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Do you know who I’m referring to when I say, “difficult mom?”
Whose face pops into your head right away? I’m sure we all know someone who could qualify, right?
It’s hard to be a mom and it’s even harder to be a mom when another mom is criticizing your every move. It’s like, “HEY! We’re supposed to be on the same team, right!?”
So much of the parenting stress I used to fall into had to do with what other people would think and if I could get the approval of those around me.
When the real question SHOULD have been…have a I prayed about it and does it get HIS approval? I wish it always came that easy for me, but now that my kids aren’t babies anymore it is not as difficult for me to have confidence in my parenting choices.
Because, let’s face it, moms who have babies face a lot of options. If you have had a baby in the past couple of years, then you get it. If it’s been more than a couple of years then you have probably blocked it from your memory.
Let me refresh your memory: hospital v home birth, epidural or all natural, circumcise or uncircumcised, disposable diapers v cloth diapers, co-sleeping or crib, formula v. breast milk (and then a step further–breast v bottle), pacifier or no pacifier, belly v back, cry it out or hold, work outside the home or stay home with baby, daycare or nanny, solids before age 1 or not, baby wearing or stroller, front facing car seat at age 1 or rear facing car seat until age 10 (just kidding.) And that’s all just when they’re babies. I’m tired just making that list.
Here is some advice for dealing with those difficult “bully moms”:
- Understand Her–you see, she is probably dealing with her own problems and maybe she feels insecure about the decisions she has made or is making. Seriously, it’s so much easier to hold an opinion when everyone else in the room holds the same one. That’s why people join message boards and facebook pages devoted to their cause. Because it feels good to be around like-minded peeps–and rather uncomfortable to be the only “weirdo” around. When you feel that heated, judgmental shadow creep over you; fight to keep your own feelings in check. Pray for her.
- Just listen to her–Unless you are also one of “those” moms, then this should be easy. I have kind of trained myself to enjoy passionate people. I genuinely love it when moms devote so much brain power to an issue. Instead of hearing, “my way is the only way and if you don’t do it my way you are wrong, wrong, wrong!” I now hear, “This is how I do things and this is why” Mostly these women want to share their passion with you–think of it like a book or movie recommendation–maybe you don’t want to read that book or see that movie, but you’re not going to get angry at someone for telling you it’s good, right? I think this will continue to get easier as my kids get older. I hear that with age comes wisdom–
- Do not let her opinion become your opinion–When my first son was born, I was fielding “advice” from every direction about every topic. When what I was doing didn’t line up exactly with another person’s viewpoint, it would wreck me! Mostly it was the other mom with the ironclad belief system (aka: THAT MOM) that would make me feel like I was doing everything something wrong. Before I knew it, I didn’t know what I was doing or why. Ugh–those days were stressful, because back then, I didn’t have a very full prayer life or a great support system. Now I know how essential those 2 things are to a new mom–to know that confidence doesn’t come from other people, but from God…so other people’s opinions are their own and you don’t have to make them your’s too.
- And if you have to say something–treat her as you would want to be treated. Easy right? Haha–Gracefully state your opinion without criticizing her opinion and making her feel small. I’ve never been very good at this step–so I usually skip it!
- Just walk away–It happens sometimes…the friend that just won’t back down and constantly belittles you. Friends, let’s not put ourselves through that. Just cut the ties and walk away–with grace and dignity. It will be so tempting to stomp her down and give her a taste of her own medicine…but resist that. But if necessary, tell her the truth–explain that her attitudes and opinions are hurting you. Yes, it would be a difficult conversation, but you just gotta do it.
Have you ever encountered one of “those moms,” if so, how did you deal with her? Leave me a comment and let me know–I’ll add it to the list.