There’s bound to be that one mother who can’t seem to leave you alone. No matter what the situation, she finds a way to execute a snide remark about your cooking, parenting, or multitasking skills. You’ve been doing your best not to butt heads with her, but it is just getting really hard! Here are a couple tips to handle that crazy MILP:
Remember It’s Not About You. As easy as it is to take it personally when she makes a crack about the snack your brought (High Fructose THIS!), a mom who is continually cutting you down is almost invariably doing it because of her own insecurities, frustrations, or low self-esteem. If you can allow yourself to take a step back, you’ll realize you can view this as a statement about her, and her only.
Teach your children well. What better example to set for your kids than when life hands you lemons (or women who make the hairs on your neck stand on end like a Yeti) to choose to rise above the fray and move forward. It’s not about being a doormat, but remaining calm and level-headed in the face of a total pain-in-the-butt. This is a skill our children would be lucky to have modeled for them (and it will make them less likely to be insufferable pains-in-the-arse themselves).
Silence can be golden. There are few better ways of responding to a passive-aggressive putdown than to let it hang in the air, its awfulness on full display. Don’t be afraid to just smile and breathe in the silence. A close cousin to this, the simple “Wow!” or “Alrighty, then!” can also go a long way in taking away the satisfaction of the aggressor, instead just highlighting what an oaf they are.
Sweeten the Village. With all the moms out there who seem to live to tear each other down, instead of jumping into the cesspool, why not do something directly to counteract it? For every time you want to bodyslam that Sanctimommy, why not make a point to say something nice to someone you admire instead? Or, reward yourself for not taking the bait. Put a dollar in a jar every time you take the high road. After a while, get a pedicure with your spoils, or better yet, give it to a children’s charity to help you remember that dealing with annoying mothers is a blessing that some parents would love to have.
About Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor at Georgetown University, and writer. For more than five years, Dr. Bonior has written the twice-weekly mental health column “Baggage Check” for the Washington Post’s Express newspaper, known for its wit and frequent pop culture references. She’s appeared regularly on TV, writes a friendship blog here on ModernMom, has written on friendships for Yahoo! Shine, Woman’s Day and more. The Friendship Fix is her first book. www.friendshipfix.com.
Follow Andrea on Twitter @DrAndreaBonior