My bubble has burst

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 3:24am
Dawn's picture
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Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

I knew this was bound to happen, but it still took me off guard.

My son just started preK in a wonderful, small, Catholic school. My 2 older children also attend, as it goes up to 8th grade. It has a great family environment where just about everyone knows everyone. I had been going to the lunch room everyday, and then started skipping a day here and there, with the idea that eventually I would only go on Fridays since I recently committed to being an offical lunchroom worker on that day (they only had 1 other person to work that day).

The reason I go to the lunch room is well, honestly? to actually see with my own eyes that my son is still alive and lives through lunch. It is not a pnt free school, and he even sits with everyone. Any child who has brought in pb sits at the other end of the table. A pnt free table is available, as there are 2 other children with pa, I just decided that I wanted him to sit with his class. So anyway, I go and clean his table before he gets there and then usually stay for the rest of the classes to visit with my other children and to help out with cleaning all the tables with each class, as well as various other things (open milk, clean spills, etc). I thought I was being helpful and stayed out of the way. I also hoped my presence would alleviate some of the feeling of responsibility and stress.

Well, today, I overheard the "cafeteria lady" (the Head whatever you would call her) talking about me. It seemed like she was answering someone's question about why am I always there. I should note that different parent volunteers come in daily. Anyway, she rather nastily told the story of how I substituted a freezer pop for Stauffers cookies for 2 of the pa kids. My son went without. (It was pizza day, and the pizza is straight from the restaurant, known to be safe.) I told her what I'd done the following Monday, apologized for the possibility of oversteppping my bounds, and she said it was ok. Yet now she was complaining about it. I also heard her say that they hadn't used pnt products in the kitchen for 2 yrs. (Kind of like of course it's safe here, she has no reason to be looking over my shoulder sound in her voice) I [b]know[/b] that when the kitchen is used for church functions, pnt oil and pnt butter cookies are everywhere.

So, I was awestruck when I overheard this because she has been wonderful to me up till now and I have raved about her. She saw me and knew I heard her. I gathered myself together and then confronted her. She explained that she was under a lot of stress and apologized profusely, said she understands why I am here, offered to bring the other ladies she was talking to over so she could apologize in front of them (I said no, she said she would explain things to them later then), she even cried and hugged me. I do believe that she was sorry, but I still feel like a kicked cat.

What I am worried about is those other women. I feel like they have already been looking at me thinking I am neurotic and now they think the cafeteria lady has issue with me...even if she does explain things to them, what damage has been done?
I thought things were so lovely, everyone understood and supported us...actually, the preK teacher found me in the bathroom crying and tried to make sure that I knew that she supports and understands what I am doing and will keep Josh safe.

My thoughts are all over the place right now, I am very emotional but trying to see all sides of it, I can't get in touch with dh, who has been away all week on a business trip and I can't get ahold of my mom...am I making too much of this? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

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Be safe,
~Dawn~

[This message has been edited by Dawn (edited January 30, 2003).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 3:56am
cynde's picture
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Joined: 12/10/2002 - 09:00

Dawn, you are not making too much of this. That woman had no right to speak that way about you no matter what kind of stress she is under. I would not trust her as far as I could throw her. People who gossip, are mean and thoughtless. You handled it incredibly well. Give yourself a pat on the back. Too bad your DH is out of town, a shoulder to cry on would be nice for you right now. I hope sharing here has helped, I find it very cathartic when I need to vent.
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Cynde

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 4:27am
smack's picture
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Joined: 11/14/2001 - 09:00

Gosh, feel like I'm in school all over again listening to this.
This lady sounds like my MIL who I overheard talking about me, in my home, on my phone, and my children were within hearing distance.
All apologetic afterwards doesn't make things better at that time.
Sometimes we do have to grin and bear it, stay strong and don't feel bad. I know I don't have gossipy friends(I can't stand people like that)so chances are, the women that she was talking to about you, already like you for who you are and couldn't care a less what this lady thinks.
And why does everyone always have to worry about being being perceived as neurotic when we are just doing are job as Mother's???????
I couldn't care a less what people think of me when it comes to protecting my children.
Cheer up Dawn your doing a great job as a Mom!

