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Advice on how to handle a school mum

(51 Posts)
Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 08:11:43

I would welcome some advice please or a kick up the bum if I am being over sensitive. grin

There is a school mum who does not appear to like my Dd for some reason. I have gathered this impression over the last year. She makes jokey negative comments to me about her. She also praises the other kids in a totally over the top way while ignoring my dd. 2 recent examples this week to illustrate what I mean.

We were both watching a sports team of 7 which included my dd and not hers. She kept up a conversation of how fabulous each if the team members are and how the deserve to be in the team. eg, fab shot Anna, she is an excellent player, really deserves to be in the team. Amazing defending Evie, Jess you are fantastic etc... The only player that did not get a mention was my Dd (who did play well and that is according to other parents)

A few of the girls, including my dd, are auditioning for a part in the school play. She bought the subject up whilst talking in a group of mums including me and most of the the other mums with Dd's auditioning by saying 'so I hear dd is auditioning' . She then proceeded to tell me who else is, how good they are and how she would be 'happy for either x,y or z to get the part' . Again my dd was the only child not mentioned.

These are not isolated events but frequent occurrences.

I handled this usually by smiling and agreeing how fab the other girls are. But yesterday I was surprised how upset and rattled I felt about the latest incident and I have a sinking feeling in my stomach about facing this again for a whole year...

Am I being over sensitive ?

Whocansay Sat 07-Sep-13 08:20:19

It sounds as if your dd is one of those kids who's pretty good at lots of things and this woman's jealous to me. Smile sweetly and ignore, it will annoy her.

CailinDana Sat 07-Sep-13 08:20:27

No you're not. She sounds like a nasty cow. She is testing you with indirect bullying to see how much you'll take. She's likely to escalate this.

Two options: ignore, so each time she says something like this just act like you haven't heard a word of it, or call her on it every time.

KristyThomas Sat 07-Sep-13 08:20:57

I think maybe some people will say you are being oversensitive, but I think if I were in your situation, it would get to me too.

No real advice except to say that I think you're handling it the right way by just smiling and nodding, retaining your composure. With the school play thing, it almost sounds like she was trying to bait you into either bragging about your daughter or bitching about the girls - something she could then repeat to other mums to make you sound bad. By handling it the way you did, you prevented her from doing that.

BeckAndCall Sat 07-Sep-13 08:22:44

She sounds energy sapping and I sympathise.

I'd be tempted to shut her up with a comment like 'unfortunately it's not your opinion that counts though!' On things like auditions and team selections.
And as tempting as it is, I'd resist the urge to do down her own DD, rather 'kill her with kindness' to make a point - your DD is doing so well! I was so pleased! Etc etc. ( I know you didn't say you had that urge - that may be just me!)

CailinDana Sat 07-Sep-13 08:23:17

It might help to think what a saddo she is to need to behave this way. Just have pity for her don't pay a blind bit of notice to her games.

toomuchcoffeetoomuchwine Sat 07-Sep-13 08:23:44

Rise above it, she sounds like a tool.

SpottyDottie Sat 07-Sep-13 08:26:01

I don't think so. You now need to step up and tell her directly that she praises all but one child. It just happens to be your child though. She seems to be getting a kick out of it too as she is a repeat offender.

I speak from experience. My DD has had nothing but grief since a certain girl got moved into her class. However, DD isn't a pushover. But this other girls mum spoke to me about their difficulties and she said she had sat her DD and their other friend down and asked them outright what it was about DD they didn't like! I was so shocked, I gave a passive response that 'we all have faults even HER DD' but later, and even now, I am fucking cross with myself for not pulling her up on asking her why the hell she felt the need to ask such a petty question.

Poppanicolino Sat 07-Sep-13 08:27:00

Bloody hell, you're all so patient. I'm not sure I'd be able to stop myself from asking her expert opinion on my DD, whilst surrounded by several other mums.

PersilOrAriel Sat 07-Sep-13 08:30:47

Why was she even watching the sports team if she didn't have a child participating? I can think of better things to do with my time than watch other people's children!

