“Mom Cliques”


    Lately I have been noticing more and more Mom Cliques when I attend functions as my sons’ school or their sporting events. I have always been aware of them over the years since I had my boys but they seem to be multiplying and I never feel like I fit into any of them or that I even want to fit into them.

     Being a Working Mom, I have had limited opportunities to observe these cliques in action.  Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being either a working mother or a stay at home mother. Both of these roles come with responsibilities that are unique to both and are equally stressful to both. This will not be one of those posts that pits mothers against each other for making very personal decisions about whether to work at home or away from the home. As women we all know that being mothers and wives is hard enough period and we don’t need to compete with one another about who has it harder…

    The reason why I bring up that being a Working Mom separates me from certain Mommy Cliques is because I don’t get to spend as much time at the kids’ schools or attending school functions due to my work schedule. As a result of this, I suppose that I am not privy to a lot of the discussions and gossip that take place at these events. Believe me, I am not interested at all in whose kids are taking dance classes and what is going on with the Parent’s Guild. Not that these things are not important but I just don’t have a lot of time to waste worrying about these things. All parents should be proud of their children and want to share with others their children’s accomplishments, however, this should never happen at the expense of putting other parents and their children down.

    These are some of the very things that determine the kinds of cliques that you see mothers affiliating themselves with at schools.  The mothers of the children who play organized sports seem to band together in one corner.  In another corner, you will see the mothers who are part of the Parents’ Association and never miss any school sponsored event.  Then, you have the rogues like me who go to the school whenever their work schedule allows and who receive inquisitive stares as other mothers wonder whose parent you are since they have never seen you before.  There is a place for all of us but we are all classified differently.  This is somewhat unfortunate considering that we are all there because we are all caring parents and want the very best of everything for our children.

    I actually had the opportunity to discuss this issue with some of my wonderful readers on Facebook and many of them had very strong opinions about the existence of these cliques in their children’s schools.  Some stated that these cliques start as early as when their children are in preschool and that these mothers often behave like high school girls when they engage in gossip and cattiness.  Most felt that these mothers set bad examples about tolerance and socializing to their own children and to other children in the school.  Additionally, they seemed to be in agreement about the fact that these cliques are prevalent at their children’s sporting events where parents are creating a negative air of competition around their kids’ athletic abilities.

    Personally, I think that it is somewhat amusing.  I’m sure that some of these mothers don’t have many opportunities to socialize in other situations due to being overwhelmed by the pressures of balancing motherhood, marriage, and taking care of a home.  Maybe these cliques are a direct result of this desire to continue to have stimulating adult relationships outside of the home.  We all know how frustrating and difficult it can be to have small children and never have any meaningful adult interactions outside of familial ones.  Believe me, I totally get this because I experienced this “cabin fever” when I was on maternity leave for my sons.  This did not mean that I wasn’t happy or that I didn’t love my boys, it just meant that I missed talking to other adults about things other than bowel movements and pediatric appointments.

    Now that I think about it, maybe it is possible that these cliques are born from this desire to begin to cultivate adult relationships anew for us women after we experience some of the isolation involved in having new babies.  I could also be completely wrong and these cliques could just be a continuation of the cliques that we used to have in High School.  Perhaps some of these women have never gotten past these earlier behaviors where they were defined by the friends that they surrounded themselves with.  It could just be that their maturity peaked back then.  Whatever the reasons, I think we should think about the example that we are setting for our children by engaging in these behaviors around them.  After all, how could we preach tolerance, positive communication, and instill a sense of community in them if we can’t even model these behaviors ourselves?

© 2011, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. cool post 🙂
    I think it’s a continuation of cliques that there used to be in High School. I was a divorce, working, single mom for a couple years and I can personally attest to the cliques that form and the unsaid boundaries for fitting in. Married moms with kids, sympathized with me but I was never part of their “group”. I got re-married last year and all of a sudden I’m feeling the love from all these people that wouldn’t look twice at me for play dates and child mingling activities. Oh well, good thing I’ve never been a follower 🙂 sorry for the novel, but I really enjoyed your post 🙂

    visiting from http://FlorecitaGrowingUp.Com

    • Hi, Flor. I am so glad that you enjoyed my post. I think it is terrible that you were shunned in this way. It always upsets me when people are so judgmental. That is part of what bothers me about this whole issue, these cliques shun certain people because they are judging them and don’t approve of them. I would really like to know who they think they are!

