When I was a young girl, my grandmother told me — and showed me by example — to always look for the good in people. What she didn’t mention was how hard it would be to find in some cases. I can’t tell you how many friendships I’ve let my alter ego, Miss Pollyanna Give Everyone a Chance, talk me into — and leave me wondering how to get the hell out of.
Let’s start with the mean girl in fourth grade. What I saw: She bossed around all the other girls and basically ran the playground. What I told myself: Oh, I bet she’s nice once you get to know her. What happened: She wasn’t nice at all. She belittled me in front of my other friends. She talked about me behind my back. She snubbed me whenever a better opportunity came along. She told other girls not to be friends with me. Basically, she was a total brat. Honestly, “brat” is not the “b” word that comes to mind here, but I can’t call a fourth grader that, right?
Fast forward to adulthood: The mean girls grew into mean women and became “meanie moms.” If you are a woman with children and say you don’t know a mom like this, I’d say you either live under a rock or are from some other highly evolved planet. I know for a fact you’ve never participated in a play group.
My kids are almost teenagers now, so I’ve had my share of miserable meanie mom moments. Over the years I’ve learned that the best strategy is to listen to your instincts and don’t get sucked in — or at least keep any required contact to a minimum. What you don’t like upon meeting someone will come back to haunt you in the end. Every. Single. Time.
Thanks to Miss Pollyanna, I’ve had to learn this the hard way. It might have been an easier lesson if my little-girl self had taken heed of one of Nana’s other favorite sayings: You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Do you have any “meanie mom” stories? I’d love to hear them.