CailinDana Sat 07-Sep-13 08:32:27

Poppa - I'd probably say "God you'd swear my dd didn't exist!" but according to my friends I only get away with saying things like that because I have an Irish accent.

headinhands Sat 07-Sep-13 08:33:45

Just give her a wide berth but back away slowly so she doesn't notice. Foster relationships with other mums/groups.

neontetra Sat 07-Sep-13 08:34:34

She sounds like a pathetic cow. I would be tempted to say Yes, these other girls are great, but also praise your own dd to the hilt, not defensively but in an upbeat, cheerful way. If she actually disagrees, to your face, and tells you that she thinks your dd is bad at x, y or z activity, then she is more transparently overstepping the mark, and you can tell her how rude she is being.
Also avoid her and walk away as much as you can. You may have to bump into her at times but your not married to her, related to her or working with her, so really you have only the loosest of obligations to acknowledge her existance at all. Good luck!

mammadiggingdeep Sat 07-Sep-13 08:41:07

Oh my goodness....she sounds awful. I would try to rise above it if I were you. Not terribly helpful I know but I wouldn't say anything or youll end up looking like the one with the problem. Just remember that she is the one with issues and is obviously insecure with how great your daughter is.....my dd1 starts school next September. From what I hear from my friends this kind of thing is common....not looking forward to school gate politics!!!!
Good luck

PrincessKildare Sat 07-Sep-13 08:42:47

I personally would steer clear of her but i know often this isnt possible. If it isnt a possibility then you should say out right "so that leaves DD. what do you think of her chances?" Dont pull her in a way she knows shes annoyed you, but dont ignore her either or as someone says she will just escalate her bullying. its shit that this happens when all ur doing is collecting ur wee woman. good luck.

Lovingfreedom Sat 07-Sep-13 08:44:03

Why is this woman's opinion so important to you?

Jealous jealous jealous. And nasty. Avoid, life is too short for people like that who are pretty unimportant in the scheme of things anyway.

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 08:48:09

Thank you all, I feel a little better now. It is a tricky one as she comes across all friendly but then after any encounter I feel wrong footed!
I think in an odd way she is jealous whocansay. Her own dd is a lovely girl and fab at dance drama and she child models. She is a competitive mum though.
callindana interesting you use the word bully as I totally agree but didn't want to put that in my opening post.
She will also bitch about other girls and I make a point if never joining in and actually disagree with her.
smile beck and call as I have justifiably praised her dd !

I think if I was ever to bite back, or say aloud what is in my head then I may cause outright antagonism. Eg at the team event I really wanted to say to her 'so my dd is crap is she? Why don't you just sat so'
So, I will try to carry on just smiling sweetly and ignore, never be drawn in to any negative comments but feel justified in thinking her a right bitch and a bully with isshooos...
Thank you for making me feel better smile

InternationalPower Sat 07-Sep-13 08:48:47

I wouldn't pull her on it at all. That just shows her you've noticed and care. Feel sorry for her, it must be very stressful to be that interested in every detail of school life, even when your own DC are not involved.

Ignore and avoid.

Lovingfreedom Sat 07-Sep-13 08:50:25

Ignore her. Tbh I bet you're not the only one who finds her and Little Miss Ballet Pumps a bit of a pain in the arse

Zoe999 Sat 07-Sep-13 08:50:26

I agree with cailindana , it helps to realise that these types are insecure wrecks, but, still, it's so unpleasant to be picked as their whipping boy. And it could escalate. There's a mum at the school gates who tried similar shit with me, I ignored it to be begin with because it's hard to know what else to do. standing in front of me when I was actually mid conversation with somebody, interrupting me, cutting me down to size with such patronising comments in public...... Eventually I said in a calm voice please don't stand in front of me when I'm talking to somebody there was a moment of extreme awkwardness afterwards. She didn't apologise. She looked put out. But.............. she thinks twice about interrupting me, knocking me out of a conversation. She was unbelievable really but I think she has a personality disorder. If you have been to the moon she has a season ticket.

Squitten Sat 07-Sep-13 08:52:18

Meh, who cares about this woman's opinion? Assuming you are not friends outside of school, why do you care what she thinks?

Just keep telling yourself that she is being a bit of a sad case and leave her to it!

Zoe999 Sat 07-Sep-13 08:54:02

ps, and although this woman is not nice to me now, I think she has detected juuuuuust enough 'don't fuck with me bitch' from the fact that I asked her not to stand in front of me when I was talking to somebody. But like I said, and like Cailin Dana said, she is not a 'centred' individual. I think she has an ego the size of king kong and self -esteem of a mouse. So she comes across like a bulldozer.

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 08:54:05

lovingfreedom her opinion is not important to me and I do not seek it out. She volunteers her opinion on everything and everyone.
Neontetra I love your comment 'so where does that leave DD.... I could have used that in the sports example. I really doubt she would outrightjy say anything nasty she would probably not comment/respond.
Oh, and I will be avoiding like the plague...

headinhands Sat 07-Sep-13 08:54:05

These types of people are known as jellyfish. You only start to notice you've been 'stung' about 20 minutes after the encounter when you look done and notice ruddy great red, angry welts down your entire left side.

