Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ways to Avoid Being Talked About By Other Moms

My hair is now back to being bright red, and I couldn't be happier. You can see it over at the Inklings facebook page. In preparation for getting my hair back to its rightful color, Hubby asked me why it was important that I did it this weekend.

Me: Because we move in a few days.
Hubby: Okay, why do you need your hair dyed before we move?
Me: So I make a statement to all the other women in our neighborhood. I have bright red hair, I'm covered in tattoos, this is me.
Hubby: We're moving on to base for crying out loud, not to Wisteria Lane.
Me: Actually, minus the killing people that happens on Wisteria Lane, we are moving to Wisteria Lane. And I need to establish my presence from the first time anyone even looks at me.
Hubby: Whatever, that makes no sense. Just don't start any shit, okay?
Me: I'm not starting shit, thank you. And you aren't a woman, so you don't understand.

I was telling a friend of mine this conversation while she dyed my hair, and she completely got it. She understood what I was saying, and why it was so important for me to dye my hair before we moved.

Women are catty. It's an almost guarantee in life. Women are catty, we're bitchy, we love a good piece of gossip, even if we never share it with another soul. Just knowing that gossip can sometimes be enough for us. We judge books by their covers, even if only for a few seconds before realizing that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, and we talk. We talk about our lives, what we witness about other people's lives around us, and what we think is going on in those people's lives just by what we are witnessing. And when you put a large amount of women together in a small space, like base housing (where the houses are duplexes and are 2 feet away from the next duplex), the gossip, talking and judging is ten fold.

So yes, I figure that I'll be talked about because we are the new people on the block, so I'd give these ladies something to talk about with my bright red hair and my tattoos. This is who I am, and if just my look offends you, then don't bother coming over and striking up a conversation with me. If my look intrigues you, then we'll sit down and have a cup of coffee.

All of this got me thinking about how we women, moms especially, talk about other women and moms. It happens, so don't sit back and say, "I never talk about other moms behind their backs." You do, even if it's in the privacy of your own home and you are telling the cat about how the woman across the street has no business wearing those leggings outside the house, or how the woman down the street never seems to put on a bra before heading to the grocery store and considering her boobs touch her knees, she really needs to re-think that decision.

So, how do you avoid being talked about by other moms? I've come up with a few pointers to live by to not have your every move scrutinized by the women around you.

5 Ways to Avoid Being Talked About By Other Moms

  • Mind your business. If you don't judge other moms, then you won't be judged. Wait, that's not right. Even if you never stick your nose into anyone else's business, other moms will wonder why you never speak to anyone. Keeping to yourself means you have secrets to hide, and we'll start trying to figure out what those secrets are instead of just befriending you.
  • Always have a smile on your face. If you have an optimistic outlook on life, then other moms won't talk about you. Wait, that's not right, either. If you always have a smile on your face, we moms will wonder what meds you are on, and may even approach you to find out who your doctor is.
  • Be "normal". Keep your hair color neutral, wear clothes that don't show too much cleavage or skin, speak softly and don't ever do anything out of the ordinary. No, crap. That's wrong, too. If you are that boring, moms will wonder if you ever get laid, or (and this is more likely to happen) we'll talk about how your boring outside is possibly a cover up for the fact you have a hidden dominatrix room in your house complete with whips, paddles, a sex swing, latex body suit and safe words.
  • Introduce yourself to everyone you meet. If you establish a friendly attitude toward your new neighbors or moms at your kid's school, then they will become your friends and then they won't talk about you. Crap, I'm 0-4 right now, because that's definitely not true. If you immediately start to introduce yourself to everyone around you, then you are labeled the 'Needy Mom' by the other mothers. We'll assume you attach yourself to people like a leech to a vein and will more than likely keep our distance.
  • Agree to whatever is asked of you. If you are new to the PTO or neighborhood and anyone asks anything of you, then agree to it so you can show you are a team player. Agree to clean up after the upcoming PTO festival even though you really wanted to paint faces. Agree to supply the plates and napkins to the block party instead of your famous potato salad. Just go with the majority and what they want and they won't talk about you behind your back. Man, that's not right either. You'll become the Pushover Mom, and we'll wonder if you remove your husband's boots when he gets home from work, too.
The truth of the matter is, you can never avoid being talked about my other moms. The quicker you come to realize that, the thicker your skin will grow for when you come across it. The skinny moms are talked about by the not-so-skinny moms and vice versa. The do-it-all moms are talked about by everyone. The organic-eating hippy moms are talked about by the moms who fix frozen pizza and hot dogs for dinner, and vice versa. The mean moms talk about everyone, even their friends. The breastfeeding moms are talked about by the formula moms, the working moms are talked about by the stay-at-home moms, the spanking moms are talked about by the time-out moms, the attachment parenting moms are talked about by tough-love moms, and the reverse of those are all true, too. It's just how we moms, we women, are.

Why do we moms talk about other moms? Sometimes it's out of jealousy, sometimes out of spite, many times out of pure boredom. We don't have to dislike a person to talk about them, either. Sometimes we aren't being mean, we are just talking about what differentiates us from the mom next door. Our talking isn't always bad, sometimes it's just mindless babble to keep us from cleaning the house or doing laundry. I used to gossip worse than anyone. Then I realized if I didn't see it, there was no guarantee it actually happened. So, when I talk about other moms, it's based on something I've seen, and I always make sure to add, 'In my opinion' before I speak about how I interpreted it. I never say anything is a fact, unless I saw it with my own two eyes and it can't be disputed, like 'Yep, it's a fact that she walked outside to check her mail and totally was not wearing pants... or underwear. See, look, I got a picture of it when the wind blew her shirt upward.'

What's my honest advice about how to deal with the issue of moms talking about other moms? You could decide to not talk about other moms, but understand that doesn't mean you won't be talked about. If you go this route, just make sure to figure out how to grow your thick skin so when someone tells you that so-and-so said she thought your kids were going to grow up spoiled because when your 3 year old yelled for a candy bar at the grocery store the other day and you gave it to them, it doesn't cause you to have a breakdown about your entire parenting method. You could take another path in the direction of just flipping off every mom you come into contact with, though this route may leave you friendless and seriously talked about by other moms. Or, you can find a like-minded friend or two and dish it right back when it hits any of y'all. Just make sure you can trust them so what you all talk about stays between you. There's nothing work than confiding in someone and having that information spread everywhere.

Me, personally, I establish my presence when I go somewhere- the red hair and the tattoos. If the women want to get to know me, they'll have to put aside their initial judgments about my looks and introduce themselves. If they are completely opposed to how I look and can't get past that, then we have no business being friends. I usually only click with women who are open-minded and outspoken like me. We generally aren't rude, we'll keep our opinions to each other, but we don't run around starting drama or hurting people's feelings. 

But understand that if you weigh 350 pounds and put on some leggings with a small, tight, hoochie-mama shirt that doesn't cover your ass when you leave the house, we will sit at my kitchen table, drink our coffees, watch you from the window, and talk about how you need to go put on some real clothes. And I may even turn the experience into a blog post. 

I'm now starting to see why I only have a few close friends. Oh, well, they love me, my bright red hair, tattoos, and my potty mouth.

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1 comment:

  1. This totally cracked me up. It's funny because it's true! Hehehe.