older than the internet. And cell phones, yup.  Also, try not to have such a shocked look when I tell you the movie we’re watching is older than I am. And the awed “Wow…” is just unnecessary. Though it could be worse. My friend’s child asked her if she had met Jesus when she was little.

“Look at that lady, Mom! She’s so old! She’s almost as old as Nanny C! Course, Nanny C’s dead.” I’ll take ways to mortify my mother in a public washroom for 500, Alex! 30 years later, she still cringes.

A kindergartner once told me I smelled like Mac and Cheese. I am still not sure if that was an insult or a compliment. I mean, Mac and Cheese is awesome, but I don’t exactly dab it behind my ears.

Nope, the 600-pound weight capacity of that playground equipment is not a concern, but thanks for checking.

I am not older than Grandma. That’s a scientific impossibility. Yes, I’m sure.

“I like Daddy better than you.” Great, I’ll remember that next time you need your butt wiped. Quite happy to pass that job along to the better parent.

I’m fairly sure when people discuss the innocence of children, they aren’t talking about this lack of filter. It’s true, they are not being cruel. They are not intentionally trying to hurt you, they are just making honest observations. Like the observation that I am a grey-haired, big-bellied, old as dirt, inferior parent. You know, just calling it like it is. You can’t blame them or get angry with them.

They are stating it in the same way they would point out that car is red or that they are wearing shorts today. It’s not their fault that you have super obvious imperfections just begging to be called out, usually publically. They are just innocent, cherubic children, with an untarnished view of the world, and words that cut like daggers. That’s why Cupid is a child—he shoots you with an arrow in the chest, but he does it with love!

Eventually, they will grow up, get a filter, and insult you passive-aggressively with back-handed compliments like regular people. “Your belly is big” will change to “You have such a pretty face.” Until then, just nod, shrug, and quietly spend their inheritance.

Heather Jones :

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