The problem: This morning, I was talking with another mom at school about upcoming plans. In front of my kids and hers, she said, “Oh. You’re one of those people.” Then she walked off. It took me several minutes to realize that she had just put my family in some distasteful category for some reason. I wasn’t quick enough on my feet to have a retort ready. I haven’t said anything to my daughter about it, but I know she heard the whole thing. What’s the best way to handle being judged like this?
Low road: Did she at least use her indoor voice when she said it? Kidding. That zinger must have hurt, and it’s tempting to chase her into the carpool lane and confront her with a “What did you mean by that?”
High road: Accept that this isn’t about you. She seems competitive and quick to judge. She’s insecure and probably exhausted from comparing every other parent’s decisions with her own. I have no idea whether your plans include a five-star cruise, a church trip to build water systems in Africa or binge-watching “Neighbors With Benefits.” It matters little.
The only questions worth asking are: Do you think your priorities are right? Do you like the kind of people your kids are becoming, not in terms of academic or athletic accolades, but in terms of how kind and open-minded they are? Good.
Now, embrace being “one of those people” — the kind who model generosity especially when it’s tough to do so. Cut Competitive Mommy some slack. And use humor with your kid. “She’s right!” you might say. “We are those kind of people. The most fun kind!” Leave it at that.
Gail Rosenblum is a features columnist. Send questions about life’s little quandaries to email@example.com.