There are certain truths we hold true as mothers...things we simply KNOW to tell our children to do or not do at an instinctual level. 'look both ways, share your toys, just try the broccoli, chew with your mouth closed, say please and thank you' and the favorite of mothers of boys everywhere: DON'T HIT.
That is why my 9 year old's recent choice of after school activity has me feeling a bit conflicted. We tried basketball, baseball, soccer and football and nothing interested Jack for longer than one season. So I was pleased when he expressed an interest in trying a martial art. There was a studio up the street from our house with a large sign that read 'Martial Arts', so we stopped by, and signed up for classes on the spot (once your kid sees someone break a board with their FOOT it is a done deal)-He is now a totally dedicated (nearing obsessed) Taekwondo student. It took me two weeks to learn how to spell it- and had really no idea of what we were in for from this Koren self defense art.
The first week was fine. He got the cutest white uniform, learned to say 'yes sir!' with passion and began practicing his 'patterns' (like little dance routines, but don't tell him that). And then it happened: the class he learned to 'spar'. It was as bad as it sounds. First these little guys 'suit up' into padded shin guards, mouth guard,, gloves and helmet. It would have been a funny site if what happened next-didn't happen. But it did. The Master told them to begin HITTING. And so there he was, my sweet, passive child doing snap kicks and punches on someone else's child. And worse yet- he was GETTING hit as well. It was more than a mother could take. I tried chatting with another mom, I listened to my ipod, I focused on the clock...but I could still hear 'thump, grunt, thump, ugh, thump, slap.....' I thought it would never end. But it did. And as my sweating boy took off his equipment- he smiled and said, 'Mom that was awesome! Did you see me?'.....that was when I knew I had to put my genetically implanted mom instincts on the back burner for now.....because this was something I was going to have to deal with for a long long time. And I was proud in a weird way.....because he was pretty darn good at this fighting thing- for a kid whose mom never let him hit before. So now I have a revised mom-mantra...'no hitting, unless you are in class and Mommy's eyes are closed.