One of the things I was most excited for when I got pregnant was making new mommy friends. I had all these visions of playdates, shared family vacations, and wonderful new women with whom I'd embark on the journey of motherhood and be forever friends thereafter.
And I found some, but I also found some really crappy ones too.
Some moms just don't play nice, and new mothers are especially vulnerable to their bring-you-down behaviors. The hormones, the loneliness, and the frustration of those first few months make us want to cling to any smiling face who seems to understand, but it's important to look behind the smile.
I caught up with Dr. Andrea Bonior, a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and author of the upcoming book The Friendship Fix: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Losing, and Keeping Up With Your Friends. She identified five friends no new mommy needs.
See if you recognize any of them in your life:
1. Ms. Hot and Cold
We all have our frazzled days, when we just can't turn on the chipper smile no matter how hard we try, or we just don't feel like chatting, even with our nicest neighbor. But the Hot/Cold Mom takes this to the extreme. She'll be sweet as pie at the park one minute, saying how much she loves your stroller, only to be glaring at your child and excluding you when another mom shows up a half hour later. You're BFFs on Tuesday, bonding over your babies' hatred of their car seat and agreeing to help her out with a neighborhood potluck, but when you bump into her on Thursday, she barely gives you a second glance. Calculating, self-centered, and unpredictable, she's far more trouble than she's worth.
2. The Flake-to-the Fullest
Part of the Mom Bill of Rights is the ability to be forgiven for dropping the occasional ball once in a while; after all, the constant multi-tasking makes it all but inevitable. But the Flake-to-the-Fullest is consistently unreliable. In fact, you can count on her letting you down and making blithe, never-to-be-fulfilled promises so often that you can't understand how she keeps a straight face when she makes them. For her, it's not about being busy or stretched too thin: it's about never meaning what she says. Life is too short for you to give unending second chances.
3. The Sanctimommy
"You know why you shouldn't use that kind of diaper, right?" "I can't believe you let her sleep that way!" Ah -- the attack of the Sanctimommy. Her way is the only right way, and she's not about to let you believe otherwise. She gives her unsolicited and self-righteous opinion on everything -- and we mean everything -- from burping to co-sleeping to whether or not you should eat that chocolate (you're nursing!). Hey, advice is what we look for from others in the same frazzled, wobbly new-parent boat -- it's often a lifeline that solidifies new friendships. But when that advice is domineering, condescending, and constantly makes it seem like we're the baby ourselves? We'll pass, thank you.
4. The Passive-Aggressor
Sometimes, the judgment is a little more subtle, but no less annoying. Often overly competitive and insecure, the Passive-Aggressor wants to turn everything into a race for Best Mommy, but tries desperately to hide her motives. The questions she asks feel intrusive, not supportive, and she seems to bring up other moms in ways that undercut them. Nothing is what it seems with her; a simple "So, are you going back to work?" feels loaded with land mines. Let's face it: you don't need the stress. The next time she says, "I don't know how you manage with so little space" or "I could never deal with a husband like that," do yourself a favor and withdraw from the competition.
5. The Drainer
The beauty of friendships in rocky times (and yes, the fact that you haven't slept or brushed your teeth since Tuesday qualifies!) is that you can lean on each other for support. But the Drainer takes up way more than her fair share, and she risks bringing you down -- way down. She rarely asks you how you are, and when she does, she gives you about a nanosecond before launching into her latest hardship. She's already borrowed half the baby gear you own, and you're starting to feel like you should be clocking in and out, and getting a paycheck, for each of her frantic phone calls. Save your tender loving care for your baby -- and the people in your life who are capable of returning the favor.
Which of these bad mommy friends have you encountered?
Image via xinem/Flickr