Are You a Mean Mom?
Posted on 04 April 2017
Contrary to what you might be thinking, I'm not talking about your parenting skills.I mean, let's face it. There's enough of that on the internet, isn't there? As far as raising your kids goes, I'm pretty sure you're great at it.
In fact, I think you've probably got the whole mom thing down. Your kids are well-dressed, clean, fed, mostly happy (and lord knows that ain't easy!)
Instead, what I'm talking about here is how you treat other moms (and women) in your social circle.
We all know the "parenting style definitions", right?
The way that people parent has been inspected, judged, blogged about, hailed, criticized and all but immortalized in stone by everyone from your grandparents to your neighbours.
What often isn't talked about is how your style of parenting carries over in to your adult relationships. Especially relationships with other women, and especially when your particular style relies heavily on judging other people.
For instance, if you're a helicopter mom, do you helicopter parent kids that aren't yours in the playground sometimes?
Even when their parents or caregivers are right there?
Maybe you think it's okay to correct an annoying-but-not-inherently-dangerous behaviour? Or shame a child for being a little too excited when getting in line for the slide?
Maybe you're not trying to be rude or offensive, but have you ever thought that the judgments you're making about another person's child aren't really yours to make?
Now I'm not talking about preventing a horrific accident or stopping one child from gravely injuring another here - those actions are helpful. I'm talking about actions born from judgment.
Here's another example - clique moms. You know, the moms who grew up together and live close to one another now and "don't need any new friends". Do you have playdates every week that you share on social media, but that "clique outsiders" are never invited to? Are you completely unapproachable and judgmental when someone new tries to break in to the group?
These things alone don't make you a mean mom, but they definitely give you a head start.
You might be a mean mom if:
- You talk negatively behind other parents' backs on the regular
- You think your way of parenting is the only "right" way to do it
- You repeatedly give unsolicited advice to parents who aren't raising their kids your way
- You talk negatively about parents or other people's kids in front of your kids
- You complain to your school about a child's deathly allergies
- You repeatedly send your kids to school with prohibited snacks knowing that other kids in their class have deathly allergies
- You spread rumours and/or frequently gossip about parents or other people's kids
- You find yourself outwardly/vocally judging other parents
(without knowing or caring about their situation)
- You're openly racist, homophobic, or transphobic in front of your kids
- You're constantly (and vocally) offended by Facebook posts regarding kids, parenting, infertility, etc. that don't match your beliefs
- You're repeatedly insensitive to other people's feelings
(or you put your feelings above other people's often)
- You're dismissive of any point of view that you don't share
- You post things on social media with the intention of being petty or bugging a parent you don't like
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, if you're doing more than 5 of things on this list on a regular basis, you might not just be a mean mom.
You might also be a horrible person.
Well, if no one's ever told you before, I hope that this really helps. Here it goes.
YOU'RE NOT PERFECT!
Plus you're not fooling anyone. Most people see through all that "holier than thou" crap before you even get through the door.
9 times out of 10 your mean-girling isn't about anyone else. It's a way for you to make yourself feel "better than" other people, and that's the number one sign that you've got really low self-esteem.
Besides aren't we supposed to be teaching kids to be openminded and accepting of diversity these days?
I mean, if the end goal is to raise good humans, how is "mean-momming" contributing to that goal?
I get it. You're passionate about your kids.
Maybe you didn't mean to be so judgmental about your child's circle of friends. Or maybe you're too busy keeping your kids fed and clean to really think hard about how you're treating other parents.
But for every excuse you make for bad behaviour, there's a parent who is dealing with the same struggles as you who is feeling isolated, judged, and really hurt by your bullshit.
And, be honest here, wouldn't you be if the shoe was on the other foot?
With the world constantly debating how motherhood should feel, what it should look like, and how you should parent, moms everywhere are already struggling to feel "good enough" every damn day. Do you really want to be the mom adding another negative, judgmental voice to that message?
So just stop already! Work on you. Build your home and your family in the best way that works for your goals, and let other people do the same.
Afterall, motherhood takes a village. So why be the person driving people away when you could be the person bonding and enjoying the experience?