You have some of the best mom friends, am I right? You love to share all of your horror stories with them. Whether it be about how babies poop in bathtubs or just being a class biter at school – you can always depend on these ladies for the support. They even give good advice when raising kids is tough sometimes because they’ve been there before too (though not quite as bad).
The journey to parenthood can be an emotional one, but it’s important not to get tripped up by anxiety or judgment. Here’s how you identify your toxic mom friends that suck the joy right out of mommyhood -and advice on handling them.
1. The Taker
The signs: You agree to co-chair the PTA book drive, but you’re taking all the responsibilities while she ignores every email. It’s your pleasure to bring her daughter home from school, but suddenly you’re doing it every day. And you don’t mind if your nanny watches her three-year-old son this afternoon once again for free.
How to deal: First of all, you need to recognize that the taker is a manipulator who’s taking advantage of your good nature. She might be practicing what psychologists call “covert aggressive” behavior–this means there isn’t anything passive about it at all; she actively tries to manipulate your desire for friendship by using selfish motives in order to serve her needs. She has been getting more than she’s putting, without reciprocating or even acknowledging your sacrifice. Boundaries are necessary to maintain healthy friendships. It’s important that you draw clear boundaries with your friend, so they know the difference between what is okay and not so much in order for both parties involved to have positive experiences together.
2. The Know-It-All
The signs: Her kids adore skiing. They started lessons when they were three-year-old. They know how to speak two languages. They’re so genius. She’s more than happy to help with your son’s algebra struggles by recommending her tutor.
How to deal: This is a concerning friendship because you feel awful because it makes you feel that you’re flailing. Now, think about what makes you so proud as a parent. You might not have exposed your child to new languages yet but there’s no doubt that reading with them every night is a big part of who they are and how happy it has made both of y’all. Then, try to see if their intentions are pure. psychologist Andrea Bonior has said of this friend type, “If you mention something in your life you’re concerned about, she wants to tell her story and how she handled it. It’s a clumsy way to empathize, but her heart is in the right place.” If, on the other hand, she’s offering unsolicited advice as a way to elevate herself and put you down, simply cut off the conversation with “You may be right…” And stop telling your friends all your problems in life.
3. The Complainer
The signs: “This teacher has no control over the unruly kids.” “Can’t they just offer hot lunch every day?” “That mom is such a babbling fool at book club, and she doesn’t even read the books.”
How to deal: Psychologist Guy Winch said: Chronic complainers “seek sympathy and emotional validation.” There are a few quick ways to avoid getting sucked into the negativity of your complainer. One easy way is by validation. Complainers are people who want to be heard. They don’t care about the solution itself, they just need an outlet for all their complaints.
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