There I was the other day, chaperoning a field trip with Maddie. It was a beautiful morning and we were outdoors. Lots of other moms attended the field trip and a couple of things really stood out to me.
First, there are some really fun, nice, normal women that have children in my daughters' preschool. They are very similar to me in fact; they drive minivans, make lunches for their kids, believe in God, etc.
But, there are a couple of moms that are something else. There are 2 of which I'm speaking and they are both older (by at least 10 years), their youngest(or only child) is the age of my oldest, and they are bullies. The are friends with each other, in a cliquey way; only I would never want to join their clique because they are mean. They are also both really loud and aggressive in the way they speak. I'll call them "thing 1" and "thing 2" for the purpose of this post.
During the field trip, I could feel "thing 1" studying my face while I talked with another mother. At one point, she interjected (it was breaking news of course) that she "could finally tell by looking at me that I'm having a boy." "How?" I asked. (New Rule: Don't ask questions of the bullies. It's not worth it!) "Oh," she says, "They say your face/jawbone change shape while you're pregnant with a boy and I can see that's happening to you."
I wasn't sure what to say so I did some nervous, weird laughter and hoped she would move on. Was this a compliment? An insult? It was so confusing and honestly, pregnant women don't want comments on their appearance unless it's positive. It must be clearly positive. So, I told myself to avoid "thing 1" for the rest of the field trip. However, I held on to that comment the whole morning and mulled it over and over; still not making heads or tails of it.
Then, the field trip was over and it was time to pick up Grace from school and her, Maddie and I went to the playground. As soon as we entered the gate, I noticed "thing 1" and "thing 2" standing near me. Ugh, I thought. "Thing 2" approached and asked if we have any baby names picked out or "Are you one of those people who keep it a secret?" It needs to be pointed out that the tone she used for this part of her interrogation was that of a whiny-sing-song-mean-school-girl. "Umm," I said "We're still narrowing it down but I'm pretty sure his name will be Mason." I said this with that excited smile you have as an expectant mother who has thought about this every day since she found out she was pregnant. "Thing 1" nodded and said "That's a nice name." It seemed sincere, really it did. "Thing 2" on the other hand, contorted her face and practically made a sound that resembled puking. "Oh, I don't like that name. There's a kid in my son's class with that name that I can't stand."
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THIS?!? In the moment I was caught off guard so I didn't say much. I mumbled something about liking the names "Gabriel and Micah" too but then I sort of wandered off. I spent the rest of the day thinking about that interaction. It bothered me; it still does. These women are rude and I'm questioning why I didn't say something to them along those lines. Probably because they are bullies and when you're in the midst of bullying, you just want it to end. I've made some decisions since this happened. I've decided that I will be polite to each of them by saying "hello" but that's where our dialogue will end. I will not share any more details of my life with them. I will keep it brief.
It was a good reminder for me though about where I am when it comes to standing up for myself when I feel that I've been treated poorly. Looks like I still have more work to do.