Women scare the ever-loving crap out of me. I'd rather go five rounds in the cage with UFC fighter Allistair Overeem than be subjected to one cup of coffee with a passive-aggressive mom who doesn't like the food I gave her kid on a play date.
I really pissed a mom off recently. (We'll call her QB -- Queen Bully). Apparently my daughter, Clare, told her daughter Harper (a pseudonym) something she'd heard about QB .
This is the phone call I got:
"Hi, QB! How are you?"
"Did you tell Clare about @#!!!?"
Her voice drips the proverbial acid. If I were of the male species, my testicles would've retracted into my body and hidden trembling behind my kidneys.
"No, no, of course I didn't tell her that. I would never tell her that."
Here's the thing, I didn't know I wasn't supposed to tell Clare that. Or I didn't remember because my brain is a post-partum sieve. Also, I didn't see what was such a big deal. The story QB had told me about her childhood actually would've been a great story to tell our grade school kids in order to teach them about Stranger Danger and how to keep safe. Still, I didn't recall saying anything to Clare until...
Me: "Clare honey, where did you hear the @#!! about QB? Were you eavesdropping on us at our playdate last week?"
Clare: "No mom, you told me."
Me: "I... told you?"
Clare: "Yeah, you know, you wanted me to learn about Stranger Danger and all of that."
I was a-sceered. QB outweighs me by 20 lbs. and it's 20 lbs. of rock hard muscle. Her Eric Heiden thighs could snap me like a twig. I should mention she's also funny and beautiful, which made me doubt my own credibility in this situation.
I toyed briefly with the idea of lying and saying Clare admitted she eavesdropped, the little minx. How much damage could QB inflict on my kid? A volcanic storm of outrage poured upon my child might better prepare her for a life as a movie robotics engineer for James Cameron.
So I did what any mother would do. I called QB up and told her...
...it was all my fault.
I confessed I must've blabbed and that I was really sorry. That discretion wasn't my long suit. I'm not sure what I was expecting. Perhaps for her to say, "Hey, I get it. You're not good at keeping a secret. I really wish you hadn't done it and unfortunately I won't be able to trust you with any more personal stories."
Painful, yes, but bearable.
Instead what I got was a tongue shellacking usually reserved for a schnauzer who's taken a giant crap right in the middle of an expensive Persian rug that the angry person has stepped in. The conversation was, in a word, castrating.
I had that sick feeling I'd had in the 4th grade when Chris Hedges and Sheri Kaufman told me they were going to kick my ass after school. The pounding heart, blood racing through my veins as a bolus of semi-digested food makes its way back up the esophagus, sweaty palms and feet, twitchy eyes and the shame that I'm a-sceered, that I'm a yellow-belly sap-sucker.
I got off the phone and made the decision that our friendship was over. Whether I was right or wrong, I'm too old to have people in my life who talk like that to me. But the plot thickens...
When I arrived at school the next morning with Clare in tow, QB's daughter ran up to Clare and whispered something in her ear that made Clare turn sheet white. What the what?
Clare told me QB wanted to talk to her during recess (QB volunteers at our school). Clare's lip trembled. ears sprang to her eyes and suddenly I wasn't that little girl in the 4th grade afraid of getting her ass kicked after school. My daughter was that girl.
I saw red. What ensued was a Text Confrontation between QB and me. Yes, you heard me right -- I bravely took to my text. I manipulated my iPhone like the finest fencing foil, parry, thrust, defend. I told her that I understood she was angry at me, but she wasn't to take it out on Clare. Especially not at school where she's an authority figure.
She told me she would do as she pleased.
I quickly returned to school, found Clare and told her she didn't have to go talk to QB at recess that I would handle it. I called the school principal, off the record, and explained the situation and my fault in it. I asked her to speak with QB and explain that these things had to be settled outside of school.
Time passed. Tempers died down. Polite distance was achieved. Our daughters are still friends, but only at school. We don't interact after school hours. The moms I'm friends with are kind to me and my kids. Some of us have different parenting styles and there's a certain amount of judging each other behind each other's backs. But the overall glue to our friendships is our unequivocal support of one another.
Recently, I found a lump in my breast and asked one mom to pick my kids up from school while I had it checked out (a benign cyst -- so sexy). Before I knew it, five mothers were calling to say they could help, what did I need?
The majority of moms are amazing, loving tigresses, but there are those few who, like Medusa's head, wreak havoc. I'd love to hear your mom bully stories and how you survived them.
Follow Shannon Bradley-Colleary on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ShannonColleary