We all know the moms who always want to rain on your parade and always need you to bring sunshine to brighten their day. They suck the energy out of the room and, frankly, out of you, but since they're your friends you stick it out. But if keeping toxic mom friendships is having a negative impact on your life, it may be time to reconsider how you deal with them.
What Exactly Is a Toxic Mom Friendship?
A friendship has to be balanced. Mom friends support each other, listen to each other, rejoice in each other's triumphs (and those of their children), and share each other's sorrows. Friends don't try to one-up each other, they don't try to hog all the attention for themselves, they don't begrudge you the good things that happen, and they aren't supposed to judge you.
Mom Christianne D. says when she had a baby most of her friends were genuinely excited and happy for her. One friend, however, is "always poking and making little comments" about both Christianne and the baby. Christianne elaborates about this toxic mom friend, "She is not the type of person who will be happy for your accomplishments and successes; she will always bring you down."
Signs You Have a Toxic Mom Friend
If you're asking yourself that question, you probably have a toxic friend. Other questions to ask yourself are:
- Do you feel used by her? I used to have a friend whose kids were about the same age as mine. Eventually I realized she only called me when she needed someone to take care of her kids or wanted to complain about them. I could never get in a word edgewise, she didn't reciprocate with childcare, and didn't care what was going on with my life.
- Does she try to spread her misery? Mom Richele says she was understanding when her friend was going through a divorce, but when it was clear she was trying to make everyone else miserable and stir up trouble, it was time to "kick her to the curb."
- Is everything a competition with her? These friends are the ones who, as a mom called Mil puts it, "minimize your kids compared to theirs or compare everything from toys to underwear." No matter what your child does, her child has done it better, earlier, or — if it's a negative thing — not at all.
- Is she judgmental and/or insincere? Christianne's toxic friend says she's trying to be funny when she makes snarky comments, but they have an edge that makes it clear what she really means. And, after a decade of friendship, Jen T.'s friend became harshly judgmental once Jen had kids. So judgmental, in fact, that Jen is afraid of being stabbed in the back if she ends the friendship.
How to Deal With a Toxic Mom Friend
So, what do you do with these friends, love them or leave them? Barbara M. says you don't have to ditch them. She points out that everyone has a toxic friend somewhere in their lives.
She says she handles it by remembering to "inwardly acknowledge" that the time she spends with them won't be about her, not providing any information about her kids that can be one-upped, and reaching out to her true friends when she needs support.
Barbara's take on toxic mom friends isn't a common one, however. Most moms say it's not worth the drama to keep being friends with someone so negative. In fact, mom Alycia D. thinks experiencing and dealing with this is part of moving into the mom stage of your life.
I love her take on it and her thoughts on making a better life for yourself and your family. She says, "Creating a better environment starts with you, the choices you make, and the people you decide to have or keep in your life."