How to Deal with Judgmental Moms at Playgroups

As a new mom, I think I had nightmares about playgroups. Yeah. Seriously. On the night before my first playgroup experience, I talked my husband’s ear to death about my fears of other moms not getting me, and about, my biggest fear, my fear of being judged.

Yeah. Like most new moms, it was the thought of coming face to face with judgmental moms in the flesh (i.e., not online), moms who could have an issue with my shaky and very new parenting choices that terrified me. But, now as a mom who’s a seasoned playgroup groupie, I can say that most of my fears of judgmental playgroup moms were unfounded.

So this is a post for that new mom who is weary of playgroups because she’s weary of horror stories she’s heard about judgmental moms who attend playgroups. I’m sharing how to spot judgmental moms and how to deal with them respectfully.

How to Spot Judgmental Moms

In my experience, judgmental moms at playgroups are kind of like those moths that blend in with their environments before flying in your eye when you get close up. Okay. Wait. That makes no sense. The point is that judgmental moms usually don’t seem judgmental at first. At first, they may seem very accepting of your parenting style, choices, lifestyle. But, usually, with time, their “true colors” become more apparent.

In my experience, these moms are notorious for making blanket statements about their kids and about what they do with their kids to imply that their way is the right or only or best way to do things. For instance, “I only put my baby in a crib because I wanted an independent child.” These moms will, usually, not say outright that your parenting choices are “wrong” but they’ll make you feel that way through suggestive language and implications:

You took your baby out of the house at 2 months?!? I never took my baby out until 4 months because that’s when it’s most safe.

How to deal with Judgmental Moms

If you enjoy the playgroup otherwise, just give these moms the cold shoulder. Remember that the way you parent your child is right because it works for you.

If you can’t ignore these moms, try confronting them about what’s bothering you. When doing this, be sure to do it in a non-confrontational environment, i.e., away from the other moms and when children are not involved.

If you hate the playgroup anyway, maybe consider looking for a new playgroup for your child, one that is filled with supportive moms whose company you can tolerate for an hour or more.

There is Hope for you Yet, My New Mom Friend

As a mom of two, I can tell you that there are so many great playgroups out there who do not have judgmental moms. The key is just finding the one that works for you.

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Jessica lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with her husband and two girls. Once upon a time, pre-motherhood, she did many things as a “serious-looking” woman who managed to successfully balance a reality TV addiction with a career and academic pursuits. She's now a serious-acting woman whose primary job is raising her children. She writes, reads, fantasizes about minivans, and takes midday naps. She enjoys (among many other things) dancing to 80s music, photography, laughing out loud (at, usually, inappropriate moments), and writing about writing, being a writer, and becoming fearless on her blog Jessica F. Hinton

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Great post. But I think you mean wary, not weary. As in wary of playgroups, not weary. Weary means tired. Wary means uncertain or cautious.