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?
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.