Here are three tried and true methods of becoming the the most unlikable mother in a room full of other mothers. Take it from me… I am an expert.
1. KNOW IT ALL (and be sure to educate your mommy peers on what they *don’t* know)
A sure fire way to isolate yourself from a potential support system of moms, is to try to become their leader. At every kid birthday party, prayer meeting, park meet up, and other gatherings that mothers attend…be ready to provide unsolicited advice. If a mama casually shares her concerns over her six year old’s reading struggle, be diligent to point out the possible things that she might be doing wrong as a mother. If a young mom is deliberating on whether she will continue breastfeeding or giving her baby a bottle, do not hesitate to share the science behind what you know is “right”. If a mom feels disconnected from her husband, be open and honest about you have *never ever* felt disconnected from your spouse because you *know* what is needed to keep a relationship vibrant. If you can just know everything about everything and tell everyone about it…I promise you… you too, can become the most unlikeable mom in the room.
2. MAKE IT ALL ABOUT YOU (and don’t let the other moms get a word in edgewise)
Another excellent method is to become the mother who consistently drains the support from the mama community by making the conversation all about your own mom life. Every chance you are with the other mothers, vent. Take every opportunity to vent away about your annoying children, your lazy spouse, your lack of finances, and your general dissatisfaction with your life. If another mother shares her own present struggle, be sure to trump it with a sadder version. No one has it worse than you. The goal is to keep the attention and focus of the group on you and you alone. After all, that’s why you are friends with these moms… so they can be there for you. Be careful to not spend any energy on supporting them, otherwise, they may actually grow fond of you.
3. TRASH TALK ABOUT OTHER MOTHERS (aka ‘share your concerns about their parenting styles’)
This is a more advanced strategy because initially, you will gain an audience. Some moms feel better when they hear other mothers being talked about in a negative light. It makes them feel better about themselves. As you share your concerns about another mother’s parenting style, you will notice that the other mothers will give you an ear, but don’t worry! They don’t want you to be their friend. They are well aware that you are on the prowl of identifying and communicating to the others about their own shortcomings. They will not confide in you and they will not be transparent with you. You will slowly feel them distance themselves from you. You must be patient. Over time, they will see you as a resource for gossip but not as a potential friend. Eventually, you will become the most unlikeable mother in the room!
As we read the 3 tried and true methods of becoming the most unlikable mother in the room, it’s easy to say to ourselves, “I know a mother who is *just* like this!” It’s hard and painful to see these bad habits in ourselves. Cultivating a healthy community of mothers who truly are supporting each other, requires us to take an honest look within. Here are some questions we need to brave enough to ask ourselves:
1. Am I know it all? Do I offer too much unsolicited advice? Do I share my opinions as though they are facts?
2. Do I constantly dominate the conversation with my woes? Is my mom community always spending their support on me because I am not really interested in making room for others to share their struggle and find support too?
3. Do I talk negatively talk about other mothers? Do I gossip under the guise of “sharing my concerns”? Do the others feel like I have their back or would they believe that I will trash talk them behind their back the first chance I get?
Dear friend, please know I have been guilty of ALL of the above. You are not the only one who has struggled with these bad habits too. The good news is that we can change! As we become aware of our weaknesses, we can make a conscious choice to:
1. Listen and support other moms without having to advise them.
2. Share the support by asking other moms how they are doing and giving them space to receive support.
3. Cheer on other moms – even when they aren’t in the room. If we have genuine concerns regarding how they parent, we can humbly and privately speak directly to them about it. But no more “mama trash talk”.
The bottom line is that we need friendships if we are going to flourish in our motherhood. Friendship is one of the most vital ingredients to not just surviving motherhood…but enjoying it too. We can cultivate a healthy community of mom friends by NOT becoming the most unlikeable mother in the room. Instead, we can be the friend who the others will say, “I am so glad she is apart of our community!”
I am cheering for you, Mama!
Noelle is a researcher, speaker, and podcaster. She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.
Noelle is passionate about helping women empower women through the art of friendship.