When Play Dates Feel Like High School
By Leah Furman, cofounder of Mamaista.com
Ever since you joined that play group, you've got a whole new circle of wonderful mommy friends. You're meeting for play dates, scheduling lunches, even making time to chat on the phone. Come to think of it, if it weren't for baby, you'd feel like you were back in high school — right down to that nagging feeling you get after hanging out with some of your new pals. If something doesn't seem quite right, but you just can't put your finger on what's wrong, you may be dealing with one of these frenemommies:
The Passive Aggressive
This frenemommy seems nice enough at first; but pretty soon, you start noticing that a lot of her compliments come with a bite. She's the one who'll tell you she likes your shirt, then follow it up by asking if you got it at a discount outlet. "There are moms who seem almost glad you aren't getting any sleep because your two-year-old has just entered an 'I want to play at 2 a.m. phase,'" says Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay. "They'll look you straight in the eye and say, 'I wish I had some advice but Austin's just never had a problem sleeping ... We stressed a strict bedtime routine right from the beginning. Kids need structure, you know.' Those kind of comments make me feel stabby."
This mom may mean well, but all she really wants to do is show off her own expertise. She'll offer to take you shopping, volunteer to look over your baby registry, and even tell you all about the different schools in your district. Take her up on her offers if you want, but be ready to wave goodbye to her assistance when you're ready to form your own opinions. "There's this one mom, who signs up for Mommy and Me classes and invites everyone to join," says new mom and frequent playgroup-goer Diana Harfourche. "But if you don't sign up with the gang, she gets all pissed off, like it's a personal affront. It's very bizarre — not all our kids are even on the same nap schedule!"
Ms. High and Mighty
You need your mommy friends for support, so you share the good, the bad, the psychotic — sometimes it helps to just get it all out there. Unless, of course, you're sharing with this frenemommy. She'll certainly feel sorry for you, but if you're hoping for some good, old-fashioned misery-loves-company reciprocity, look elsewhere. She will never admit to any weakness — leaving you to feel, well, like kind of a loser for not having it all together. "When I had my first daughter, a friend of mine had had her first daughter two weeks before me," says Wilder-Taylor. "No matter how bad I told her I was doing and feeling, she insisted that everything was 'wonderful,' which practically made me suicidal. Much later, I learned her baby had colic, and she'd felt like the worst mom on the planet, so she maintained that everything was great. Now, I assume that anyone who pretends everything is perfect is hiding her own personal chaos."
Single White Frenemommy
You're not one to walk around thinking people are jealous of you, but this type of frenemommy really does seem to be obsessed with you. She asks where you bought your baby's coat, and then buys the same one. You tell her about the cool new school you found, and — what do you know? — she suddenly has their admissions office on speed dial. You update your Facebook profile with pics of your little one, and spot her uploading her own photos not 10 minutes later. Can somebody say competitive?
The Mean Mom
This frenemommy is the kind that doesn't laugh with you so much as at you. And worst of all, you're getting the sneaking feeling that she actually likes it when things don't go your way. According to Wilder-Taylor, “Life is way too short to spend one minute with a mean mommy. If you find yourself confronted with someone who seems anything less than warm and friendly, do what I do: Tell them that you have the number for an amazing Botox place. Say ‘I haven't needed it yet, but I‘m sure you'll love it.'”
Sometimes mommy friends are quite friendly ... but sometimes they are anything but.Getty Images