You think adulthood means you will never have to face the social division you used to witness in high school? I remember sitting at a student council meeting at the time and thinking about how much I couldn’t wait to graduate. Graduation wasn’t just about moving ahead, but mostly about being away from the mean girls and the social division that could never seem to be avoided.
Once I graduated high school, I thought about how exciting it was to be able to do what I wanted, when I wanted, and not have to worry about anymore “mean” groups. I went to college and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work for some good companies. Still, people seemed to be much more courteous around each other. There weren’t too many “cliques” and social groups that used to intimidate other people. Although I’m not oblivious to the fact that they do exist.
Until I became a mom, I thought I would never again have to witness the mean girl attitude that used to go on in high school. Now I know that motherhood isn’t just about being a parent, but now you’re entered into a new class system. A class where you can and will be judged, not just on your parenting style, but on everything else.
It wasn’t until my son started going to preschool that I noticed just how “cliquey” some of the moms were. And guess what? Regardless of whether or not it was intentional, each tribe WILL have their queen.
“I can’t believe Stephanie just backed out of the fundraiser. Now we’re left hanging!” This announcement strings on other conversations about Stephanie and what she has or hasn’t done in the past until it eventually turns into a bitch fest about Stephanie and everyone forgets about what started it all in the first place.
Some moms might feel pity and go to Stephanie, trying to understand her a little better, while others might alienate her or just want to be her friend so they can talk about her some more. In any case, Stephanie eventually feels the vibe whether it’s through an obnoxious email sent to her, the whispers, or the sudden change in attitude some of the moms have.
Is there really such a thing as a “cliquey” mom?
The difference between the mom world and the cliques in high school is that you really can’t avoid seeing your frenemies in school every day. For moms, you may be able to go a few days or more without having to bump into them every day. High school tribes can casually move on away from you if a situation ever happened, while moms tend to be more confrontational. It’s the sudden fearless attitude we gain when we become moms. Suddenly, we have no room to tolerate outside forces, because our kids have a way of trying and testing every emotion we ever had. There is no longer room for timid behavior.
Now, don’t get me wrong as it doesn’t happen all the time and everywhere. However, it does happen and can be much more so than you realize. In fact, it may not even happen just around the moms. When my son was a baby, I used to take him to the local park almost every day. During the day, the park swarmed with small children and their nannies. The nannies always had their own section of the park where they had a picnic every day. Blankets were set on the ground and the kids would wander off and play.
I remember going to the park every day and everywhere around the park had nannies talking in Spanish so that most of the time I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Occasionally I would notice the up and down eye movements, which made me feel like perhaps I may be wearing see-through clothes that I didn’t know about. Once I actually had someone come up to me and ask me how long I’ve been taking care of little Oli. I have to admit, that was not a good day for her to ask, because I was taken back by her question so I think I may have snapped at her with a smart answer, like “all his life.” She suddenly looked at her friend, which seemed like they had a quick and sudden conversation over that glance.
Why having mom friends can be difficult
Having mom friends can be challenging in many ways. There are so many obstacles that keep moms from investing the time they wish they could have on their new friends. Their kids may not get along, which can make their visits difficult. Their kids may have so many activities that mom is always too exhausted to have her own extracurricular activities.
Let’s face it, despite our role as moms, we’re still human. We need outside interaction. We need someone besides our kids and our husbands to keep our sanity, among other things. If only we could bypass all the obstacles and drama, it could all be so much easier and perhaps a lot more fun. After all, wouldn’t you want that last bit of free time you have to be used for people who are worth spending it on?