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Parent cliques exist no matter where you live. I have plenty of experience, having lived in five different states in my adult life.
So how to do you deal with feeling left out of the mom and dad cliques and sports cliques that parents have formed? And more importantly, how do you protect your children from it?
First, let’s talk about how parent cliques are formed.
Oftentimes, parents who grew up together have strong friendships, and their families continue that bond throughout adulthood.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are instances where cliquey behavior is just grossly noticeable.
Types of Parent Cliques
Parent cliques exist in many different social circles:
- Team Sports
- Friends Who Grew Up Together/Graduated from the Same School
- Church Groups
- Work Cliques
- Mom Cliques
- Dance/Gymnastics Cliques
- Gym Cliques
It sucks when you’re the odd mom out…left out of different activities. It often makes you question “What is wrong with me?”, “Did I do something wrong?”, “Am I not good enough?”
This is amplified when you feel like you already don’t have many friends.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Rebecca Black’s book Light is the New Black:
The world is filled with people who, no matter what you do, will point blank not like you. But it is also filled with those who will love you fiercley. They are your people. You are not for everyone and that’s OK. Talk to the people who can hear you.
Don’t waste your precious time and gifts trying to convince them of your value, they won’t ever want what you’re selling. Don’t convince them to walk alongside you. You’ll be wasting both your time and theirs and will likely inflict unnecessary wounds, which will take precious time to heal. You are not for them and they are not for you; politely wave them on and continue along your way. Sharing your path with someone is a sacred gift; don’t cheapen it by rolling yours in the wrong direction.
Keep facing your true north.
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So How Can You Deal When Other Moms are Mean Girling You?
1. Pray About It
I’m a Christian, and I take every problem, big and small, to the Lord. Whether you’re a believer or not, I’m sure you can agree that it’s a good idea to pause and reflect on what’s happening.
It’s likely that you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s very possible that these women are just comfortable in their little clique and don’t want a newcomer disrupting the already-solid relationships formed.
Before you allow your mind to go to a negative place, pause and pray for understanding and peace. Pray for God to remove that pit from deep inside your stomach…that “not good enough” feeling. Because, girlfriend, you are good enough.
Sometimes people just suck, and you can’t control that. Their actions are a reflection on them…not you.
2. Focus on Your Family
When you’re feeling left out of the parent cliques, remember that those people don’t keep you warm at night. They don’t wake you up with snuggles on Saturday mornings.
They aren’t your priority. Your family is. Focus on loving the people who love you the most, and try (as hard as it may seem) to count it as a blessing that your time can be devoted to your loved ones instead of catty drama and superficial friendships.
I know it hurts when you see Facebook photos of many of the women on your child’s team getting together for ornament swaps and parties and trivia night.
It’s even worse when you are a part of the group chats and plans, and the clique branches off from a group chat and leaves you high and dry.
I know it hurts. But wouldn’t you rather surround yourself with people who actually care and will be there during the good times and the hard times?
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have one really good, quality friendship than a bunch of phony friendships.
This brings me to my 3rd suggestion.
Make the Unfollow Button your Friend
It sucks seeing photos of these cliques flaunting their fun times (sans you) on Facebook. I hate that my kids aren’t invited to spend time with the kids whose parents are in these cliques.
If you find yourself getting really upset every time you see photos of activities for which you weren’t invited, simply unfollow them.
You don’t have to unfriend them completely, but when you unfollow them, you will stop seeing their posts and you won’t feel so betrayed and worthless when you notice that (yet again), you’ve been excluded from the festivities.
I know this is hard. I’ve found myself questioning what on earth was wrong with me. Why was I not invited? Why were my kids left out?
Fortunately, my kids are still pretty young, but it still sucks. So if you’re dealing with this, just know that it can help to shift your focus away from “What’s wrong with me?” to “What can I do to enrich my family’s lives?”
And if you’re reading this, and you’re part of the problem, consider branching out to the new people…the quiet and shy people…and their kids.
Stop social engineering, and encourage your own kids to get to know others a little better. Because being lonely sucks, but being left out is even worse, and your kids are learning from you.
I’ve done all the things! Girl, I’ve washed my face. I’ve trashed everything that doesn’t spark joy. I’ve walked the baby steps. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed, but my perfectionism has really held me back.
Perfection Hangover can be crippling. Stop comparing yourself to others and start living your best life! That’s why PH exists! I want to encourage you to take control of your money, your blog, and your business.