Nothing is quite as bittersweetly isolating as being pregnant or being a new mom. When I was pregnant, most of my friends stopped talking to me. They just up and left, saying that I was not going to be the same person now that a baby was involved. Some just ghosted.
Though I did not have the same pregnancy path as most others, I know that feeling of watching friends distance themselves from you after this particular milestone. I’ve also heard plenty of new moms tell me how shocked to find that the people who promised to be there bailed when they finally gave birth.
Yes, there’s something about having a “Mom Card” that alienates you from childless people in many situations. That’s why one of the first things pregnant women tend to do is seek out a mom friend who can help guide you through the trials and tribulations of motherhood, or at least have a nap to spare for your little one.
Personally, I believe that a large problem with modern motherhood is the issue of what happens with mom friends and the pressure women feel to have the “right” ones. Simply put, a lot of mom friends are toxic to you and your kids.
I’m a believer that most “Mommy Culture” is toxic, period. Sadly, I’ve seen the outcome of all of this. Have you ever felt like you might be dealing with the wrong crowd of moms? These signs suggest that it’s time to bail on your mom friends and your toxic friendships… for your own family’s sake.
1. They regularly shame you for your parenting practices, even though you don’t feel like you’re doing anything wrong.
As long as your children are well-fed, happy, and growing up healthy, you’re doing right by your kids. Some mom friends don’t feel that way, and will actually use their critique of your parenting skills as a way to feel morally superior to you.
If you’re getting criticized over breastfeeding choices, your inability to afford organic food, or your refusal to try a new parenting trend, you need to take a look at your mom friends. Chances are, they’re doing that to make you feel bad.
2. You often find yourself excluded from mom activities.
Does it feel like you have to beg and plead for attention? If so, your mom friends might not actually be friends. Rather, they might be trying to shake you off. It’s best to let the friendship die. Speaking from personal experience, people who don’t want to be your friend shouldn’t be in your life.
3. They’ve hit on your spouse.
Yes, this happens in mommy circles. No, you shouldn’t tolerate it. Any questions?
4. The mom friends in question somehow make you feel worse about yourself every time you see them.
Ever have friends who somehow find ways to dig into your self-esteem, even though you’re usually a confident person? From what I’ve noticed, this is way more common among mom cliques than it should be.
If you notice those casual side eyes, or talks about how their kids “would never do that,” it may be time to find new friends.
5. It’s all about them, never about you.
Some people are just too self-centered to have a legit conversation with anyone who isn’t totally obsessed with them. They will vent and moan all day long. However, when it’s your turn to request some aid, they’ll tell you to stop being selfish.
Sound like someone you know? If so, it’s time to check out of that relationship.
6. They are constantly hitting you up for money, or only hang out with you when they’re selling you MLM products.
Don’t ask me why, but this is ridiculously common in certain parenting communities. I understand that being a mom is tough, but that doesn’t excuse you from acting like a leech.
Every other parent is busting their behinds trying to make good for their kids, too. Needless to say, parents who do nothing but take without giving back probably don’t deserve your company.
7. Hanging out with them feels more like a re-run of Mean Girls than it does real life.
Trust me when I say that Mean Girls has a lot more in common with reality than people let on. There are cliques. There are groups of mom friends who make a point of making it seem like they’re living a “glam life” to others, just so they can feel like they won at life. I need not explain how this superficiality is bad for your mental health, right?
Speaking as someone who’s seen this kind of dynamic in action, it’s a rat race. You will never feel like what you have is enough, and it’s a never-ending competition. Acting that high maintenance isn’t good for anyone involved.
8. Their parenting practices are noticeably toxic to their kids.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s no flawless way to parent. Every kid is different and there’s no perfect way to be a perfect parent. Even Dr. Spock’s advice will come short from time to time.
However, that doesn’t mean you should excuse child abuse. Severely beating a child, verbally abusing them, or otherwise doing seriously harmful things should not be tolerated. If you notice a mom friend acting this way towards their kids, do not stick around. You don’t know what you could expose your child to this way!
9. Your mommy friends constantly talk behind your back.
You know the signs. The constant gabber. The hushed whispers. The exchanged glances. If they are talking about others, they are talking about you too. You don’t need to have gossips sharing your business with the PTA, so tell them it’s done.
10. It’s always drama with them.
Parenting is already dramatic, so why would you add an extra headache to that? As a mother, you don’t have time for that — or their BS.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she’s not writing, she’s drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats. You can follow her @bluntandwitty on Twitter.