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hockeymom
08-14-2010, 06:36 PM
Do any of you have friends who make you feel bad for staying home with your kids? The mom of my son's best friend clearly suffers from working mama guilt, and has decided to take it out on me every time we see each other. We get along well otherwise, but the snide comments are really getting to me. I've never once so much as made mention to the fact that she works (outside the home) in relation to child rearing, or to her son's daycare situation, or any of the things that obviously make her feel guilty, so why does she feel the need to make me feel guilty for the choices I've made? It's gotten so bad I don't want to talk about anything that we do or any of the hobbies that I have because they are bound to solicit a defensive comment.

I only know a couple of people here and I like this woman well enough otherwise, but I don't know how to deal with her issues. How do you handle people who don't respect your choices?

Firefly_Mom
08-14-2010, 07:28 PM
{{{HUGS}}} I'm sorry that you're having to bear the brunt of this mom's issues. I would definitely say something to her, but since she is the mom of your son's best friend, and you like her well enough otherwise, I would definitely do it in a tactful way. Maybe try something like: "I'm sure you're not meaning to hurt my feelings, but I don't judge the choices you make in raising your son, and I'd appreciate it if you don't judge the choices I make in raising mine." You may come up with something better - tact isn't my strong suit. :)

InstinctiveMom
08-14-2010, 07:33 PM
((HockeyMom)) That stinks.
I think that most often in situations like that, it's a reflection of her own doubts and unhappiness about her own choices. Since she didn't or couldn't have what she wanted and you do, she's being all passive aggressive about it. I'd say something too, but depending on your relationship, it might not weather the strain. On the other hand, if you're already distancing yourself from her, you guys might not have much of a relationship for much longer, which might be the way to go... It's a tough situation. I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with it.
~h

StartingOver
08-14-2010, 07:36 PM
What Firefly Mom said.

No matter what your choices there will always be someone who doesn't agree with them. Most of the people I have met like this, just wish that they had a choice and didn't need to work, I have found.

HUGS !!!!

Melyssa
08-14-2010, 07:48 PM
I find new friends that do. Sounds simple and harsh but the main part of friendship is mutual respect so if that isn't there to begin with there isn't much point to continue.

farrarwilliams
08-14-2010, 08:50 PM
Nearly everyone in my social circle now is drawn from homeschooling. I have a couple local friends from before homeschooling that I keep up with and I have friends from way back - high school mostly and a few from college. But everyone else I associate with now is totally in tune with all the sort of parenting decisions I've made. It's not that they're the same as me or have made the exact same choices, but there's no eye batting at extended breastfeeding, cosleeping, homeschooling, AP'ing, or mom or dad not working... Anyway, I find it increasingly uncomfortable to be around the friends I have who aren't drawn from that world, especially now that they've all had kids- most of whom are younger than mine.

It's not everyone, but the other day I got to see a friend I rarely get to see because until just this month she lived on the opposite coast. She just had a baby - he's only 2 months old. There was SO much defensiveness when she talked about putting him in daycare starting this week despite the fact that I said zero on the subject. There was also all this defensiveness from her about breastfeeding (which is not working for her and I suspect she'll give up pumping soon). After she talked about it saying how she didn't like the situation, I tried to say, hey, if you want to change that, you could find a really good LC... and I felt like she was going to jump down my throat, so I shut up. Then, she didn't say anything specific, but I felt like there was an air of condescension toward me and my life. *SIGH*

Anyway, I don't quite know how to combat it... but I sympathize. I always want to poopoo all the Mommy Wars crap the media throws out there. But then when I'm in it, it really does feel like parenting decisions are this big hot button thing that get everyone riled up.

wild_destiny
08-14-2010, 09:47 PM
Hockeymom, sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this. That really sucks, huh! Not an easy question to answer, and I suppose each person who deals with this has to decide what is most important to him/her. But for the most part, I really like what Firefly mom and Jana said. (On the other hand, if her son is your son's primary friend, and these are people that you plan to spend any amount of time with for social activities, then that can make your situation seem more precarious, if you are someone who does not like conflict or tension.) A lot of help, here, aren't I?! :) Good luck to you and your son, however you proceed! Smiles!!! :)

laundrycrisis
08-15-2010, 12:35 AM
I wonder if she is defensive and snide because she is making assumptions that you, as an at-home, homeschooling mom, probably look at her choices in a critical way....even though you haven't said anything critical, she might be generating things in her own head, possibly coming from her own mixed feelings about working. When I was working, I felt pretty uncomfortable around some SAHMs and usually assumed that I was seen as a less committed mother etc. I felt frustrated and misunderstood. None of this would excuse her being rude and disrespectful to you.....but I wonder if her comments would stop if she knew without a doubt that you don't look on her critically at all.

