We all remember the good ol’ high school days. Filled with football games, chemistry tests, and mean girls. Chances are you were probably on the receiving end of the backbiting, snickering, and teasing. Chances are you probably dished some out yourself. Unfortunately it’s something we all deal with as part of growing up.
Then you graduate, go on to college or a job, get a chance to choose your own friends and social circles, and hopefully grow up. And you think those “mean girl” days are over.
Then you become a mom.
What is it about carrying a child for 9 months and giving birth that turns otherwise rational, level-headed women (in most cases) into judgmental, taunting mean girls? It’s like all of a sudden if another mom is doing something that doesn’t fit into our expert opinion of the right way to raise a child, then that gives us license to ridicule her and point out her flaws. Sometimes publicly, and more often behind our computers.
Here are a few things to remember if you find yourself on the receiving end of mean girl treatment. Or if you find YOURSELF tempted to be the mean girl.
Being an adult sucks…for everyone.
Sure, it’s great to be able to be out of your parents’ house and making your own rules and financial decisions. But once you have a child you realize those decisions suddenly become infinitely harder. At the top of this list of difficult decisions is the choice whether to continue working or to stay at home with your child(ren). And let’s be honest, this is one of the biggest topics of mean girl catfights. Working-Moms pick on Stay-At-Home-Moms for sitting at home “watching soap operas” all day and Stay-At-Home-Moms blast Working-Moms for not spending enough time with their children.
News Flash: This is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make. And the fact is, both decisions are wracked with guilt and sacrifice. Maybe you work because you have a job you love. (I hope so!) Or maybe you work because that’s the only thing that will work financially for your family. You make sacrifices every day to make this happen. But it doesn’t mean you love your children any more or any less because you make this decision. And it doesn’t make you any better or worse than a mom who chooses a different option.
Maybe you stay home because you truly love it. (I hope so!) Or maybe you stay home because you feel it’s the best thing for your kids and your family, but you really miss going to work every day. Or maybe you stay home because going back to work would barely cover the childcare bill and you don’t feel like it’s worth it, even though you wonder how you’ll ever get back into the workforce and you miss the things you used to be able to buy when you had a dual income. You make sacrifices every day to make this happen. But it doesn’t mean you love your children any more or any less because you make this decision. And it doesn’t make you any better or worse than a mom who chooses a different option.
We’re all doing the best we can.
Are you a breastfeeding mama? That’s amazing! It’s tough to stick with and is definitely a commitment. You’re doing what you think is best to feed your baby. Way to go. See that formula-feeding mama over there? Before you jump on her for giving her baby a bottle, consider this: maybe she tried to breastfeed and it didn’t work out for her. Or maybe she chose to give her baby formula from day one. Regardless, she’s doing her best to make sure her baby is fed and healthy. Good for her.
And formula-feeding mama, do you see that breastfeeding-mama feeding her baby on the park bench? If it offends you, you don’t have to look! No matter which option you choose, it doesn’t mean you love your children any more or any less because you make this decision. And it doesn’t make you any better or worse than a mom who chooses a different option.
If it doesn’t affect you, don’t worry about it!
Life is busy. Every day is a juggling act between kids, chores, responsibilities, your significant other, finding a time to shower, etc. We’re all busy trying to make it through the day and make the decisions that are best for our own families. What’s the point in worrying about what decision your Facebook friend is making for hers? The quickest way to prevent becoming a Mean Girl is to embrace the fact that whatever Jane is doing with her family has no bearing on your family’s health or well-being, so it really doesn’t matter. And your negative comments aren’t likely to change her behavior anyway, so what’s the point?
Some people are just mean.
Let’s face it. Some people are just mean. It doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll never please them. So if you find yourself on the receiving end of their abuse, QUIT BEING THEIR FRIEND! If it’s a family member or co-worker that you can’t break ties with that easily, either confront them about their comments or choose to ignore them. Remember, you’re doing the best you can for your family…and it doesn’t make you any better or worse than a mom who chooses a different option.