Once you become a mother, your social sphere widens to include the fellow women you bond with at mommy-and-me classes, playground trips, and PTA meetings. They're the ones who commiserate with you over teething woes, swap recipes and toddler clothes, celebrate milestones (yours and your kids'), and accompany you on girls-only weekends away. But even the best of pals have their differences, and as close as you are, there are surprising things you do that annoy your mom friends without your realizing it.
There are more serious issues that are not so much annoyances as out-and-out dealbreakers where friendship is concerned: giving more than you get in terms of time, favors, or support; blabbing info given to you in confidence; letting political or religious views divide you. And as far as subtle peeves go, there are ones that are pretty well established. Whenever you post an album of your week at Universal Studios or your kitchen remodel, you know that at least one of your gang is sighing with envy as she realizes her house looks like the "before" pictures on Marie Kondo's Netflix series.
But sometimes, we rub our mom friends the wrong way without meaning to: a well-intentioned remark, a bit of oversharing, an etiquette breach. Your pals probably won't say anything to you directly, but they notice just the same. We've all been guilty of at least one of these things.
1. You CC Your Friends On Everything
Social media is a mom's lifesaver when it comes to staying connected with fellow mothers. But even among good friends, you have to know your limits. Some pals don't mind being copied on all the funny mom-wine memes and French Bulldog pup videos, while others get overwhelmed by too many notifications. It pays to know who prefers what. I've had more than one friend send out an impassioned plea to all her followers: "Please don't forward me anything! I love you, but I DO. NOT. HAVE. THE. TIME!"
And, in all honesty, some of the shares and forwards that we love to send to our friends are just plain pointless. Has breast cancer been cured because we all cryptically posted the color of our underwear? Did you get a $20,000 check 10 minutes after replying "Amen" to a post? No? Case closed.
2. You Share All The Scary News
You may not be a meme-sharer, but you might be closely related if you tell your mom-friends about every potential threat to children, no matter how unlikely. Stroller recalls, AMBER alerts, non-organic fruit, co-sleeping... if it induces panic, you're the first to let everyone know. Thing is, not everyone wants to live their lives on high alert. Attitude plays a part too, explains Addison, a mom of one (all names have been changed): "I have a friend who shares stories and then rubs our noses in it. If there's a baby food recall, she'll say, 'That's why I always use the other brand.'"
3. You Have "My Kid Too" Syndrome
Whatever accomplishment your friends report about their children, you're there jumping right in with your own stories — and they're usually ten times better. Caleb's taking up piano? Your Jaxon is soloing in the school recital. Lulu jumped ahead three reading levels? Your Daphne is rereading the entire Harry Potter series.
Same goes for the bad news. If your friend is sighing over being home with a flu-ridden child, you'll regale her with details of your youngest whose cough turned into a week-long hospital stay. It's not that your pals don't like celebrating or sympathizing with you; it's just that you need to let them have the spotlight once in a while.
4. You Don't Come Prepared For Playdates
When you're going to spend more than an hour or so with your fellow moms and their kids, it's only common sense to pack for the occasion. You don't want to develop a rep as the mom who's always asking to borrow sunscreen and baby wipes, or who has nothing to give out at snack time, or who has to duck out early because her baby had an up-the-back poop and she didn't bring a change of clothes.
5. You Tell Them, "It's Just A Stage"
When your mom BF shows up to a coffee date with stains on her shirt and bags under her eyes because her colicky baby keeps her up all night, it really doesn't help to tell her that it's just a stage or that it'll pass. "You may think you're showing a mom that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but no — it comes across as saying 'Just deal with it'," says Dani, mother of two children under 10. Instead, how about offering to come over and watch that fussy baby so your friend can collapse for an hour or two?
Similarly, blowing off a friend's concerns about her child's development can come off as hurtfully callous. "When you have a late talker, having a friend say, 'One day, you'll wish they'd shut up' is minimizing," explains mom-of-three Lea.
6. You Say, "I Miss Those Days"
This is the second cousin to "just a stage." Moms whose children are starting kindergarten get misty-eyed over newborns. Mothers dealing with middle-school drama advise friends with 6-year-olds to enjoy the moment. Moms with empty nests tell mothers of teens, "I actually miss the chaos." Think about it: Aren't you actually saying, "It gets worse from here"? When my own kids were in the tantrum years, my reaction to the "cherish it" memes and platitudes was to wonder if I was losing Mom points for wanting to bury my head under a pillow.
7. You Humblebrag About Your Feeding Style
Of course, you'd never criticize your friends for the way they opt to feed their babies — not directly, anyway. But if you're the one at the GNO virtuously ordering a cranberry juice spritzer "because I hate doing a pump-and-dump," or on the flip side, "Thank God Emmie's on formula, so I can have this mojito," expect to see some eye-rolls among your fam, warned RebelCircus.
8. You Question Their Kids' Choices
One friend's preschool son loves to wear Disney princess costumes. Another's 6th-grader just dropped soccer for cheerleading, and yet another friend has a teen who's enlisting in the Navy right after high school graduation. If your first instinct isn't to say, "That's great!", then you're better off saying nothing. "I hate when people say, 'And how do you feel about that?' — or worse, 'how does their dad feel about that?' in response to hearing about their choices that I fully support," says mom-of-three Annmarie.
9. You Want Your Kids In All The Same Activities
Just because your children attend the same school doesn't mean they have to be twinsies in everything. Urging your mom-friend to sign up for your child's dance class, Scout pack ,and church camp could brand you as a mom-stalker, as Scary Mommy put it. You all can still be friends if you don't spend every after-school moment together. Honest.
When it comes to being a mom-friend, following the old Golden Rule will keep you in good standing. Would you want to hear it or see it from one of your own pals? If not, then step back. (Oh, and maybe cut down on the perfect-dinner photos, too. Your friends are probably reaching for the mac 'n' cheese box.)