Losing my temper

April 22, 2008 Categories: Rants | 16 Comments  

I completely lost my temper today. Not with my kids, though, amazingly enough. It was with my neighbor.

Anyone who has read Mommy Brain for long knows of our long and tortured history with our neighbors, culminating in this rant last fall. Then, on my New Year’s post, I mentioned I was grateful we had reached some sort of tentative peace with them. Well, the peace is over.

Today, the boys were playing outside after we finished homeschooling for the day. They were playing in our back yard, and they were playing pretty rough, as boys usually do. Not mean, just wrestling around a lot. The neighbor’s four-year-old asked if he could play, to which Noah replied, “No, you can’t, because you have candy in your mouth and if you got pushed down you might choke.”

Now, obviously his mother only heard one phrase of that sentence, because she yelled over the fence into our yard, “You will NOT push him down, or I’ll come over there and push YOU down!” Yes, she’s mature like that.

When Noah tried to explain what he meant, she ignored him and yelled to her son right in front of my kids, “Just come in the house. They’re just mean little kids who don’t have any friends, so you don’t need to play with them anyway.”

Deep breath – I can feel my blood pressure shooting up again just typing those words. I’m sure the “no friends” thing came from the fact that we’re homeschoolers and are completely isolated from society with no social skills, unlike her social skills which seem to include bullying children.

The kids came in, feelings hurt (of course). She had gone into her house, so I called her on the phone. Her 12-year-old daughter (who is a whole other story, let me tell you) answered the phone, and when I asked to speak to her mother, she said, “Umm, she’s in the bathroom.” I asked her to please have her mom call me back. And I waited. And stewed.

About a half hour went by, during which time the mother had gone back out to her front yard. Now, I suppose I could have gone outside to talk to her, but many of the other neighbors were out since it was a fairly nice day, and she’s the type who is perfectly willing to have a screaming match in front of the entire street. (Or to stagger over to our yard, drunk, and yell at my husband for something he didn’t do. But, again, whole other story.) I’m not so thrilled with public (or private, to be honest) confrontation, so I chose to call again.

She would not answer the phone, so I left this message on her machine: “This is Carrie. First of all, I think there was a misunderstanding. No one was pushing Adam down. Noah told him that he couldn’t wrestle around with them because he had candy in his mouth and might choke. Second of all, if you have a problem with my kids, please have the courtesy to come and talk to me about it. Don’t yell in front of them that they are mean kids who don’t have any friends. And if that’s really the way you feel about them, then please stop your son from ringing our doorbell five times every weekday and asking to play when I’m in the middle of teaching my children.” Then I hung up.

I know why southerners call losing your temper “losing your religion.” I’m sure I’ve given her plenty of fodder for one of those, “And she says she’s a Christian…” statements. But, honestly, how do you put up with a person like this – especially when she repeatedly hurts my kids’ feelings?

I cannot wait until we can sell this house and move to another neighborhood. She has made this neighborhood a horrible place to live.


  1. Staci at Writing and Living

    Ugh. She sounds like a difficult person to deal with. I think you handled it well.

  2. Red

    WoW ~ I also think you dealt with it very nicely. I have known women like this, and honestly, they are some of the most difficult to deal with. An adult who acts like a child, but cannot be dealt with like a child is just plain hard. However, sometimes it’s sooo tempting ~ I have a neighbor with some similar tendencies, and my reaction was not nearly as Christian as yours! I’m afraid I DID treat the lady like a child. My only solution, (AFTER my bad behavior…. I’m afraid I sorta blew my gasket ~ you really did handle it well, lol, there were no cuss words, no shriekings, lol, no freakings,lol….) since we don’t have the option of moving ~ was to pray for some sort of understanding of where this lady was coming from ~ and I can tell you, that was really hard for me. Nothing gets my dander up worse than some wack job getting after my kids…
    ps ~ I hope this doesn’t come across as preachy, I am so NOT meaning it to be preachy ~ :-D

  3. Lawanda

    Red, you crack me up! :) You are not preachy!

    And Carrie!! I think you handled it very maturely. I would have went ahead and engaged in the screaming match for all to see and hear, most likely. People who do stuff like that really get my goat! Grrrrr!

    I hope she leaves you alone. But I would say that you should let the little boy play with your kids. Sounds like he needs some good examples to hang out with! :)

  4. Jennifer

    You did great, very mature. I don’t know if I could of stayed that calm. Maybe she will learn from you about how to treat people (LOL). I think Noah was very mature also. That is something for a Mom to be proud of.

  5. Liese4

    It’s hard to be a Christian. People who aren’t have us at some high standard and when we do things they think aren’t Christian (and maybe they aren’t) they point at us and say, “Hah! Look at her, she’s cussing at her kids, she’s cussing at my kids, you’re a hrrible mother and a bad Christian.” (I’m speaking of me, of course.) They forget that we’re just sinners too, trying to do our best with God’s grace.

    I heard an interesting thing on the Colbet Report yesterday. Speaking of the pope, Colbert asked the priest he had on the show, “Why can’t we be infallible and the pope be fallible? Why can’t we get to forgive him when he messes up instead of the other way round? Can’t you reverse the poles somehow so we get to not fail?” Of coure, this is ludicrious, we all fail; but there is something there, why can’t we all forgive?

    You did a great job with your neighbor, she sucks. Maybe she will see that if the roles were reversed she would rather you forgive her than berate and bash her with words.

  6. Andrea

    I thought you held onto it pretty well.

  7. Birdie

    You certainly have my sympathy. We have had some pretty problematic neighbors at times, too. In reading your post, it sounds as though you tried to treat this woman with a great deal of respect (you didn’t tell her off in front of her children or neighbors, etc. and called her privately to clarify the situation.). For that you should be commended.

  8. Sheila

    I’m sorry you have to deal with a person like that. I think you handled it well.

  9. carrie

    Thanks for all the encouragement! I am feeling much calmer today. And, Red, you weren’t preachy at all. :)

  10. Heather Neff

    Oh my goodness girl… You handled it much better then I could have done. Man alive… I would have said a few MORE things then you did… that is just unreal.

    Should we be praying God opens the doors for you to move? ;)

  11. carrie

    Heather – yes, please! We’re in the middle of a process to get onto a rural home loan program. If that goes through, we will be able to move away from this neighborhood – and into a bigger house.

  12. Rainbow Rivers

    WOW this is truly why I do not like neighbors! If I had my choice I would not have a neighbor for miles around! You handled that so much better than my Irish blood would of handled! It really stinks when an immature adult does not consider how their words effect kids.
    Great blog!

  13. carrie

    Rainbow Rivers – Actually, I have Irish blood, too, but my fear of confrontation usually wins out. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Terri

    Oh my goodness! Yet another reason why I’m glad to be out in the country though we are technically in a neighborhood we don’t have close neighbors. We used to live in an apartment complex and had a few minor issues with neighbor kids and their parents.

    You handled it very well I think.

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