I need some OT advice

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
I need some OT advice
19
Thu, 01-29-2004 - 10:21am
My kids are in a parochial school at the parish where we attend church. My DD is in first grade. Last year, her class didn't have a Daisy troop because the leadership fell through. We had been told that there was a woman and her daughters (older Girls Scouts) who usually did the Daisy troop. When she decided not to do it last year, no one let us (other moms) know and we didn't take the initiative or know what to do to start one.

Last summer, we got a notice that if anyone was interested in Daisy or Brownie troops, to come to a meeting. So about 6 or 7 mom's from DD's first grade class showed up. We were told at the meeting that we had a leader already that "Joan" had volunteered and was already trained. She was new to the parish and school and she had been a Daisy leader at her DDs previous school.

We all thought, "Great! Someone who knows what she's doing!" and volunteered to help her out. Two of us volunteered to be co-leaders and two others to be Cookie mom's and unofficial helpers.

We had the first meeting at her house. It was very unorganized. She worked with the girls for about a half hour, then sent them outside to play (unsupervised) while she talked to us moms. The girls ended up getting into some arguments and there was just too much free time.

The next two meetings weren't any better. Mom's were starting to get frustrated. Some of their issues where:

1. She had an unfenced, in-ground pool in her backyard and was sending the girls out there to play.

2. She was only spending half the meeting with the girls and the rest with the mom's.

3. There was no apparent organization to the meetings.

4. Brownies have an initiation ceramony called an investiture. She was going to do this at a normal meeting one night. There were some moms in the group who had older Girl Scouts and apparently in our school, the investiture is a bigger deal. Its on a Sunday maybe, you invite grandparents, have a little reception, etc. These mom's were upset that she was just going to do it at a meeting, unannounced.

I tried to be a peace maker and we had a meeting of any mom who was interested, to air some things and do some planning. Everyone thought the meeting went OK and that we had made progress. "Joan" shed tears and told us that she always felt like an outsider and didn't want to be an outsider again and how scouting was so important to her. We all said we wanted her to be a leader, but we just wanted there to be more planning surrounding the meetings and that we wanted the investiture to be more special. Two mom's volunteered to plan the next meeting and do some planning with the investiture and we thought she agreed.

These two mom's did some work, tried to call her and sent her an email with what they wanted to do. She didn't respond. The night of the meeting, she told them she thought some things they planned were "inappropriate" and that we shouldn't do them. These moms where not happy and wanted to throw in the towel. Other moms were talking about dropping Scouts because it was just too unorganized. The troop was in jeopardy of falling apart.

The four of us who were in Official positions (co-leader and cookie moms) went to our first training with the unit manager and we talked about. The unit manager was having difficulty getting "Joan" to answer her calls/emails too. We decided (rightly or wrongly) to ask "Joan" to step down as leader, but to remain part of the troop and part of the leadership team. I was asked to take over as leader because I had remained fairly nuetral and the peace maker and we all thought that would be less threatening to Joan.

The two of us who had remained fairly nuetral talked to Joan, told her what we'd decided and asked her to stay with the troop. Ever since the first parent meeting, Joan had said she would step down if we wanted her to. At that time, we thought we could work it all out and didn't think that was necessary.

Well, Joan was understandibly hurt. She decided to pull her daughter out of the troop and go back to the old troop "where they were wanted." We told her over and over that she was welcome to stay in the troop, that we loved her daughter and this wouldn't effect her, etc. BUT that we respected her choice. (This was back in Oct and Nov.)

OK, life goes on. Brownies is going great!! We all get along, the moms are happy, the kids are having a good time. My DD is still good friends with Joan's DD and I encourage that. Actually, I invited Joan's DD over for a sleepover and she accepted. Joan and I chatted and I thought things were going well. I insisted again, that if she wanted to come back to the troop, she would be more than welcome. I know some of the other mom's made a point to speak to her pleasantly at other school events, but got a cold shoulder.

So, last night, we had a parent's meeting/town hall type meeting at Church to talk about school budget. We are talking about tuition, non parisioner familes, non Catholic Families, etc. etc. etc. At one point Joan stood up to say how great she thought the school was compared to where they came from.

But then, at the very end, she stands up and says that even though we seem to be welcoming on the surface, we weren't. That she had volunteered for an activity and jumped into it without knowing the "hidden agenda" and that she learned a hard lesson. She said she was afraid her dd would be "ostracized" so she pulled her out of that Activity and went back to her old school for that activity. (She never mention Scouts.)

Afterwards I overheard her talking to others and saying that she had been "asked" to do this and was then shut out. (Umm, you volunteered lady.)

I was SOOOO upset and hurt. I felt like I have bended over backward to try to make her feel welcome. Everyone has tried to make sure her DD felt included at school, etc.

I know asking her to step down was not the "nicest" thing to do, but we had to make a decision - protect her ego and let the troop fall apart, or do what we thought was best for our DDs.

I am so tempted to send her an email and let her know that I was hurt by her comments. I really feel that at this point, she has chosen to make it the issue that it is and for her to air her dirty laundry and villanize us at a public meeting like that was hateful.

