Keri White's book, "The Mommy Code," is out now. Credit: Provided
Knowing the etiquette for a dinner party or sticky friend situation is child's play compared to getting along with other moms. Philadelphia-based blogger Keri White has spent years talking to parents, and no matter how different they are all of them complain about the same things: other parents, like that mom at school who can't help bragging about her kid constantly, playgroups that put you in a bad mood, parents who never discipline their wild child, etc.
Being part of a playgroup is great: Your kids can socialize, and you can actually talk in your grown-up voice with the other parents. But not all playgroups are healthy. "A toxic playgroup is one that makes you feel yucky when you go," White says. "Whether it's because the other moms are declaring their kids' overt brilliance over yours or the fact that they compost and grow organic vegetables, it creates a competitive mommy superiority feeling." Bowing out of a playgroup doesn't have to cause drama; there's a way to do it without becoming the topic du jour. "Just tell them your schedule has changed or that it isn't working out for you and your child. Being a mom is stressful, so being around other moms who wear you down is unhealthy," White says.
Out at dinner
Disciplining your own kid is one thing, but what do you do when you see another kid acting out of control? White has the solution to this problem in the bag - literally. "If you're at dinner with someone and their kid is climbing all over the table or being disruptive, the key is to distract him or her with some mommy secret weapons," White says. She advises keeping a book or small puzzle in your bag when you know you'll be around kids so you'll have it at the ready. "Saying, 'Johnny seems bored. Do you think he'd like this puzzle?' is a tactful way to navigate the situation," she says.
At daycare or school
There are always going to be those moms who think their child is the smartest, most talented human to ever walk the earth. But even though you may want to snap back, White says it's best to bite your tongue. "You want to talk back so badly and they so desperately deserve it, but rudeness begets rudeness. Nothing good is going to come out of talking back. The high ground is always a better place to be, as hard as it is sometimes," she says. And that's good etiquette for everyone, not just moms.