Ever been in a Facebook group for mums and notice that there is always that one clique of mums who just seem slightly more catty and b*tchy than the rest? Those are Mean Girl Mums and they suck the life out of regular mums like you and me.
I recently had to ghost a b*tch after she pulled the classic Mean Girl Mum bullsh*t on me. We had been friends for years and our kids attended each other’s birthday parties almost religiously. She was that mum who I would gravitate toward during school functions. We’d send each other funny wine memes on Facebook. And, whenever there was gossip to be consumed she always seemed to have it at the ready to chew on over after school playdates.
At some point, her constant judgment of other mums was getting under my skin. It was no longer a funny sarcasm meant for us to bond over our own imperfection as mothers; it just felt mean.
And all that gossip? Sure, it was fun to listen to in the beginning, but when it started to become personal, “Did you hear that Jen’s husband is sleeping with the babysitter?” as opposed to regular funny conversations, “…and then she dropped the cupcakes on the floor, picked them back up, iced them, and sold them in the cake stall anyway!” I had to draw a line.
My relationship with this woman was clearly an unhealthy one. I tried to talk to her about it by shutting down the gossip talk. “You know, I’m not sure I want to know about the Frederickson’s financial problems, that seems really personal.” But she didn’t take a hint. She just rolled her eyes and kept jabber-jawing on. So I tried a different tactic: I changed the conversation. But that failed, too.
So I ghosted her.
The thing about Mean Girl Mums is that they are generally self-absorbed enough to not understand that their actions and words affect those around them. The other thing? Toxic behaviours rub off on people, especially kids. In fact, being rude, according to science, is actually contagious. When one person starts smack talking, the urge to do so spreads, making more and more people infected with a bad attitude. And who wants to be a nasty mum who smacks talks people? Not me.
When you think you have a Mean Girl Mum in your midst ask yourself a few questions about your relationship with her.
Is the relationship beneficial in a positive way? Like, if you were sick do you think she’d check in on you and maybe even bring you some soup? Or would she ignore you until you reappear on her radar?
Does she cheer on your accomplishments? If you find that your mum friend tends to focus on her own life and doesn’t seem to take your problems, successes or general feelings into consideration then you may be dealing with a Mean Girl Mum.
Does she have a seemingly endless parade of negative things to say? Sometimes those negative things are thinly veiled compliments or backhanded compliments. For a long time, I had one friend who I thought was sarcastic and funny, but when I really thought about the language she was using and her constant focus on her own needs and wants it occurred to me that she wasn’t funny at all. She was kind of a huge b*tch.
Having the courage to demand that the people in your life are respectful and kind will mean building a community of relationships that are positive and nourishing for you. As mothers, we need to be supported with compassion and love most especially by the people who we choose to spend what little spare time we have with. Not only is it good for your soul, but it signals to your kids that self-respect and being choosy about high-quality relationships is something they should aim for as well.