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Meet the Newest Bully On The Block: the Mean Mom

Meet the Newest Bully On The Block: the Mean Mom

Guess who’s the biggest bully on the block?

How about the cut-throat competitive parent you met through the PTA? You know, the one who's always trying to one-up others with stories about her kid’s successes? Or the pushy mom who organizes the play group—and has intentionally left you and your child off the invite list for the end-of-the-school-year pool party?

If you’ve ever been the butt of gossip on the soccer field sidelines, or ostracized by the “class mom,” who coordinates the volunteers and assigns you to lobby ticket sales during your child’s talent show, you’ve been the victim of a "bully mom."

The TODAY show recently featured these “Monsters in Minivans," and asked viewers “do you know a mom bully?” It seems that many Circle of Moms members so—or at least have had an encounter with another mom whose pushy, mocking, or belittling behavior made them miserable. Conversations about these mean moms are cropping up in many communities.

Tara B., for one, says she found herself being shunned by a group of mom bullies when she was new in town and trying to join a church-sponsored play group with her preschool-aged daughter. She was so upset by the behavior of the moms that she ultimately decided not to join.

Why Do Moms Bully Other Moms?

Many members' experiences with bully moms suggest that its root is the competition and jealousy over children's achievements that's seething just below the surface. Heather H. says that other moms have tried to belittle her children’s successes in academics and sports. Why are "other mothers competing with me about our kids,” she wonders.

Kara K. offers one possible explanation: ”I'm a hockey mom and a dance mom, and yes, we are a clique. It just happens: the football/cheerleader moms stick together, the soccer moms group together and the karate moms go together."

But while she understands why these divisions form, she is disturbed by a recent conversation she overheard among members of her hockey mom group: “One of the moms was recounting her story of picking up her daughter from school and realizing she was standing in a group of ‘loser moms.’ I didn't ask who because I know who she is talking about, the moms who stay in their sweats and don't "do" their hair or makeup" whose kids don't look like a Gap ad at all times."

Do Bully Moms Make Bully Kids?

Another Circle of Moms member mom (who posts anonymously as  “????”) started a conversation about mom bullies in the All About Mom community, saying she is offended by the increase in cyber bullying among moms in Internet discussion groups. These are places, she says, where moms are supposed to offer support to one another. Instead, she's found that “in quite a few cases, moms are being very rude, disrespectful, inconsiderate, not understanding, and even plain out nasty to other moms who disagree with their opinions.”

More to the point, she adds that “It worries me that my son and his friends will end up facing more ‘bullies’ in school and at a younger age, because these mothers are teaching their children those attitudes.” 

Whenever the concern over bullying moms surfaces, Circle of Moms members ask what's driving it.

"Power," says TODAY show contributor Gail Saltz, herself a mom of three daughters. “Anytime there's power to be had, there's bullying." And she warns, being "picked on or excluded can easily awaken your inner child—and it hurts, no matter how old you are.”

The good news, Saltz says, is that if you’re alert to the toxicity of bullying behavior, you can deflect it and send a strong message to your children, by example, that mocking, manipulating and swinging blows at other people is not okay. If you’re looking to stop a bully in her tracks, the best way to do so is to confront the bully directly. “Call it out,” Saltz says on TODAY. “Tell the bully, ‘I see what you’re doing, and it’s not OK. Let’s not do that.“

She adds that moms need to stand up to mom bullies to create a bully-free world. Parents have to teach by example.

Many Circle of Moms agree with Saltz that there’s no bigger buzz kill than confronting the mom bully with the knowledge that you are onto her game and it is unacceptable. As Ruth B. advises, it's important to not let yourself become one of them: “My advice is just to ignore them," she says, adding that others moms can treasure being secure enough not to have to "strike out at other parents.”

Have you been bullied by another mom? And how do you deal with it?

Image Source: Clairebidwellsmith via Flickr/CreativeCommons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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KristianaKincaid KristianaKincaid 4 years
When I first moved to the UK, I joined an online support group for parents in my area. Another parent posted about sleep trouble for her infant - since I'd experienced much the same thing in the US, I posted back with a lot of the tips that I'd learned from a lactation consultant and a sleep consultant who'd got my baby back on track sleep-wise. Within hours, however, the vitriolic backlash from two of the "senior" moms on the board that resulted from what I thought was a friendly, supportive post was unreal. Needless to say, I stopped being part of that community. Bully moms are EVERYWHERE, and I agree - it's about power. Apparently, those two ladies (who both had thousands of posts under their belts) were the only ones who were allowed to provide "helpful" feedback on THAT forum...
MichelleDavison64784 MichelleDavison64784 4 years
Wow, this must be a relatively new thing, because I never encountered this behavior from other moms when my daughter was a child. There were the drama queens and the gossip mongers, but otherwise, there wasn't any bullying going on as far I knew anyway. My daughter was a dancer for years, so I was a dance mom and my daughter was a cheerleader, so I was in those groups, and thankfully everyone got along for the most part. Cattiness is always going to be there and, yes I have dealt with that, but the bullying--never. A lot has changed in the years and I definitely can see how mothers can be bullying on the internet, I see that all of the time just the way people talk in specific groups. If one is not on the same page as the majority in the group, then all kinds of lovely name calling and put downs is thrown around. The funny thing, that is their tactic to get one to see things from their point of view. Now that's bullying. Why on earth would I want to be part of a group or whatever, if they bully you to get you on board? Makes no sense. I think if I had to deal with this stuff now, I would A) confront the person by calling her out. First and foremost, and then 2) if the behavior didn't stop, then I would just remove myself from the group and join the "Sweat Pants" moms, lol!
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