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 4:58am
river's picture
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Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Dawn, it sure hurts when that bubble bursts. At that moment you can feel very threatened and alone. Few people understand just how dependant we are on the kindness and caring of our communities, and when someone lets us down, it can be very painful.
Remember that this is only how you are feeling today and tomorrow could be another story. Don't worry about what other people think, and focus on the people who are on your side.

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 5:30am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Dawn,
I'm sorry this happened, people can be so cruel and thoughtless. They are lucky that you are there, alot of parents (PA involved or not) don't have the time to come in and volunteer their time.
Many {{{{hugs}}}} to you and keep your chin up, you don't have anything to feel neurotic about, you are doing your job and Josh is lucky to have you available to come volunteer.
Good luck and hopefully tommorow will be a better day. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Lana

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 5:43am
Sandra Y's picture
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Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

I also heard 2 aides in our school talking about my son and PA ("He shouldn't even be here." "Doesn't he know by now not to eat it?" etc.). They didn't know I was his mother. When they finally realized who I was, one of them walked away and has avoided me ever since. The other one turned saccharine sweet, sympathetic, my new "best friend" and said she'll always look after my son in the lunchroom. Yeah, right. Like I even want him within 50 feet of her.
Anyway, I don't know why people are like that. Some people just need to complain about something. Complaining is their way of bonding with other people. It's sick and you can't trust people who are like that.

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 6:15am
joeybeth's picture
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Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

dawn: i wonder why some women are like that? saying things they often don't really even mean behind other womens' backs? it seems like you rarely hear of men doing this sort of thing. (they have lots of other bad habits - haha - but this doesn't seem to be one of them). women can be so catty. i think what you are doing by being up at the cafeteria and visible is a wonderful thing. i like to be in the cafeteria from time to time too, just to make sure things are going like i was told they would. also, since you know that there are peanut containing products in that very kitchen at times, i wouldn't give a flip what anyone else has to say. joey

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 6:17am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

I had a similar experience-- my husband and I were out in the hall waiting for the teacher when we heard a mom complaining about PA. I remember my heart pounding and my whole body responding in a sweaty panic. Tears of anger and frustration oozed out.
When it was obvious that we'd heard her, she was very embarrassed. My husband, bless his heart, was so completely cool and said something like, "Yeah I know... this allergy really sucks for everyone." He engaged her in conversation (I, still standing there in a wet mess) and made it seem like we were all on the same side... that she was absolutely right...it is "unbelieveable" and managed to slip in that he was a physician and that if he hadn't witnessed some of our dd's reactions with his own eyes that he, too, might find it hard to believe.
Our reactions to her were pretty opposite: I took her comments so completely personally, and he didn't at all... he conveyed that her frustration was completely understandable. In fact, that he shared it on many levels. I think he really won her over in a manner that was just impossible for me at that moment...
I guess everyone needs to vent once in a while. I know it's hard not to take it personally (I certainly did), and it sure hurts to hear the "other side" do it.
Just some thoughts...
Gail

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 6:17am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

OMG, Dawn, I feel so bad for what you are going through. You must have felt as though someone had kicked you in the stomach. I agree that this woman cannot be trusted. I think all you can do now is hold your head up high and continue to protect your son. It's understandable that you feel like cr**p now. You are not over reacting at all, IMHO. Take care and {{{hugs}}}, Miriam

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 6:17am
joeybeth's picture
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Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

it just dawned on me that if situations like this make us feel bad...what must it be like for our kids when they hear others make similar comments? i'm sure it's a rather constant thing for them to hear comments made by students, staff, other parents, etc.. during the school day. joey

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 6:38am
cynde's picture
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Joined: 12/10/2002 - 09:00

Gail, your husband sounds incredible. Don't leave home without him.
Joeybeth, I've talked to my son about this and he really seems to not take it too hard. Maybe he's just so used to negative comments [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img], or maybe he is as egocentric as he seems and other peoples opinions and feelings have absolutely no affect on him [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img].
I do know our non-PA daughter gets very upset when people say and do negative things. This has been heightened since she saw his last anaphylactic reaction and thought he was actually dead.
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Cynde

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