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 08:55:13

Fantastic analogy headinhands

Dahlen Sat 07-Sep-13 08:56:30

If you want to avoid an obvious confrontation, you need to make it clear that you can see what she's doing, feel sorry for her obvious insecurity and do it in a way that personifies charm and grace. As another poster said - killing her with kindness.

Next time she she says something, agree enthusiastically, and then say something like, "oh but we musn't forget our own DDs must we! Mine deserves to be on the team/in the play because (insert non-OTT compliment here) about your own child, and yours because of (insert whatever reason here). Are you worried (other mum's DD) won't make it? Don't be, she's great." and smile sweetly.

Bumblequeen Sat 07-Sep-13 08:57:07

This is not someone you need to spend time with. Just smile on seeing her and leave it at that.

Crosspollenation Sat 07-Sep-13 08:59:00

In my experience of playground mother politics...it is like actually being back in the playground yourself ! I had a big fall out (well we weren't exactly friends just playing the charade of being so...) with a mum at the school. She kept cancelling playdates with my DD with spurious excuses, after one excuse too many I picked her up on it and suggested that it her DD was ill that Sunday, then I assume she won't be at swimming club the next morning...well that unleashed a torrent of abuse and personal attack, shouting down the phone at me for over 10 minutes (feeling guilty and caught out!) BTW she did go swimming the next morning depsite having a "high temperature !. Sadly at the time I was so shocked couldn't think of the witty thing to say or classy put down and two years later I still see her (she has moved near by & DD's are in same year..). Must say the sight of her still winds me up...gad its annoying as rise above it would be more ultimately more satisfying but I want to throttle her. I think it can be hard with some Mums when you don't want to play the game that everything is tickety boo...they want to pretend it is.
Sonnet, if she is passive aggressive or lack of self awareness, you may get a "what is your problem response?". I didn't grin and bear it in the end...at least I realised what a beeatch she was.

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 09:02:12

I wish there was a like button for some of these posts...
I suspect you are right lovingfreedom grin
Great advice international power and it feels intrinsically right to me to do that.
I am glad it worked out okay Zoe999. My worry about confronting her is that I think it would make her bitch about dd to the other mothers. I don't care what she says about me, just what crap she spouts about dd.
I really don't 'get' why some mothers have to behave like this. They are 12 year old girls and deserve all the encouragement they can get.

Pawprint Sat 07-Sep-13 09:02:58

She sounds odd. Is she jealous, perhaps?

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 09:06:14

She is PA crosspollenation and it is part of the mothers circle out of school she mixes with, all dance, singing, drama competitions and modelling auditions.

Bumblequeen Sat 07-Sep-13 09:06:52

There seems to be a lot of pressure for mothers to make friends in the school playground and be pally with people they are uncomfortable with.

A lot of these 'friendships' appear false. It can also be awkward if a friendship turns sour and you then worry the mother will encourage her dc not to play with your dc. Childish as it seems some women do this.

Our dc will make friends with or without our involvement.

mammadiggingdeep Sat 07-Sep-13 09:09:14

If a grown woman started bitching to me about children I would have to pull her up on it...."er, well yes, she might so xxxxxx or be xxxxxx but then she is only 10 isn't she?? Don't think you should talk about xxxxx like that, she's only a kid".
What a nasty piece of work.....urggghhhh

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 09:09:21

She has no reason to be pawprint. Her dd is very pretty and talented. My dd is a real trier and good and sport. She does appear to be popular with the other dd's and I think this maybe a factor. I also have reason to believe (no evidence) though that she had put the boot in about dd to other mothers.

I just need to avoid..

InternationalPower Sat 07-Sep-13 09:09:41

OMG, she's still this involved when they're 12yos!

I've hardly met any of the mums at my DS1's secondary school blush The boys organise their own social life with very little input from us, apart from taxi driving, if they really can't go on their bikes

Bumblequeen Sat 07-Sep-13 09:11:43

I cannot think of anything worse than trying to fit in with a group of women just because our dc are in the same class/school.

I remember mother and baby class only too well and will probably not attend with dc2.

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 09:11:58

I do pull her up MDD. I would never bitch about a child sad
She is careful to only outwardly bitch on a one to one and I have managed to successfully avoid listening to any bitching for a year! smile

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 09:13:41

I know IP!! This dd is my third... Never had any if this with the other 2, particularly at this age. Unfortunately there are a few 'involved' mothers in this year group?

afromom Sat 07-Sep-13 09:17:03

It definitely sounds like she is jealous of your DD!

