Mean Girls Come From Mean Moms

She was a five-year-old girl with who carried around a 31 year-old attitude that she called mom.

She walked over to me and said, “you are fat” and then asked why I didn’t have nicer shoes. I smiled at her and said that she made a good parrot. Her eyes grew wide and she asked me what I meant. I told her that I was sure that she tried very hard to be like her mom and she nodded. I said that I bet that she listened carefully to everything that her mom and said and that mom had talked about the other moms and dad and she nodded again.


Barefoot Dancers

She walked over to me and said, “you are fat” and then asked why I didn’t have nicer shoes. I smiled at her and said that she made a good parrot. Her eyes grew wide and she asked me what I meant. I told her that I was sure that she tried very hard to be like her mom and she nodded. I said that I bet that she listened carefully to everything that her mom and said and that mom had talked about the other moms and dad and she nodded again.

I laughed and she asked me what was so funny and I told her that cheerleaders weren’t smart enough to understand why it was funny. She looked up at me and said that she wasn’t a cheerleader but that her mommy had been one. I feigned surprise and said that I didn’t know that. We spent another moment or two talking and I told her that people who are mean to others sometimes  grow up to have no friends and that it was more important to learn a lot in school than to marry well.

Most of that went over her head and that is ok. I know that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and I am certain that her comments came from her mother. Part of me felt badly about planting those seeds. She is only five and it is not her fault that her mother thinks that the measure of people is made based upon their looks and financial wherewithal.  Some people are blessed by birth and others work hard for what they have.

This girl is one of a small group of girls that are part of my daughter’s class. They all started together in preschool and have continued on together into elementary school. I don’t know if I would say that this girl is the queen bee of the junior mean girls but she is certainly a board member. I watch and listen and know that she is being raised with values that are anathema to me. I watch and listen and see that she and the junior mean girls are a minority. The majority of the kids are great but there are always a few.

Sometimes I watch and am fascinated by how different the interaction is between the boys and the girls. There are mean boys. There are boys that aren’t nice but to me the distinctions and differences behaviorally are huge. Sometimes I wonder if what I consider to be mean/rude is caused by a misunderstanding. I wonder if there is a gender issue here because I feel like I follow the boys line of thought. I feel like I can see a clear line and even when it doesn’t make sense, it makes sense to me.

But girls are different.

And in my daughter’s class I see mean moms raising mean girls. The mean moms don’t like me very much. We have had some words this year and they didn’t like it. I teach my children to be civil and try to do the same. It is not always easy for me. I like to get the last word in and I hate apologizing. Sometimes I fall short, but I am usually aware of it.

The senior mean girls collective is angry because they sent out an email that was supposed to be an end of the year wrap-up and I asked a few questions. They don’t understand why I pointed out that we fell short in a few areas and I am told that they think I am an “asshole.” I tell the mom who passed that along they don’t understand the meaning of the word unless its is wrapped in gold. She asks me why I responded as I did and I tell her that it is about setting the tone for next year.

It is not adversarial nor one upsmanship I am after. Rather I want to make sure that some of these issues won’t come up next year. I want to make sure that the parents who won’t speak up know that if they do they will be supported. And come next September when school resumes I expect that the senior mean girls collective will do a better job of communicating with other parents and will have less influence.

At least that is what the fat guy with the ugly shoes hopes will happen. Time will tell.

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