If you’re a mom who’s very involved in your neighborhood or with your child’s sports team or school, you’ve likely encountered some mom cliques. The fit moms, the helicopter moms, the class moms and so forth. Navigating them can ultimately make you feel like you’re back in high school.
For one mom, petty treatment by cliquey mothers at her daughter’s new school left her feeling so overwhelmed and stressed, she decided to take to Reddit for advice.
User Claire0422 wrote that when she drops off and picks up her elementary-aged daughter from school, she encounters a group of moms who turn their back to her rather than speak with her.
To make matters worse, at the two kids’ birthday parties she attended with her child, the other moms in attendance sat in groups and completely ignored and snubbed the OP, despite her efforts to be friendly. “Even when I approach some moms they hardly talk to me and some ignore me rudely and talk among themselves… I feel like I’m back to high school.. It’s affecting my self esteem…” she wrote.
Finding a way to deal with the cliques, however, feels especially urgent now because her daughter is celebrating a birthday next month. Her child wants to invite the moms and their kids, but the OP has some reservations about it because the moms “are all so rude.”
Fortunately, Redditors helped assure the mom that the feelings she was experiencing were common, and they offered up some advice.
Reddit user Princessfuckface2you said she often feels imposter syndrome at open houses, parties, dance classes and other events, due to the judgment of other parents. “Like, obviously I’m an adult (I’m 33!), and these are my children that I carried and birthed, but somehow I just immediately feel inadequate compared to the other parents, no matter who they are! Like, I’m a neighbor teen dressed up pretending (and failing) to convince them I’m the parent. I feel messy, unorganized, immature, like a fake pretty much. I think ‘All these people have to know!’ But like, know what!? I’m a good mom and I don’t know what my problem is.”
Other commenters said this was a normal feeling, especially at the start of school, or if the parents are dealing with social anxiety. Many parents also brought up the fact that these other moms might have known each other for ages, so it can be difficult for anyone new to infiltrate their group.
User introvergo28 suggested she just try her best with the other moms—because these situations will become routine. “Just be super nice and attempt conversation, and if it doesn’t work you always have your phone to keep you company. These birthdays will become a regular chore in no time and you shouldn’t sweat them.”
Others recommended she go all out with planning the birthday party, inviting all the moms, and hoping they show some respect as her party guests. They also reminded her that individually, rude moms are often less intimidating and are more willing to chat.
User cookiesforbreakfastt, who has had experience in the inner circle and the outer circle, shared her biggest advice, and it’s quite simple: use common ground to break the ice and ask questions. “People love talking about themselves or, better yet, their kids. Even use something your kiddo has mentioned, like, ‘Hey, I heard that your son is really killing it in math this year, you must be so proud of him,’ or whatever. Even if it isn’t a giant conversation, they’ll love that you took a positive interest.”
They also agreed on this: her daughter is making friends and that’s all that matters. The other mom-friends will come along and she’ll find her place.
Reading fellow Redditors’ take on her situation, the OP replied in the comments saying she felt “more confident and a lot better” about dealing with the rude moms moving forward.