How to Get a Mean Mom to Back off Jacqueline Parker The Co. Original: Insights on Parenting from The Co. Staff Writer, Jacqueline Court _ Ironically motherhood can bring us right back into the playground antics of our own childhood. What is it about the schoolyard that brings out the bossiness and bullying in some people? Even worse, what is it about the whole environment that makes us shrink away and cave into these bullies? Here are some different types of bully Moms, along with some strategies for putting them in their place. The “I’m in Charge” Mom This is the Mom who spends most of her time involved with school activities and programs. She runs the show and all you do is take orders, whether you like it or not. The Rude Girl You’ve probably had a brush with a Mom like this. She lacks a filter and feels it’s okay to voice her opinions on anything and everything. But lose your cool and say one thing back, and she will literally take your head off. The Unsolicited Advice Mom She isn’t a mean mom and she genuinely does think that a) you need help parenting and b) you need her help parenting. Her advice, heartfelt or not, isn’t what you’re looking for and can be perceived as bossy. In short, there’s nothing fun about having a playdate over wine with this Mom. The Always Right Mom In her opinion, she can do no wrong but you sure can! Whether it’s her amazing parental instinct or the fact she’s read every book and blog on parenting, she knows it all and is not afraid to preach. When it comes to parenting, it’s her way or the highway. Imagine being her kid? The Truly Mean Mom This Mom is sickly sweet when you talk to her but as soon as you turn your back, watch out. Let’s just say, you never want to miss a coffee date with her otherwise you can be sure that you’ll be the topic de jour! She’s talked about every single Mom behind her back at some point, so you know you’re next in line. The Coping Strategies Remember that we’re all fighting some sort of battle and while these Moms may come across as bossy, bullying or malicious, their behavior is likely a reflection of their own insecurities. By understanding where this behavior comes from, we can tailor our reactions accordingly: 1. Don’t engage. And by that, I mean don’t take orders or allow anyone to speak to you in a way that is disrespectful or unkind. Instead of responding by defending yourself, simply acknowledge that you’ve heard her with a simple, “I hear you,” and then move on. This lets her know she’s been heard and considered, but it leaves it ambiguous as to what your opinion is. Remember, you are setting an example for your own child when you demonstrate how you let others treat you. Our children notice how we engage with others, so it’s important to model positive behavior. 2. Don’t take it personally. This behavior is typically not even about you and you’ll find other Mothers are likely being subjected to the same treatment. When hanging out with other victims, try to keep the conversation productive and strategic about ideas for how to cope with the individual instead of getting drawn into a gossip session about her. 3. Limit your interactions. If you know she will be lingering around the playground after school, plan a play date or other activity that will take you and your child away from the area. If she will be attending a meeting or event that you’ll be at, find a way to be distracted talking to others and keeping physical distance by conveniently being at the other side of the room, for example. This will demonstrate your lack of tolerance for her behavior and she will either move on to their next willing victim or better yet, change her behavior towards you. 4. Respond only when necessary or not at all. Responding with anger or annoyance will only inflame the situation. Sometimes the best way to shut someone down is to take away their power. You can do this simply by brushing off the comment and moving on. If she says something critical about your parenting skills or appearance, just ask as if you hadn’t heard it and carry on with what you’re doing, whether it be continuing your line of thought or leaving the conversation for another task altogether. When children are around, it’s always easy to find an excuse to leave the conversation!