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Most of us would agree that we are happy to be done with high school. The awkward first dates, the insecurities, the drama – you couldn't pay most people enough to relive those years.
And yet, there are certain situations where we find ourselves reliving the worst of high school all over again. Even as adults, cliques form among moms that exclude other women. Maybe it's your school's PTA moms or perhaps the women in your Gymboree class – either way; it's a terrible feeling being on the outside looking in.
"Odd mom out"
You expect exclusive circles to form in high school, but not necessarily as an adult -- and certainly not as a mom. Andrea, a mom of two, says she first experienced mama drama at her school's PTA. "We had just moved to a new school system, so I didn't know about the 'PTA politics' at our school," she says. "Because I work full time, I wasn't able to volunteer much at school, and I definitely felt like that put a target on my back."
Being the "new" mom – whether it's at your child's school, in your neighborhood or any other social setting – is never easy. Caitlin Boyle, author and healthy living blogger at healthytippingpoint.com, says it's important for moms to follow the same advice they'd give their own kids: be nice and respect others. "I try to be really open and friendly with moms of all types because it's good for me – and for my son – to hang out with people who think differently."
Finding like-minded friends
While it's definitely helpful to follow Caitlin's advice and associate with all types of moms, it's also important to find a group of women with similar interests. For instance, if you enjoy taking yoga, see if your local studio offers a Mommy & Me class. This will let you get back into yoga while also meeting new moms. By choosing an activity in this way, you are able to meet women who already have a shared interest. And as a bonus: your son or daughter now has friends who are close in age!
Caitlin says that it's important to branch out and actively seek new friends and relationships. It can be difficult to make friends as an adult – and especially as a mom. Your friends often don't have babies at the same times you do, and if you're working full-time versus staying home, you can be on completely different schedules from your friends.
"You just have to be brave," says Caitlin. "The other day, I was sitting next to a mom in a lobby. Our sons were the same age. We chit-chatted for a while, and before I left, I asked her for her number so we could text each other and maybe hang out. You've got to take the initial meeting to the next level, or that potential friend will slip through your fingers!"
Setting a good example
As you navigate through these tricky adult relationships, it's important to remember to set a good example for your kids. If another mom said something upsetting to you, try to handle it as maturely as possible – and never talk badly about another parent in front of your children.
It helps to remember that the mother who purposely excludes other women, talks behind their backs or says nasty remarks, is probably insecure. Mollee, a local mom who commented on the Indy's Child's Facebook page, reasons, "Motherhood constantly makes us question ourselves and is a natural place of insecurity -- and some people cope with that by being cruel to others."
"I think moms are just naturally nervous about their roles," adds Caitlin. "When we form cliques and put down others, we feel (unfortunately) justified and more secure in our choices."
It sounds simple, but choose to be nice (or at the very least, bite your tongue.) Being a mother is challenging enough without making the job harder for each other. Dealing with mom cliques can be difficult, but responding to them by "taking the high road" shows your children what to do when they inevitably experience the same thing.