Should we Care about the Backstabbing, Suburban Mom?

The Nasty, Backstabbing, and Miserable World of the Suburban Mom.

This is worth a read over your morning coffee for the juicy stories of how women can be perfectly awful to each other: now in moms’ group too! It’s a slice of “The Real Housewives” except for people with middle and upper incomes (as opposed to stratospheric incomes).

Happiness in the suburbs. Except for the mom groups.

Happiness in the suburbs. Except for the mom groups.

And that’s where this piece made me very uncomfortable. To be fair, this article absolutely acknowledges that it’s a look into wealthy suburban life, complete with intact, sometimes two-income families. I don’t need the author to apologize for the privilege she has enjoyed; she has no doubt earned it, and even if her wealth fell into her lap, it’s none of our business to judge. Her experience is real, and she has a point. Shouldn’t all parents band together supportively, and if they don’t, why not?

The author speaks of the “5 million” of us (female professionals turned SAHPs) who choose to stay at home. That’s a great thing, to have that choice. But to have it, you have to have money. I eventually decided to read the piece as a satire, rather than a journalistic examination of how women can manipulate and hurt each other, even in the homogenous, monied suburbs. After all, we already know money fixes nothing. But considering the number of problems so many families and children face every day, I just couldn’t feel too sorry for moms whose biggest problem seems to be not getting invited to lunch.

It has always bothered me is that there is little diversity of thought, experience, or voice in mainstream media in parenting issues. It’s just two sides (“working” versus SAHP) against the other. And implied in that war is that we all have a choice in where we live and how we parent. But that’s not true, of course. That choice is not available to many millions of families.

To have a full conversation on any topic, we need to hear the voices of those families and parents that don’t have a choice. Single parents. Teenage parents. Poverty-stricken parents. Even voices of successful entrepreneurs who are too strapped for time to weigh in. These are voices that complete the spectrum of parenting experience and ideas. Voices that can educate and inform us. Voices and lives that exist near us, in our communities. Voices of the children of families with few or no alternatives.

When we stop a moment to think about the lack of those voices in parenting literature, we should all cringe a little at this article.

I would have loved it if this article had instead compared whether, say, inner-city, single moms form similar cliques, as do the well-to-do mothers in this article. Do poverty-stricken families have a similar story? Or does poverty strengthen the ties between struggling parents? Now that would be worth reading.




3 thoughts on “Should we Care about the Backstabbing, Suburban Mom?

  1. “But considering the number of problems so many families and children face every day, I just couldn’t feel too sorry for moms whose biggest problem seems to be not getting invited to lunch.” But unfortunately, this is a problem, because it alludes to the real problem of bullying. It might sound like whining to some people who read this article and thought, “This lady has a Range Rover, Prada flats, etc. What is she complaining about?” Therein lies the problem of people who are too myopic to see the big picture. These women who backstab, connive and gossip are teaching their children to do exactly the same thing. Never mind when they grow up, these kids are doing it to other kids in school because their mommy is the shining example of “coolness.” So, I DID read this article as a journalistic piece on how women behave and it made me think about all those girls and their (boy)friends who tortured me in school, at camp, etc. and about how wretched they made me feel. I plan on staying far far away from all of them if I ever see them, but it also raises the question of, “How do you avoid making friends with people who may be like this WHO YOU HAVE NEVER PREVIOUSLY MET?” You have to insulate yourself in a way and be very wary of people. This might seem unhealthy but it’s really a defense mechanism; but if people continue to overlook bitchiness instead of trying to eradicate it; tacitly condoning bullying instead of speaking out – this mechanism will really have some unhealthy consequences.

  2. I agree with you. I’m a middle-aged new mom who stays home in San Francisco, a luxury in these parts. I was once-upon-a-time a nanny for a few years in my youth in Weston, MA, which is right next to Wayland. That area, including Lincoln, is full of woman like the article in Boston magazine talks about. The funny thing is that I had dozens of rich moms confess to me that they felt ostracized in their community, sans social media, they felt lonely and sad. It was weird because I had my own friends from college and they wanted to hang with the poor nanny. Some of them tried to set me up with men from families who lived in these towns! It was bad back then, before Facebook, and sounds horrible now. My husband often talks about moving to Marin County, San Francisco’s equivalent of Wayland-Weston-Lincoln and I refuse thinking about the suburban rich moms that I once worked for. Sounds like it’s gotten worse with social media! I looked this subject up because of cliquesh moms in my daughters ballet. They are beyond annoying and leave both me and my daughter out although she loves it and seems not to notice. I’m very independent and non-conformist and I think it’s jarring to them. I’m lucky I’m in an awesome moms group that has woman from different demographics and we all are accepted for who we are and no ring leader! The try to get me on social media, besides Pinterest, I refuse everything and my husband dies too ! We are happy this way! At my daughters ballet, ironically, I get along fine with the nannies, which I now understand why all those rich suburbanites befriended me, because I was real and non-threatening! I also choose to drive non-luxury cars, even though we can now afford them, because they make a definite statement of shallowness as well as Prada shoes and Gucci sunglasses!

  3. Have to add that I bring my kids everywhere and constantly put them first. I think if a mum with young kids always should put then first. No time for pedicures, facials, and cocktail parties, flying to Vegas! Children are not accessories!!!!! I had a nanny for a bit then decided I needed to be with the kids, not someone that wasn’t their mom. Kids need their mums! Life is too short for leaving them with nannies and fortunately I don’t need to work. I honestly think that one parent or grandparent needs to stay home! Most families can survive on one income if they really budget. I’m friends with several stay home moms whose husbands make peanuts and they have fun with their kids, they don’t have luxuries. I’m sick if people telling me I’m privileged, well, I am, I get to stay home with my kids! Yes, and it’s a choice to not be selfish and materialistic! Get rid of luxury cars and forget keeping up with the Jones and enjoy life!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s