I've had the same with a Mum at DS's school who he plays football with, her DS was horrible to my DS along the lines of"I'm better than you" all the time, really denting his confidence. The Mum was always getting in sly digs about my DS too, whenever he got the slightest thing wrong or had a bad match it was "oh, he's not very awake today," or "oh he really should have done x". I was so sick if it and so was DS, but we waited and at the end of last year we got our reward! They picked the school team and DS got in it and this lad did not, DS also was selected to play for a professional Development centre and the lad was not. I know I shouldn't have felt smug, as its horrible for the other boy, but after all the grief he has given DS! After all of this the other lad continued with his nastiness until one day DS said " well how can you possibly be better than me, when you haven't been picked to be on the team?" Right in front of his mum. (she had never discouraged her DS from putting my DS down before, so I didn't discourage this, but we did have words when we got home) he hasn't been like this since. I've also had several "interesting conversations" with the mum, where she keeps bringing up DS and asking how he is getting on! She then gets all shirty when I tell her he is doing great, I'm sure she is expecting me to say "oh awful, he's finding it really hard!"

So my advice would be to ignore like I did, bide you time and something will happen that will take her down a peg or 2 and you will have the upper hand.

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 09:25:22

Well done to your ds afromun!!
The negative digs are typical of this mum too- in fact said in the same breath as praising the others. Her dd is lovely though so not like the boy who was digging at your DS though!

TSSDNCOP Sat 07-Sep-13 09:29:42

You do what my friend with super-talented kids does.

Take your kids godparents along to whatever event and stand them right next to Gobby mum.

I then rave on about how brilliant my godchildren are, emphasising the truth that they also have to work very, very hard to be that good.

Grown women want to rip my eyes out, but they STFU when they talk to my friend after.

grin

celticclan Sat 07-Sep-13 09:50:25

I know someone like this. Our children are not at the same school and it isn't my child she is making passive aggressive digs at.

I usually yawn or change the subject whilst she is still talking which I realise is rude but she is insufferable and deserves it. I have no interest in how many house points the offspring of her friends are accruing.

Sonnet Sat 07-Sep-13 10:11:01

grin TSSDNCOP

That makes me feel better celticclan 😄

HazleNutt Sat 07-Sep-13 11:08:28

pull her up on it the next time she says something blatantly bitchy. Such bullies count on others being too nice to reply. You should not lower yourself to her level, be aggressive or bitch about other children, just calmly ask for an explanation. Like when she says that she'd be 'happy for either x,y or z to get the part' - 'oh, so why would you not be happy for DD to get the part?'

addictedtofarmville Sun 08-Sep-13 22:34:42

She sounds like a horrible, insecure, jealous cow.

I'd avoid her as much as possible. Don't listen to her drivel. At sports events/plays try to stand as far from her as possible and try to get conversations going with other mums. Just disengage from her as much as you can.

I know it's sometimes a good idea to pull people like her up, but in this situation I wouldn't, as I don't think she would change her behaviour, she would get satisfaction from knowing she is getting to you, and she would probably act the victim and start bitching about you to others.

flippingebay Sun 08-Sep-13 22:43:17

I think I'd use the age old mn response if she says something negative about your DC
'Do you mean to be so rude'?

superstarheartbreaker Mon 09-Sep-13 04:05:53

This sounds a bit odd. I would say something like..." yes these girls are fab.....but my daughter is far better at x/y/z and has been selected for x/ y snd z. That might shut her up. Who cares if she tells the other mums you have been boasting. It is a mother's perogative to boast about your own child even if it isI intensely irritating for everyone else!

superstarheartbreaker Mon 09-Sep-13 04:15:53

This sounds a bit odd. I would say something like..." yes these girls are fab.....but my daughter is far better at x/y/z and has been selected for x/ y snd z. That might shut her up. Who cares if she tells the other mums you have been boasting. It is a mother's perogative to boast about your own child even if it isI intensely irritating for everyone else!

baddriver Mon 09-Sep-13 05:23:15

Tbh I would steer clear, not get into any conversation with her at all. She feeds off your reaction, don't let her have it.

I know a school mum a lot like your one, totally over involved in all aspects of school life, gossips to anyone who will listen, bitches about the children etc.

She is quite smiley and seemingly helpful, but any encounter would leave me feeling uncomfortable. So one day I decided to cut her out.

Now when she approaches me I say hi and keep walking. If she stops to chat, I say hi and keep walking. Once I even said, well you'd better go.

It. Feels. Great.

SubliminalMassaging Mon 09-Sep-13 05:45:10

No you're not. She sounds like a nasty cow. She is testing you with indirect bullying to see how much you'll take. She's likely to escalate this.

Yes, this. ^

She is being a classic Passive Aggressive. If your DD is the kind who always gets picked for everything, wins all the prizes etc., I will admit that can really irk other mothers, and will cause them to grumble amongst themselves, but to say it directly to you is a bit off.

Unless there is another reason she really doesn't like her.

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