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How to Break Up With a Mom Friend

Sometimes a friendship doesn't work out, whether it's for a major reason or small petty reasons (sadly), but what do you do when it's a mom friend who either happens to have a child that your kid is close friends with, mingles in the same circles as you do, or both? It's not an easy situation, and every scenario is different depending on why you decided to sever ties with this friend, as well as how old your children are and if the two children happen to be close friends or not. And if you haven't yet cut the cord with this female friend of yours, but are considering it, maybe it's worth figuring out a way to handle the situation in a delicate manner.

Group Playdates

Obviously if you caught your mom friend hooking up with your husband or talking garbage about you, you'll never want to see her again, but if it was a lesser offense and your children enjoy playing together, try a group playdate scenario! The kids shouldn't be punished for the end of your friendship, so if you can pull off a park or bounce house gathering, it would be worth it. Plus, in a large group, you won't really have to interact with your ex-friend. You can always stick to the slides if she's on the swings, or vice versa. If you happen to have a few mutual friends, ask them to set something up, but be sure to promise to keep things cordial. No one else should have to endure the drama of the end of your friendship.

The Kids Are Young

If the kids are really young, like 3 and under, I think you can safely say "sayonara" to this friend without doing anything at all. In the worst-case scenario, if you two happen to frequent the same mommy-and-me groups or gym and you cannot stand the thought of seeing her, do your best to either go to these events with a friend to cushion the tension that may come up if you two run into each other. If that alone sounds too hard to bear, avoid going at times when she may be around. I would highly recommend though that you do not under any circumstances avoid doing things entirely that you like to do just because you two aren't "BFFs" anymore. That's not positive for you and could end up jeopardizing other friendships you have. Skipping mom's group could mean you end up isolated. Saying no to yoga means losing a good outlet for your stress. You can always find new groups or classes, but at our age, you shouldn't have to! Don't be a coward.

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Drop-Offs

If your kids are best friends, this will really impact them when you two just say no to being gal pals for good. To minimize the impact on the kiddos if they are old enough, try offering to drop your kid off and vice versa, so the two of you don't have to put up with coffee talk together yet they'll still be able to play. This is obviously impossible if the kids are very young since no parent wants to leave his or her young child in the care of someone else for a playdate. In that case, you may have to explain gently to your little one in a developmentally appropriate way that things didn't work out. Perhaps, "Mommy and friend had a fight. Sometimes big people make bad choices, so we decided to take a time-out from each other," or even just, "Mommy and friend are having a time-out for a little while."

If this explanation doesn't work and your child is distressed, you may want to ask his or her teacher for some tips. We grieve when we lose friends. Even if the friendship ended horrifically, many of us remember all of the good times as well, just like when you break something off romantically. Perhaps you and your friend shared certain hobbies and passions. Losing this friend could feel like losing a part of yourself.

When your child misses his playmate, thanks to the big "breakup" between you and his friend's mom, this could be a teaching moment to show your child how to cope with sadness. Tell your kiddo that singing a song, hugging a doll, drawing a picture, riding a bike, or building a tall tower can help make the sad feelings easier. When I am sad, I explain to my 4-year-old things I do to make myself feel better like go for a run or read a book. Healthy coping skills are always useful, and besides, this opens the door to talking about feelings, which is very healthy for young toddlers who really need some "instruction" on feelings — what the different feelings are and how to deal with them. In many ways, we need to teach emotion!

Little League Drama

If you and this mom have to attend Girl Scouts, Little League, or drama club together, I have bad news for you: deal with it. Find other moms to talk to, and whatever you do, even if she's turned "catty" on you, don't say one bad word about her or roll one of those eyeballs of yours! You need to take the higher ground. If you find she's gossiping about you and people are coming up to you like women often do to ask about these rumors, simply say that you two had a falling out, you refuse to say anything bad about her, and that you're sorry that she is saying untruthful or unkind words about you, but you wish nothing but the best for her. It doesn't matter if it's true or not: the point is that, if you continually do this, ignore any nasty gossipers, and don't engage in any of the dramatics that some women love to egg on, the bad talk will eventually die down. Turn the other cheek, and keep your cool. Thou that does protest (the catty ex-friend) too much will end up looking like the fool, but you? You will look like the good guy.

Limiting

Perhaps your friendship isn't doing well, but you aren't ready to give the person the boot just yet. Maybe you two have very different parenting views, lifestyles, or ways of communicating. If this mom falls into this category, I would advise to not drop this woman, but instead limit your social interactions together. You could try an every other month playdate, a group gathering, or simply limit the time you spend with her when you do see her, even if it's weekly, to an hour or so.

A Break

You may just need a break from someone — and not a breakup. If you feel like you ladies are locking horns, tell her, "Hey, let's just take a break for a bit to cool off and get together a few weeks from now." You may be spending too much time together or one of you or both of you may be dealing with so much stress that the stress is bleeding into your friendship. I have seen this happen. Take a break first before something explodes and gets ugly.

Saying Goodbye

It's not easy to say goodbye to a friend, unless you weren't all that close. As moms, we meet a lot of different mothers and not all of them can end up as our closet lady friends. Some friendships last for a reason, others a season, and a few, a lifetime. If you do decide to part ways with a friend, please do not text message someone your reasons for ending the friendship or try to argue via text . . . or use a third party to deliver the message. The greatest offense? Avoiding the conversation altogether and dropping off the face of the earth! Be a big girl, and call her or speak to her face to face. No matter what you do, try to not get overheated even if the person gets nasty. You don't want to have any regrets later on down the line or have this person get the best of you.

In the end, it's sad to lose a friendship and expect yourself to be blue about it. It's totally normal, and maybe one day, you two can see eye to eye again and if not? Learn from the experience, and enjoy the friends you do have that make your life better. No one needs negativity in his or her life. Choose your friends wisely!

Image Source: Shutterstock
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