Friday, December 12, 2008

Tween Mean Girls and the Mommies who Love Them

My own tween girl Miley is growing up. She is no longer the laid back giggling girl I once knew. Now I am dealing with a sweet girl who is laughing one minute and in tears the next. And every girl around her is too.

So take a bunch of girls with new hormones messing with every emotion known to them, mix in some clueless mommies and you have, well, a mess.

This afternoon I took the kids to meet with some other friends at school. I was told who going to be there and Miley was excited about the group. When we got there, there was an extra family with a girl Miley's age (I'll call her Bess). And Miley was not happy.

We stood beyond the table and Miley made faces, groans and everything else.

"Why does she have to be here?" she whined as I tried my very best to fill five cups of water while holding a toddler and trying to keep an eye on two other kids.

"Honey," I began. "I didn't know. But maybe you'll have fun. She seems really sweet."

Eyes rolled. 

"Mom, pleeaase. She's got that fake smile and then it just goes away when a teacher isn't looking. She's so fake."

"I'm sure she likes you."

Again, eyes roll but with a bonus sigh.

I look at her and plead with my non-rolling eyes to try getting along.

She looks down and walks over to the table.

Mistake #1--I believe her behavior is obvious to every mom at the table.

Mistake #2--I feel the need to discuss it.

"I'm not sure we'll be able to stay long," I begin. "Miley isn't in the best mood. She and Bess are having some issues."

I pause and then it gets better.

Mistake #3--I ask the Bess' mom if she knows anything.

"Do you have any idea what's up?"

Bess' mom take a bite of salad. "No, I'm not aware of anything."

And she proceeds to stare down at her plate for a good few minutes while others join the table.

Great going Lisa--you made this mom incredibly uncomfortable. Rock on.

Of course, the whole thing was more or less Miley being her age. She did play with Bess. In Miley's words 'she was nice, today at least'.

So you'd think that after three mistakes and Miley and Bess getting along, you would think a mom who has weathered the politics of new motherhood, the craziness of pre-school and the cliques of grammar school would know to shut up. Nooooooo.....

Mistake #4--Talking about how you can't handle your tween's emotions.

"So is anyone else dealing with some crazy emotions in their girls," I begin looking at the blank stare of Bess' mom. "I mean Miley gets in tears if someone looks at her the wrong way and then thinks about it for days. And she takes everything so personal....." I'm sure I said more but I think I am mentally blocking my other words to save my own psyche.

I am met with blank stares from the moms of tween girls.

Mistake #5--Ignoring all nonverbal cues.

I continue, "Do your girls ever act like that?" 

Blank stares.

"Is it just Miley?"

And then one mom nods her head.

"Mine is like that sometimes," she mumbles.

Bess' mom continues to look at me as if I am wearing a tin foil hat.

I think I should have ordered a glass of wine at that point. I could have blamed it all on Merlot and not my own social cluelessness.


Anonymous said...

Please don't beat yourself up over it, some moms just may not want to think that their kids are imperfect.. if that makes any sense.. so they try to cover it up by not discussing issues with tweens today. I applaud you though for trying, at least you are aware if your child is acting differently about something or someone... maybe some moms just ignore it, and that is what leads to the horrible problems with girls today.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lord, this is just classic.... "nope, our kids are all fine. Just fine!" No they aren't... not if they are that age and female. Heaven love you for being open, and what a shame others couldn't/wouldn't respond.

Good for you Miss VBMW4... and Miley will recover. To be sure.

Sending you a cyberhug,

Gretchen said...

What is up with those moms acting all, "Nope, my kid's fine." crickets chirping. Uh, even if their kids are stepford children, can't they at least relate? Offer you SOMETHIN? Even if I didn't have kids at all but I was sitting there, I would have at least said, Well when I was Miley's age I was a total mess!

I'm so sorry they weren't sympathetic to your sitch but really, please realize, you are brave to put it out there.

and I see where you were going with that... trying to start the convo about hormones to explain why Miley might've thought something was amiss between her and Bess. Too bad Bess' mom couldn't put the pieces together. Are you sure these moms are socially evolved???

Just kiddin!

Anonymous said...

Don't beat yourself up over it. FWIW I think the other moms are either in denial or just plain nobs! That kind of reaction bordered on rude. Every teenage girl, even the tweens go through this. ALL OF THEM. If they don't, then your child has been stolen by a pod person. Seriously.

The eyeroll was my first clue with Meg that the rollercoaster has just stared. Oh Lordy!

Hang in there mama. Want me to send some good English chocolate and French wine?

Brian and Staci said...

You know this about Miley because you are a good mom...I'm not saying the other mom isn't a good mom...but maybe she just doesn't know her daughter like you know Miley :)...or at least she doesn't want to admit it. I love your honesty!

Brian and Staci said...

Oh yea...the eye rollin' thing....Miley and I could so have a competition on that!!! (I HAVE gotten better with age...better, meaning, I don't do it as much. But oh girl! I can roll with the best of them!)

Anonymous said...

I remember those moms from when I was a kid. They were the ones who never grew out of the behaviour themselves.
Reminds me of this video kinda.

Amanda said...

You will always get the parents that will deny that their kids are going through anything like that, 'my kid is just perfect' Grrr...!
I have no experience with girls, but to me Miley sounds totally normal!

Anti-Supermom said...

You painted a not-so-pretty picture of being with tween girls, but of course, you did it very well.

This post makes me happy I've only got boys :) At least, happy for now~

dani said...

lisa, bless your heart... where's the commiseration when you need it??? if those other moms aren't experiencing "the age" for themselves YET, look at it this way: you've prepared them:P

Jacque said...

Totally happens at our house with Chloe! I'm sure Chloe and Miley aren't the only ones. All the moms of Chloe's friends I talk to say the same thing. It's a hard age, whether other moms admit to it or not!

Momo Fali said...

I don't think you did anything wrong! Not at all. As a matter of fact, I have had conversations like this with other Moms.

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

i think people (mostly moms) are just too afraid to admit that their little girls aren't if it's a reflection on them for not being a perfect mom...b/c there is such a thing, right? imperfect moms raise imperfect children and we all try our best to follow the example of Christ (in His strength)...helping our children learn their weeknesses and then helping them strengthen them is so much smarter that just plain ignoring them!

you are a GREAT mama!

WeaselMomma said...

As a Mom of 5(4 of the them girls ~ 14 and down) they all have constant drama issues at that age. Best bet is stay detached unless something big happens. They hate each other 1 day and are best friends the next. It's a never ending rotating clique.
Sounds to me like the other Moms are the snotty type who have perfect children and have never done anything wrong.
BTW cute blog