I stood there in shock taking in what she just said. Did I hear her correctly? Had she just bad-mouthed my child to someone else? Where does she get off talking about my son like that to other people? My inner mamma bear was about to come out in full force.
But, let me start at the beginning …
Recently we were invited to a friend’s house for a party. There were people there I knew and people I didn’t. One mom, in particular, looked familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite place her. Eventually, we began to talk, and I soon figured out why she looked familiar. As she and I were talking, my friend who was hosting the party came over to inform me that one of the guests had brought a cheese ball with nuts on it. She wanted to make sure I was aware due to my son’s food allergies. The other mom looked at me and said, “Oh, your son has a food allergy?”
What came next is what led to the moment above.
She then said, in a very gossipy tone and with a hint of laughter in her voice,
“Well, you should hear about this kid who was in my daughter’s class last year. He was allergic to everything! What a nightmare! Ugh. You wouldn’t believe it!”
As soon as she said her daughter’s name, I immediately realized who she was. She was THAT mom. That mom who had blatantly made rude comments to me last summer about my son’s food allergies.
She was the mom who told me her daughter constantly asked her to have play dates with my son but that she always refused because she “didn’t want to deal with his food allergy at their house.”
And, yes, that’s an exact quote.
She said those words to me the first time we met and she was telling me how much her daughter liked my son and wanted to play with him. She also went on to make many more uneducated and rude comments about my son and his food allergies.
It all clicked in that one moment. As I said above, my mamma bear was ready to come out and rip her a new one.
I had a few precious seconds in which to decide how I was going to handle the situation. I decided to be the bigger person (as difficult as it was) and just looked her straight in the eye and said, “That’s my son you’re talking about. He was the one in her class last year.”
At that moment I saw the look of embarrassment in her eyes. She tried to casually laugh it off, but I could tell what I said had made an impact. I then politely excused myself from the conversation, walked away, and avoided her the rest of the night.
I know this won’t be the only time I encounter a situation like this. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
It’s so easy to open our mouths and gossip. So very easy. But, simply put, it all comes back to the Golden Rule, doesn’t it?
Treat others as you would want to be treated.
As moms, we want to protect our children at all costs. We would give our lives for them. If someone hurts our children in any way, whether directly or indirectly, we will stop at nothing to rectify the situation. So why then would a fellow mom bad-mouth another mom’s child? You know how it feels when your child is mistreated, so why mistreat someone else’s child?
I know we all have those moments where we think something negative about someone else’s child. Who amongst us hasn’t seen a kid at the playground and thought, “That kid is out of control. Where is his mother or father?”
Or maybe there’s a child in your child’s class at school who you’ve thought of as mean or a brat. It happens. I get it. But, we don’t have to share those thoughts with others. Instead of gossiping, let’s keep our thoughts to ourselves. Let’s create a culture of love instead of gossip and hurtful words.
The truth is, there will always be people who gossip; people who make negative comments about you and your children. But what kind of example do you want to set for your children? If they hear you talking about someone else or their children in a negative way, they are likely to do it also. Is that what we want? To perpetuate a culture filled with gossip?
So, fellow mom, let’s help each other out. Please don’t bad-mouth my child and I won’t bad-mouth yours.