Crazy Room Mothers

Julia - posted on 02/16/2013 ( 8 moms have responded )

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Ok so I need a little commiseration. My little person goes to a small school with only one class room for each grade. I am one of the room mothers and overall I love the parents if my child's peers. However one if the other room moms is making me crazy. She was new to the school and at first we hit it off nicely but as I got to know this individual better there are some serious issues. First she started telling people we were like sisters after about the first month if school. I was uncomfortable with this, but didn't want to be rude so I just let it go. I have a group if life long girlfriends who I don't even refer to as like sisters, because well they aren't my sisters they are wonderful friends. I feel like this woman has developed some type of weird competition with me and it is totally uncomfortable. We have had some weird single white female (remember this movie) moments where she copies things then acts shocked they are the same. She also is a disorganized mess and regularly texts me in the am asking about what is going on at school that day. She lost the sign up sheet for the class parties. She also demands very personal information from me. We are both single moms and she insisted repeatedly after I politely deferred her question to know how much child support I get. One day we had a play date with another child and when I politely said we had plans that say she asked repeatedly what specifically we were doing and when I nicely said we just had commitments that day she then asked when my child was there to see if she could get the info from him. I believe the woman has some mental health issues to be frank. I can't totally cut her off due to the small size of the school but she makes me exhausted. I've had other parents ask me probing questions about her because I think they are sensing that she has some issues too. I'm trying really hard to rude above and not be gossipy but I'm so frustrated with the situation that it is really difficult trying to balance trying to make her feel like a welcome new member to our community while trying to distance myself from her and draw clear boundaries all the time trying not to say anything negative to the other parents. I'm exhausted! What I have said here is only the tip of the iceberg really. I feel uncomfortable enough about this woman's level of inappropriateness that if there were a field trip that she was chaperoning and I wasn't I would need to tell the teacher I don't want my child in her group. I'm trying so hard to be nice and fair to her but I'm feeling frustrated and snippy.

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Dove - posted on 02/21/2013

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Sounds like you know an awful lot about this woman's very personal details in her life.... without actually understanding any of it.

Sorry. Perhaps someone else will give you better advice. All your posting is making me do is feel even more sympathy/empathy for the woman.

Good luck!

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Lakota - posted on 02/22/2013

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Thank you Julia. I am actually a Lakota native. I just use it as my name sometimes.

Maybe this woman was traumatized in her marriage or the divorce was traumatic for her. That in itself changes people and sometimes not for the best. I feel bad for her. I do understand a little about how you feel though. I had a coworker like that who used to sort of stalk the people who tried to befriend her. It's a hard situation because part of you wants to help her, but, the other part of you feels like you should protect yourself because you don't know when or if she will lose it.

Julia - posted on 02/21/2013

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Shawnn, I think you may have misunderstood what I was saying. What I said was I needed to vent and I was venting here NOT at school because here people don't know the parties involved and I didn't want her to be in that position. In fact when she first started at the school i was thrilled. i was the only single mom in the class and i always felt a little funny about it. When she started I was thrilled and we really hit it off, but sometimes as you get to know people and more of their personality is revealed you realize there are issues. Frankly, I feel like I'm dealing with a person who has some significant mental health issues and I'm in way over my head. Even here I have only scratched the surface of some of the issues. I've had a few days where I felt like I was in the movie Single White Female with Jennifer Jason Leigh. She actually isn't an outsider in the community, she grew up here too. But she was driving her child to a school in a swankier area until she found the local school. It is not the Public School which is what makes it a small community. We actually live in a city, albeit a smaller one, not a small town where everyone knows everyone. Because it is not Public School all the kids don't even live in our city. Although this individual does live just down the street from me. There is a difference between someone who is mentally healthy and just trying to fit in and someone who may have more serious issues. I also said I was willing to, and had tried to help her, but now I feel like she is imposing on my resources and causing problems for me. I really feel bad for the kid. The mom is still very angry about her divorce and it clearly is impacting the kid. He is very sullen.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/21/2013

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Wow...you say that she wants to know all about your life, and you apparently know all about her...

I've got to be honest here. Sounds like she may have some social difficulties, yes. BUT... (and please understand that I'm reading words here, not hearing them so not catching tone...) I'm getting a really strong vibe of "hometown" or "alumni" vs "the new girl". You're all talking about her behind her back, but you won't approach her. How do you think she feels? She's trying to fit in, you yourself said it went swimmingly for a couple of months until...I'm wondering which really started first? Her behaviour, or you and the other moms with the behind the back leave her out of it type conversations?