SunshineKris
08-15-2010, 02:08 AM
I do't really have any advice. I am lucky to be part of a community with many SAHMs. Many military spouses don't work here (and not because they don't want to either). But when I lived in a non-military community I knew a good mix of SAHMs and Working Moms. I've been lucky that I haven't had to work but we've made sacrifices on many things to make our budget. And sometimes I feel like I'd like to work and use my brain in other ways. And when DH retires from the Air Force, I likely will. But I get both sides of it.

I would like to thank the media for perpetuating the Mommy Wars. I am so glad moms get to feel awkward and defensive about the choices they made, either because they wanted to or because they had to. (That was pure sarcasm...)

Kylie
08-15-2010, 05:33 AM
I am very sorry for this happenign to you, it is such a hard situation. You've already been given some good advice.

I have admit that my non homeschooling friendships have faded over the past few years and I think it just comes down to not having enough in common to keep the friendship alive. When you parent from a totally different perspective it's hard to talk about alot of things.

I do think you need to speak up, but prepared for that to be the beginning of the end.

I always remind myself of this quote/poem:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They may seem like a godsend and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and
force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real.
But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must
build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

TODAY

THANK THE PERSON WHO IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER HAVE BEEN PART OF YOUR LIFE

Even if a small way you can make them feel
That you are indeed thankful for their
Presence as well as the beautiful moments that they have given -

No matter if they are your reason, season, or your lifetime. :)

hockeymom
08-15-2010, 06:09 AM
Thanks everyone for the kind words and great advice. I am not good with conflict at all, so it will be hard for me to stand up and talk to her, but I think I need to. From her own comments it is clear she wishes she would make the same choice (she does have a choice, her husband makes good enough money but she enjoys her work), but I hadn't considered that she might be making up things in her head about ME judging HER. I know my voice will shake and I'll probably cry, but I'll have to address it at some point. I'm sure she has no idea how much her comments hurt my feelings, and I'd hate to think that she feels bad on account of something she worries I might think about her choices.

All your responses mean so much to me. Thanks again for your support! :)

wild_destiny
08-15-2010, 11:02 AM
That is beautiful, Kylie! :)

Shoe
08-15-2010, 11:35 AM
I'm a bit late jumping into this one, and really don't have any good advice to give beyond what has already been said. But I just wanted to add my support and virtual hugs. I hope it all works out for you.

And Kylie, that is an interesting thought, and so true.

hockeymom
08-15-2010, 11:43 AM
Thanks Shoe! These parenting "wars" are so dumb and yet so hurtful.

And Kylie, I meant to post about your beautiful poem. I hope you don't mind if I print it out! :)

Busygoddess
08-15-2010, 11:59 AM
I wish I had some great words of wisdom for you, but I don't. I agree that you'll have to talk to her about it or it won't change. To be honest, I've never understood the debate of working moms vs sahms. I was a single working mom for years, a sahm for a few months before becoming a homeschooling sahm, and a few years ago started my own business so I'm a homeschooling wahm. My dedication to my family & home have never been depedant on if my days were spent at work or at home. So, I don't get people's attitudes about working moms or sahms. I think people in general are rather judgemental & see things in very sharp contrast of black & white. Things are either right or wrong, there's no grey area. We always want to think that we're right, and in a black & white world that makes those who do things differently wrong. This is the problem with being a social species, we form groups & cliques. We want to be around those who are most like us, because they will be less critcal of us. Judgemental people assume that others are just as judgemental as they are. They assume that because they judge you, you must be judging them, too. Even some who aren't that judgemental believe everyone is judging them. I think that's generally from being judged so often. Once enough people have judged you, it's hard to believe that there is someone who won't judge you. Sorry, I'm rambling now. I can't offer words of wisdom, but I can offer a virtual hug & hopefully the knowledge that we're here for you will be of some help.

wild_destiny
08-15-2010, 06:01 PM
Hockeymom, I am not good at conflict either, so I can empathize with how you feel. And you are completely right: These parenting wars are so dumb and hurtful. Brandi, I also did not realize there were any ill feelings between sahm's and working moms. Your comments about people judging each other are all too true. At least, there is no actual physical damage going on in these types of cases. I recall a picture on the cover of Newsweek some years ago, when the tensions (in Ireland ?) were escalating between the Catholics and Protestants (?). This picture showed parents literally stoning children outside of schools that were of the opposite religion. The students were trying to get into the school and angry extremist parents from the other school would stand outside and hurl large rocks to hit the children. Several children had head injuries that were bleeding. It was one of the most shocking photos I have seen. These were supposed to be normal people, yet under the "my way only is right" dogma for each side, all adults involved felt morally justified in intentionally inflicting physical damage to children who were not on their "approved" path of righteousness. (I realize this probably does not really go with this post, but it is kind of a reminder of how bad things can get when people let their tolerance lapse.)

