Recently my friend Meghana who blogs at themotherhoodknot wrote a heartfelt piece on how judgmental, parents can be of other parents. I loved what she wrote and kept on thinking how often it has happened with me too. Mothers who look at my slim-framed daughter comment on what I could feed her to help her look “healthy” (read fat). How do they know that I am not feeding her all those things already? How do they know whether I even care if my daughter put on more weight? How do I make them understand that my petite little girl has enough attitude and will to go through life as a force to be reckoned with?
But is there a bigger issue involved here? Moms who just like to put down other moms (read bullying) in subtle or clear ways to feel good about themselves. The term Mom bully has been in use for a while now and although in our Indian society where comparisons are a way of life the bully moms might not be so well defined, they do exist.
If I thought cliques and groups were done with in my school/college days, becoming a mother was a rude reminder for me.
Here are five kinds of mom bullies I have encountered so far in mommyland
The Complan Mom : This mom is forever on the prowl for a so-called underweight child whose mother she can admonish. She knows all the milestones from a newborn to a teenager and god help you if your child missed the deadline on one of them. The weight by height chart is by heart to her and she is always weighing your child on her mental scale.
Mrs India Mom : She is the supermodel next door. Always turned out impeccably whether it is for a morning walk or grocery shopping. Every time she sees you in your sweatpants a shiver goes down her spine and you meekly get out of her way lest she points her manicured finger at you. The brunch or coffee play date is her hangout and she will use every meeting opportunity to inform you well about the latest in fashion and beauty while you feel like the ugly duckling who never grew up into a swan.
Domestic Diva Mom: Chef extraordinaire, she has five course meals at her house every. single. day. While you toil in the kitchen trying to prepare one edible meal, she cooks up a storm with dishes whose names you don’t recognize and can’t even pronounce. Every time you invite her for lunch or dinner you have to face the condescending look when you once again bring out your trusted shahi paneer.
IIT Mom: She has planned her child’s future and if she had her way she would plan your child’s future too. She knows the best preschools, daycare and their staff like the back of her hand. She is the one who is forever asking if your child started her phonics yet? Reading sentences? How about the encyclopedia? She is always telling you how you have doomed your child by not enrolling him/her in back to back piano, dance, English, swimming, craft classes.
The “Foren” mom: No, don’t get me wrong, this is no foreigner mom but a true-blue Indian mom who has either spent a few years abroad (thanks to an H1B visa) or even worse who goes for the customary summer Europe trip and brings back gerber food as souvenirs. Suddenly every thing Indian is just too stupid, whether it be co-sleeping or potty training. Never mind the fact that westerners are now embracing the Indian parenting styles with a fervor.
Through my encounters one thing I have learnt though is the fact that mom bullying ( or parent bullying) is just like any other form of bullying. If you take it, you get more of it. I have often given an earful to those who tried to make me feel a bad mom and that is enough to deter them from making the same mistake again.
What about you? How do you deal with mom bullies?
If you have ever had a mom bully in your life , do share your experiences with me though your comments below.
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