There’s a lot of pressure to be perfect parents these days, especially on women, and the barrage of parenting blogs, books and websites only adds to this stress. If parenting wasn’t already hard enough, there are mom bullies out there who are critical of your parenting choices, and they can leave you feeling like an inadequate parent. These women are often the mean girls from high school who grew up to be mean moms and then breed their own daughters to be mean girls. Yikes! The cycle never ends.
Here are some examples of Mom Bullies:
The Know It All: This is the mother who has to add her two cents to everything and that her way is the best way. If you don’t do things the way she does, it is implied that you are being a bad parent. She may be critical that you chose to formula-feed your baby or that you let your children play video games. Sometimes, this may not be told to you directly, but behind your back to her other mommy friends.
The Judge: If your toddler throws an epic tantrum in the grocery store, this is the mother who tosses you "the judgmental eyes" to say that her child would never do that in public. Or she may scoff at you for sending in cookies to your child’s classroom party instead of a healthy celery snack like she did.
The In Your Face: This is the mother who will call you out for not having your baby’s head covered on a chilly day or she’ll remark that “someone should be watching that kid,” as your child runs wildly through the park even though you are breaking your neck to keep up with him. She has no filter and says what she pleases, which is often hurtful.
Okay, so how do we deal with mom bullies? Here are a few tips.
Do not react to her negative comments or judging looks. If you respond with an angry comment, it may only add fuel to the fire. Ignoring her will lessen the chance that she’ll keep heckling you and will diffuse the situation more quickly.
Stand up for yourself. In some situations, it is appropriate to calmly express that you are the parent and that you make decisions based on what works for your child.
If it is a friend or relative, discuss your concerns with them. Let them know how uncomfortable they make you feel and that it is okay if you choose to parent differently.
Don’t bash other moms. If you don’t want your parenting to be judged, don’t judge other parents. Role model respect for others to your children and they’ll follow suit.