Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mean Moms

This is the story of a little girl called Lori.

Lori is eight and cute as a button. She is wise and chatty and good. She is full of affection and laughter and light and frankly, I adore her. I want her to be mine. Thankfully, she belongs to Monique, who is a friend of mine and who lets me pretend.

Lori, daughter of my heart, has a little friend named Muriel. They've been friends for several years now - BFFs, actually. Best friends forever.

At the end of the school year in June, Muriel's mum promised the girls that they'd see lots of each other. With Monique's happy blessing, they made verbal plans for a cottage visit, a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and unlimited play dates.

Summer came....summer went. Toward the end of August, Muriel's mum called to ask if Lori could visit. Alas, Monique's family had already made plans but could they meet another day? Sure, was the reply. I'll call you.

But no call came and then summer was over and school started. The girls met in the playground, delighted to see each other, bravely muddling through their disappointment at not sharing a classroom. They'd play at recess and ask their mothers about after school and the weekend.

And then, inexplicably, Muriel began to avoid Lori in the schoolyard. Started snubbing the girl who'd been her BFF since Senior Kindergarten. Lori carried her baffled hurt home to Monique, who tried to soothe and comfort with all the words parents say when their child's heart breaks:

"Are there other little girls for you to play with, Lori? Something must be going on with her, sweetheart. Be patient. Try not to let it bother you. I'm sure she'll come around."

But one morning, Muriel marched up to Lori in the playground: "My mum says I'm not allowed to be your best friend any more. I'm supposed to find new friends."

That was weeks ago and Lori (and Monique) have been riding an emotional roller coaster ever since. Thankfully, Lori is, by nature, a positive person. While devastated by the loss of her friend, she eventually moved on and seemed to be faring well.

And then this:

"Mummy, Muriel's mummy says you're fat. And she says that I'm a weirdo and I don't pay attention and I'm not smart."

Monique, stunned, drew her daughter onto the couch. "Let's start at the beginning, Lori. What's going on?"

Apparently, the girls had resumed their friendship, but in secret. They were BFFs again, but only some of the time, but Muriel was afraid her mum would find out and then she'd be in trouble. So, she plays with Lori on the days Muriel feels certain her mum won't drive by the school and see them together in the schoolyard.

But on Monday, the pressure got to be too much and Muriel, torn between love for her friend and loyalty to her mother, blurted out some of the things she'd been told, crying the entire time.

On Monday night, settled into her mother's arms, Lori cried too, missing her friend and feeling sorry for her.

"Mummy, I'm smart, right? Do you think I'm a weirdo? And what does she mean, "I don't pay attention?"

Monique had only this for her brilliant, amazing daughter:

"Lori, Muriel's repeating her mummy's words. And she listens to them because it's her mummy. But they are still bullying words. They are not true. They are not true. They are bullying words."

Later, over the phone, I added my own rage and indignation to hers: "What the EFF was she thinking, saying those things out LOUD, to her child? Seriously. Who SAYS that?"

Monique sighed, exhausted from the retelling and the ache in her heart. "I don't know, Liz. What am I supposed to do with this? Should I do anything with this? I mean, really, it's mean and horrible but IS it bullying? How should I handle this?"

Neither one of us have a clue.

Do you, dear friends? Please share in the comments!


  1. This is absolutely appalling. What kind of mother would do that to her little girl?????? What kind of parent would make their child choose between them and their BFF???? Maybe mom is jealous of the friendship. For a child to hear anyone say anything negative about their parent is crazy hurtful. It seems speaking with the mean mom about her behaviour is out of the question as you don't want her to take it out on Myka. I have to wonder why Myka would be so afraid of her mother. At this point all Monique can do is let Lynn know that this mother's attitude is wrong and inappropriate and that Myka obviously doesn't have the same opinion. It is an adult at that. I'm astounded and am just rambling at this point LOL This is a tough one. A one sided secret friendship isn't going to be good for the girls as one will eventually get hurt. It just seems like such a toxic situation for two little 8 year olds to be put in by an adult.

  2. Well, here's how I would handle it. I would call the mother. I would tell her, "My daughter came home crying. She said that your daughter wanted to continue a relationship with her, however she was afraid you would be upset about that, because apparently you call my child fat. And you say that she's a weirdo and doesn't pay attention and isn't smart. So I've decided to make this whole situation easier for both girls by letting my daughter know that she's not allowed to be friends with YOUR daughter because YOU, her mother, the person who is supposed to be a mature and responsible adult in all situations regarding children, are a bully - and we have a zero tolerance policy for bullies, whether they be kids or their parents. In the future you may want to think twice before you want to go talking about another child - or anyone - and remember that you reap what you sow. And I hope you get help for whatever is eating you up inside that makes you feel the need to separate children based on your own inadequacies you've been feeling since childhood because someone obviously judged YOU at one point, otherwise you would never think to say such horrible things. Hope you get some help and that your child doesn't turn out to be like you". *click* Yes, it's rough what I said... but I'm pissed - and she would be lucky I didn't drop a few F-bombs in there for good measure. Bitch.

  3. PS - My husbands brother and his wife used to talk about me and my husband all the time in a very negative way. Know how we found out? Because every now and again their 10 year old daughter - who had her own inadequacies due to her older brother being favored over her - would lash out at us with the most adult comments you've ever heard come from a 10 year olds mouth. She even verbally attacked me in front of one of her friends when no one else was around; trashing my hair color (which hasn't changed at all in the entire time I've known them, which is over a decade), my wardrobe (because I wore a lot of black - can you imagine?)... at TEN. This is why when I talk about her parents, I never do it in front of my girls ;)

  4. Sigh. Girl friendships are hard enough to navigate with the added drama from the mothers.
    If I were Muriel's mom, I'd feel very blessed that my daughter had such a solid friend because as they get older, it gets harder for them!
    I've found with myself as a child and as an adult, as well as my now 11 year old daughter, the best approach is to be straightforward, honest and transparent.
    I would call the mother and ask her what was said and what she feels the problem might be. In these types of situations it's best not to attack or point fingers (despite the mama bear instinct)
    And I think ultimately, the thing to remember is the girls. If Muriel's mom can't get past her bullying and whatever issues she's dealing with, to allow her daughter to have a positive relationship, then ultimately ties should be cut. But I'm willing to bet there was a misunderstanding, or some hurt feelings somewhere along the line for that mom, that brought all this on. Clearly, she has some insecurities.
    It sounds like Lori's mom is doing a fantastic job staying grounded and providing love and support.
    Tough one. And...these friend things only get tougher. HUGS to all.

  5. I agree with Elen, if I was the mother in question I would call the other child's mother, lay out the situation and simply ask: what's up? If there is a misunderstanding, we get the kids together and hash it out. If the other mother is this ignorant, unleash all manner of verbal hell. Let her know she's a bully and not fit to wipe my child's chin. Advise her that her CHILD is welcome at my home, but she can stay on the curb and hang up. Facts first, then if warranted, hell on wheels.

  6. Monique said just the right things to her daughter.Confronting the other mother could escalate things. Tough call.