Since you've "been there" longer and are, in fact an alumna of the school in question, I have to ask...have you ever been in a situation where you're the "new kid"? Even as an adult it is stressful. It's actually a rotten situation to be in. You're the odd one out. You're new in a small town, everyone else has known everyone since birth or beyond, and here you are trying to wedge in and find a friend, or maybe two... Been there. Small towns are awesome for atmosphere and a safe place to raise kids, but they suck as far as trying to get into that dynamic and be part of the community. It takes YEARS for you to be "accepted" in a small town.

Granted, probing questions about private details are always unacceptable, and should be discouraged. And pushing to get details of other's commitments is, again, unacceptable. But, rather than you and the other moms talking about her behind her back (which is also unacceptable in my book...you are all adults, after all...) You should be reaching out to her. If you stop shutting her out, stop the behind the back rumors, and each of you get to know this woman, you may find that she's not the kook you think she is.

Julia - posted on 02/21/2013

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@Lakota. Thanks! I think that is good advice. This individual might be beyond that. I'm kind of exhausted with the situation, which is why I needed the rant :). Thank you for your help. PS Lakota is a very beautiful and unique name!

Julia - posted on 02/21/2013

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Thanks Dove! Your own rant is fine. That is why I'm ranting here, so that I have an outlet where no one knows this person. I'm trying to avoid ranting to any of the other moms in the class. This allows me to rant while not alienating this other mom. I have been at the school longer and I am an alumni so I am fairly well connected and I don't want to make feel like she is an outsider because I am frustrated and tell other parents or cause gossip, and Im someone who finds a good rant therapitic. It is amazing that she asked for considerable personal financial information and even when I said that isn't information I share continued to demand it. I would really like to help her if there were a way I could. She does appear to have a strong family support system. She is a stay at home single mom with a kid in private school. It seems she has loving and supportive family who are helping her, or enabling her might be a better discription. That seems to be part of the issue. No one has drawn boundaries with her and she becomes insolent when someone does. People have poop in their life that sets them off. Perhaps getting divorced was a breaking point for her. The thing that I find most frustrating is she is a stay at home mom but misses half of the events at school. One time she even asked me to send her pictures via text and then lied to the kid saying she was there. Kids are not stupid. I feel sorry for the little boy. She has all these people trying to help her but she won't let anyone. It seems like every aspect of her life is out of control and she just wants to shop and be like an irresponsible teenager. I guess what I am most frusterated about is I'm not good at standing by and watching people make a mess of everything in a willful manner and all these people are trying to help her and she excepts the help but insults them by not looking like she is making an effort. Her house is like an episode of hoarders. I spent 4 hours on a Friday night helping her clean. However. I said my condition for helping was finishing the job. We couldn't finish it in one day. We made a plan to finish but it didn't come to fruition and now it is right back where it started. She will drop her kid off at my house while she supposedly is "getting stuff done". Then acts disappointed I won't let her return the favor by bringing my child to her house. My child has asthma and the place is like a health and safety violation. I'm not a Donna Reed neat nick either. I live by the motto good moms have sticky counters, unswept floors and happy kids but there is a difference between messy and that situation. I wish I could do something to help her Dove but my resources are limited too and I'm mostly upset because you can't help someone who refuses to help themself.

Dove - posted on 02/21/2013

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Try to be nice. Lakota has good advice. I just wanted to add....

When our children (or the children of friends) have special needs like this and social issues.... We try and help them to develop their full potential... love and support them... understand that they are different... and try to help them, so that they aren't socially awkward and shunned adults. But... what happens to all the adults that WEREN'T helped as kids... or just couldn't grasp social appropriateness for whatever reason? They are 'thrown away' and shunned by other, 'normal' adults because... who the heck wants to deal w/ that 'nonsense' from someone in their 20's, 30's, 40's, etc....? Well... it sucks. I don't 'blame' normal people for wanting nothing to do w/ someone that annoys them and makes them uncomfortable, but let me tell you.... it SUCKS to BE that adult who virtually has no friends because they get attached so easily and so quickly to someone that they push that person off the edge.

Sorry... turned your vent into one of my own. ;) I don't know what this woman's particular issues are, but I bet it sucks to be her. :(

Lakota - posted on 02/21/2013

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Hi, Julie. When she asks you personal questions, just be honest with her and tell her that you don't feel comfortable doing so because you two haven't known each other very long. When she's trying to find out where you are going, etc., just change the subject. She may be extremely lonely or feel like she has to try real hard to just relax around others so she just is overly nosey and pushy. She obviously has trouble with social skills. If you keep changing the subject or kindly telling her that you don't feel comfortable talking about personal stuff, eventually she will stop.

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