You may think that cliques and bullying were far behind you now that you’re an adult. But becoming a parent can plunk you right back into a teenage nightmare, full of mean girls, hurtful gossip and a whole lot of mami drama. While most of us grow out of catty behavior, these “mean moms” simply carry these childish tactics on to parenthood. Believe it or not – mom-on-mom bullying is alive and well!
The typical schoolyard “momster” will constantly compare herself, her kids and her life to others. You’ve probably seen her presiding over PTA, gossiping at the park or passive-aggressively posting on social media. By nature, us women rely on the intimacy of female friendships (sharing feelings, concerns, fears and emotions) and this is exactly how bullies attack. Psychologists use the term “relational aggression” to explain a covert type of bullying — like excluding someone from an event, or gossiping about them behind their back. By preying on the very nature of female connections, these mom bullies gain their power.
Whether you’re 13 or 35, standing up against a bully is never easy. Recognize that bullies feel powerful when they make you feel insecure, so don’t let them win – you’re not in high school anymore. You may not be BFFs with every mom on the block, but you can “play nice” to set a good example for your kids. Remember, mean girls are only as powerful as you allow them to be. Read on for 5 tips on how to combat “mom bullies”.
Do not engage
If you overhear a mean girl mom talking about you, or you’re confronted by a drama mami, walk away and let cooler heads prevail. If you engage in petty nonsense, it just adds fuel to the fire. Let her stew in her own drama and she’ll end up looking pretty foolish having a one sided argument. Don’t respond and you get to walk away the bigger person.
...but Stand up for yourself
If you ever feel like a fellow mommy is crossing a big boundary, speak up! Let this bully know you are the parent of your children and you’re an adult. You get to make the decisions that work for your situation and you won’t be disrespected.
Make other friends
When it seems like all the “cool” moms are against you, it can be isolating and upsetting. Even though you’re an adult, feelings of “not fitting in” can affect you and put you back into awkward teen mode. That’s when it’s time to seek out and make your own friends. Avoid making it a contest or an all-out war between cliques—make it clear to your friends that you don’t want any telenovela drama.
At the end of the day, we are all just moms trying to do the very best we can – and just like in middle school, there are the moms that can’t or won’t stand up for themselves. Set an example for your kids and be that woman who is willing to stand up to a mom bully and let her know that what she’s doing is not okay. After all, wouldn’t we be proud if we saw our children do the same?
Be responsible for yourself
Sure, it’s annoying to have to deal with snotty moms, but try not to stress it too much. Remember that what other people do is their problem, and if you let them make you angry, you’re wasting energy on them. Instead, focus on supporting your family and your children – do your own thing, mama!