But then part of me says to just ignore it. I would never talk badly about her to other parents and I certainly don't talk about the whole Brownie scenario to outside people who know her.

If you've stuck with me this far, thanks. What would you do?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 01-29-2004 - 11:50am
First, I understand why you are upset. I also hate discord within a group, and I sometimes find myself in the role of peacemaker. I feel just awful when I know that I've hurt someone's feelings.

On the other hand, it sounds like you and the other mom handled the situation appropriatly. I think the best course of action is to continue to be pleasant to Joan and to support the friendship between your DDs. I think a casual verbal apology to Joan would be better than e-mail, where the tone is hard to discern. Maybe just say "About Brownies--I'm sorry you felt hurt. I hope your DD is having fun with her other troop" and leave it at that.

It sounds to me like Joan is lonely and saw Brownies as a way to connect with other moms, rather than seeing it as an opportunity to plan and do activities with the girls. Amybe what she needs is a book group or some other type of adult get-together.

Dana

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Thu, 01-29-2004 - 12:04pm
I've already done the apology thing both verbally and via email. I thought we'd moved on. That's why last night's little spectacle was such a shock.

You are right on about the way she saw Brownies. She told us over and over again how much her GS experience meant to her and how she had been waiting since she found out she was having a DD to get her into Scouts. She also told us how she heard her mother laughing and joking with the other GS Scouts and how she wanted that.

She was way too emotionally involved. It's just BROWNIES for christ's sake!!! She told us she was ADD and it was evident. You can't show up 5 minutes before a meeting, without contacting anyone before hand and expect to have parental help and input. We have a group of mom's who WANT to help. They don't want to just drop kids off and pick them up. She wasn't used to it and didn't know how to deal with it. Instead of accepting the help, she took it as us wanting to "take over" and us thinking badly about her. It didn't start out that way, but it was turning into that.

Avatar for laurenmom2boys
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 01-29-2004 - 12:55pm
I would consider the source and ignore it. Eventually, when something else happens and others are hurt by her comments, her true colors will show through. Do what you're doing, let you daughter continue to be friends with her daughter, and be pleasant. Don't try to fix something that can't be fixed. Some people are always the victims and always blame others for real or imagined transgressions. I think if you tried to talk to her you will only become more frustrated.

When I was having difficulties with my MIL I finally realized that the *only* thing I could change in my relationship with her was how I reacted to her. This is a similar situation. Don't react to her. Say a prayer and let it go. You *will* feel better about it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 01-29-2004 - 5:55pm
I would probably let it go. It sounds like it was a big mess with her in charge & I don't think you should feel bad about taking things over. It's not like you noticed one bad meeting & then made her back off. She could have answered phone calls & emails & tried to work with a better solution, but for whatever reason, she didn't want to. Since you have already apologized & been nice & friendly etc. I'd ignore the public testimony & just chalk it up to her showing her true colors.

My dd is in Brownies in 1st grade also & we had the investiture at the meeting. Most of the moms stayed to watch but it wasn't a big ceremony--which is what I remember from when I was a kid. But I don't know what the norm is.

Vickie

VickiSiggy.jpg picture by mamalahk

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 01-29-2004 - 6:04pm
I stuck with ya, baby!! LOL. this lady sounds like a total drama queen! she probably meant well to lead the daisys/brownies, but is a disorganized person. we cant all be everything to our children, and it sounded like she is trying to do that. finding a really good scout troop is very difficult, as experience has taught me, as well as any other organization.

if i were you, i would keep my chin up, my mouth shut and do the best you can for your family and your daughter without hurting anyone. on that note, i dont think you moms intentionally hurt "Joan" at all. sometimes, people need a house to fall on their head to realize what "is". the troop was going nowhere, and she was very slipshot. obviously leading a gs troop is not her forte, and she should find something that is.

i stay way clear of drama queens. cant stand them! children create enough drama, imo, without having to deal with adults around us doing the same.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Fri, 01-30-2004 - 9:37am
I was never in GS and didn't know what an investiture was. But apparently, at our school, they make a bigger deal out of it. We ended up having a nice ceramony. More than just at a meeting but not too much of a "production". We involved a 5th grade troop to help with a flag ceramony and other things which was nice for them.

Our school is BIG into Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts is coming along. The one thing I think GS lacks is the inter-troop organization. Cubs have a pack and then dens in the pack and they get together regularly. I would like GS, at least at our school, to start doing soemthing like that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Fri, 01-30-2004 - 9:39am
I've heard through the grapevine that there are other "issues" with her older boys too. As a family, they are a mess. She even looks like a mess. Remember the "pulled together" thready? She never looks it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Fri, 01-30-2004 - 9:41am
Well THANKs for reading my novel..LOL!! Just writing it all out was good therapy.

I think what really got me was that she accused the whole parish of not being very welcoming to newcomers because of this experience.

And we went out of our way to make her NOT feel that way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 01-30-2004 - 9:29pm
that was the feel i got from your post, and it does hurt, but i guess all i can say is, it takes all kinds.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 01-31-2004 - 7:15am

IMO people like that are looking for a reaction and I wouldn't give her the satisfaction.

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