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The Mom Friend Red Flags That Send Reddit Moms Running

We feel a little attacked.

Over the years, Reddit has become an invaluable online space for parents. Whether you need meal ideas to break up the monotony of your weekday lineup or want to know whether your child is drinking enough water, the site, which boasts a community for everyone, is a great place to get a variety of opinions, insights, and discussions to help you in your own life. One particular subreddit, “Mommit,” is a community of moms and other caregivers 1.7 million strong. A recent, now-deleted post posed an interesting question that prompted lively discussion: “What are your RED FLAGS you look for in mom friends?”

Answers (which are still visible on the post) ranged from general to specific, silly to serious.

“If someone has a second spouse/partner/boyfriend who doesn’t get along with their kids,” the most-liked comment reads. “Like if you’d force your own child to live with someone who doesn’t like them, I wouldn’t trust you with my or my child’s emotional health.”

“People whose sole purpose is to compare kids are a huge source of irritation for me,” chimed in another.

“Not watching your kids!” said another commenter, and this was a sentiment that was shared over multiple comments. “I was in a group and one set of parents didn’t watch their kids at all. ... [They] believe in natural consequences but to the extreme. So if the kid fell into the fire pit because they were playing around then they would learn not to do that again. I was disgusted.”

We at Romper found the topic fascinating, and came up with a few mom red flags of our own...

A clipboard or massive, overstuffed binder

Depending on your personality, this might not be a red flag. But here’s the thing: if you meet a mom holding one of those items, that lady is almost certainly volunteering — at the school, with her house of worship, the local garden club, the Friends of the Library committee, Bake Sale subcommitttee, as president of the PTA — because no one just totes those things around for funsies. They’re only ever useful in the context of a person who is making themselves similarly useful.

“Are you available Tuesdays and Thursdays? We’re looking for someone to...”PixelVista/E+/Getty Images

And, honestly, that’s great. We need volunteers. But that’s just the thing: as a volunteer herself, she is always on the lookout for more. It won’t be long before she asks you to volunteer, too. And, honestly, you probably should, but also you probably don’t want to. So... just something to be aware of.

An immediate invitation to participate in her MLM

I’m not one to poo-poo anyone’s choices about how they spend their time or money. And, full disclosure, I have plenty of friends who have dipped their toes into the wild and wacky world of network marketing. Oils, leggings, jewelry, makeup, cookware — I’ve been invited to all manner of sales parties from legitimate, good, beloved friends who wanted to give it a go and be one of the lucky few to make it big in multi-level marketing.

But there’s a difference between a friend legitimately reaching out to see if you’re interested and a person you don’t know who’s more interested in making sales than new friends.

Unsolicited advice

When you reach a certain point in friendship, unsolicited advice can often be an act of love. Friend complains about having trouble sleeping? Tell her about a great white noise app you found! They don’t know how to approach a particular issue with their boss; let them know about a time you were able to communicate better with yours. But girl. If I just met you and you’re telling me I should reconsider my stance on vaccines or where I should send my child to kindergarten or, god forbid tell me I need to “really do my research” on literally any issue?

Red. Friggin. Flag.

We need to hang out for way longer than 10 minutes in a parent pick-up line before you even suggest you’re equipped to handle my problems (or, for that matter, know what they are).

Questions that are actually judgments

“Oh! You bottle feed?”Jena Ardell/Moment/Getty Images

“You’re giving your toddler a juice box? Did you read that article the other day about added sugars?”

“You actually got an epidural when you gave birth?”

“You had a home birth? You weren’t scared one of you was going to die because it’s so dangerous?”

“You use fluoridated toothpaste? Have you done your research on fluoride or did you just listen to your doctor?”

Lady, you are fooling no one with this little charade. Knock it off and mind your business.

Constant complaining about “drama”

A universal truth in my life that has never steered me wrong is that the people who complain most about how much they hate and don’t have time for drama are the ones who never recognize that the one common factor in their various feuds, grievances, and crises is them. That red flag boldly flaps in the breeze and serves as a sign that, given enough time, this person will be telling the other moms at the playground all about the drama you started, whether or not you actually had anything to do with it.

Of course, this list is non-exhaustive and far from universal, but we think it’s a pretty good start.