hockeymom
08-15-2010, 06:20 PM
Brandi: My dh is always trying to knock that reality into my head! ;) I have such a hard time with other people not being able to see the world in shades of grey; I *think* I'm pretty good at mentally putting myself in other people's shoes, so it's very hard for me to understand why some people can't see different viewpoints than their own. That goes right along with what you are talking about too, Deanna, although for sure the terror in Ireland is a lot more extreme!

I didn't realize the "mommy wars" were a real thing either until recently; it all seems very silly to me. Honestly, as long as the choices we make have value in our lives and are made with intention, then any resulting sacrifices are worth it, whether it be living off one income, putting your children in day care, working a split shift, or whatever. I know I'm in no position to judge anyone else for sure, but it's time for a truce! :)

Busygoddess
08-15-2010, 08:58 PM
Hockeymom, I am not good at conflict either, so I can empathize with how you feel. And you are completely right: These parenting wars are so dumb and hurtful. Brandi, I also did not realize there were any ill feelings between sahm's and working moms. Your comments about people judging each other are all too true. At least, there is no actual physical damage going on in these types of cases. I recall a picture on the cover of Newsweek some years ago, when the tensions (in Ireland ?) were escalating between the Catholics and Protestants (?). This picture showed parents literally stoning children outside of schools that were of the opposite religion. The students were trying to get into the school and angry extremist parents from the other school would stand outside and hurl large rocks to hit the children. Several children had head injuries that were bleeding. It was one of the most shocking photos I have seen. These were supposed to be normal people, yet under the "my way only is right" dogma for each side, all adults involved felt morally justified in intentionally inflicting physical damage to children who were not on their "approved" path of righteousness. (I realize this probably does not really go with this post, but it is kind of a reminder of how bad things can get when people let their tolerance lapse.)

Wow! That is awful! It is more extreme than the "mommy wars," but it's the same kind of mentality at the base of both of them.

Busygoddess
08-15-2010, 09:18 PM
Brandi: My dh is always trying to knock that reality into my head! ;) I have such a hard time with other people not being able to see the world in shades of grey; I *think* I'm pretty good at mentally putting myself in other people's shoes, so it's very hard for me to understand why some people can't see different viewpoints than their own. That goes right along with what you are talking about too, Deanna, although for sure the terror in Ireland is a lot more extreme!

I didn't realize the "mommy wars" were a real thing either until recently; it all seems very silly to me. Honestly, as long as the choices we make have value in our lives and are made with intention, then any resulting sacrifices are worth it, whether it be living off one income, putting your children in day care, working a split shift, or whatever. I know I'm in no position to judge anyone else for sure, but it's time for a truce! :)


I also agree that the "mommy wars" are silly. What matters is that the parents do everything in their power to do the best for their family, not whether they bring home a paycheck or not.
I live in a world of grey (and many other colors); I tend to take a 'middle of road' approach to most things, avoiding the extremes. I do have a few things I can be a bit judgemental about, though I'm working on that (I think that most of us could say there are one or two things we tend to be judgemental about). For the most part, I'm pretty good about trying to see things from other perspectives (at least I think I am). I try to keep in mind that I don't know the full extent of their situation/circumstances or their reasons for the choices they've made. I also try to keep in mind that I'm not perfect (though I do try to be) so I can't really expect anyone else to be, either.

Kylie
08-16-2010, 03:26 AM
I think whilst completely unneccessary most mummy wars are simply grown out of lack of understanding and empathy for the 'other side' and our own insecurities. But the more we talk about 'mummy wars' the more we as mummies will surely come to see how silly and petty they really are. If everyone can come to something with love, tolerance, an open heart and mind and understanding these things just would not happen. I guess we have a long way to go as a society.

Oh gosh that poem is not mine. I have been aware of the shortened version of that for years, but do enjoy the lengthy version from time to time. If you google it you will find it around. :)

JEJordan9
08-16-2010, 08:05 PM
That is tough! I am sorry you're going through this. You got a lot of good advice! I hope everything works out in the end and you guys can continue being friends.

hockeymom
08-17-2010, 05:25 AM
Thanks. I'll be seeing her less now because some sports that our kids take together are over for the season, but when it does come up again I'll take a really neutral attitude instead of approaching it as a "you said X and it made me feel Y" way. It will be a good exercise in me standing up for myself, something I'm not very good at! :)