Stevie Niki, a mother of four kiddos from Australia, decided to show just how much of a toll bullying can take on a family in an emotional Instagram post that left us in a puddle of tears. She explained that as much as she wants to be a ray of light for her daughter who's been bullied, it's hard not to totally take on your child's heartbreak in these situations.
"I want to pretend like today was a good day, I want to say something positive and inspiring, but I can't, not today," she wrote. "I sat with my daughter after school and we both cried. My heart aches for all her pain and sadness."
And it's totally true: when you're a parent, all you want to do is make your kid's problems go away. And when you can't, it's one of the most painful things in the world. She wrote:
Most people don't see what I see, they see a loud kid, a silly kid, a happy kid, a kid that won't sit still and a sometimes defiant kid. A child with a mind that wanders, a spirit that roams free and a heart that has a wild spark. Some may even see a "naughty" kid. The truth is, all she is, is a kid (my kid) just as special as yours or anyone else's. And the kid I see at home is a kid that hurts, shes changed a lot in the last few months and challenged me even more. Her spark has dulled and glow has gotten darker . . . I asked her today where she has gone? And we cried. I want my happy girl back, the one who lights up the room and radiates vibes I wish I could create.
Stevie wants parents to know that the scars from six months' worth of bullying are sometimes so deep that even when kids have a good day, it can still be hard to smile. "Today she had a good day at school, she played with a kid and had fun. But this is what it's like, it doesn't matter if it's a good day when the pains still there and the wounds are still raw. The damage has been done and it's not yet repaired."
She also explained how normal it is for parents to second-guess some of the decisions they made when their mini mes come home from school crying because sometimes it's just easier to blame yourself. "Maybe we should have never sold [our first home and made them change schools]. Maybe we shouldn't have relocated."
Despite having hundreds of thoughts swirling through her mind, one thing's for sure: no amount of bullying should ever cause her daughter to change who she is. "She doesn't fit into a box and I don't want her to either. Raising kids was never going to be easy, but it shouldn't be this kind of hard."
Seriously, we couldn't agree more. Stevie signed off by encouraging other parents to talk to their kids about how harmful bullying can be, saying, "So talk to your kids, teach them kindness and inclusiveness — because no mum and no child should have to sit through this and feel what we feel."