  2. I was always aware of the cliques at the kid’s school, never really fit in, I worked from home. I was the private one who would just listen to the conversations, could never bring myself to interject into the topic. I may have been the weird one, who knows what they thought of me.

    • Don’t worry, Amber. Apparently, I don’t fit into any of these cliques either. To be honest with you, I don’t even want to be part of any group that excludes anyone due to some imaginary criteria that only they are aware of.

  3. I’ve been on both sides of the fence as a Mom. I used to work. But now am a SAH Mom. Both have it hard in many respects. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally.

    Cliques happen. But I can safely say I can relate to both sides of the coin. Being a Mom is a HARD job, no matter if you work full time or stay home full time.

    • Hi, Missy. I completely agree with you that Moms in general have a hard job. That is why I never feed into discussions that pit stay at home Moms against working Moms. To think that either one side has it easier than the other is ridiculous. Moms rock!

  4. Grumpygratefulmom says

    Interesting post. Except for blogging, I am quite anti-social with other moms these days, but, as a SAHM (with no family nearby), I can understand the need to have adult conversation and relate to other moms.

    I think most moms I’ve met at my daughter’s school are fabulous! The moms that get caught up in the gossip and competition must be really bored. I try to stay away from that.

    • You actually bring up a good point… It makes sense that Moms with no family nearby would seek out these types of relationships. I was more referring to the ones who gossip and compete with one another. You are right that it is better to stay away from that kind of negativity.

  5. I have run into those cliques too, and decided a long time ago I didn’t want to be part of them. I look at those women and it gives me flashbacks from junior high and high school. They act the same, talk to the same, and group together the same. I enjoy finding a friend or to I can connect with, but I have no desire to be part of a big group of gossiping women. I want my kids to be themselves and not be afraid to stand out, rather than conform to a group that has the depth of a mud puddle.

    • Well said, Dawn. I also enjoy friendships with a few special people that I truly connect to on various levels. This type of behavior is definitely reminiscent of high school days and it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I have also found that these large groups are full of gossip and drama and I definitely have no room in my life for that kind of stuff.

  6. Hungrigyrl says

    My oldest is in preschool and it is so true, the cliques are already in full swing. I, too am a working mom, and am only around for special school events (field trips, holiday program, etc.) I wish I could be more involved, but I can’t…I just try to be as nice as possible, but I don’t lose any sleep over it. And all I can do is set a good example for my son by exhibiting good behavior, and be responsible for him and not worry about getting involved with other parents or other kids. It sure is fun to watch the Mommy Cliques though. I try not to take it too seriously! 🙂

    • That is exactly what I try to do, be pleasant and show my children how to communicate positively with others. At the end of the day, we can only be responsible for our own behavior and the examples that we set for our own kids. Not taking it seriously is definitely the best way to go.

  7. Lettersfromhome says

    I’ve noticed them too. Especially when my son was in Cub Scouts. And also, in the neighborhood I live in with some of the moms. I’m the outsider because I really don’t care to sit around and gossip about other people. Life’s too short to worry about what so and so is doing or saying. Just seems so high school to me.

    • That is kind of how I feel too, like it’s just an excuse to engage in old “mean girl” behaviors from back in high school. Luckily, I haven’t been privy to any serious gossip because that would totally take the cake for me. I’m all for mingling and being pleasant but I am definitely not down to compete in any popularity contests at my age.

  8. BalancingMama (Julie) says

    Just visiting this one via your linkwithin – I do sometimes feel cliques among preschool moms. But honestly, maybe they are just better friends and not tryIng to be a clique at all? I wonder if my own shyness makes me look at these groups in a more negative light than I should?

  9. I loved what you had to say! way to go! I agree 100 % we need to most importantly be careful of the behavior we are setting for our kids. I haven’t found a place in any of the mom cliques by me and I am almost happy I haven’t. I want my children to be friendly to everyone and not form cliques themselves.  

  10. Great post! Thank you. I stopped working full-time when my daughter was born 2 years ago. My prior job was intense in every sense of the word; yet I think it’s more challenging navigating through the tight mom groups at my 5 year old’s school. It’s a small school and a huge number of the kids come from a sub-division where all the neighbors hang out daily, bbq on the weekends etc. That tightness carries into the school setting. I have volunteered and joined some committees and met some of these moms, many whom are very nice; but it is totally an extension of high school. Instead of fighting it, I am seeking out moms more like myself. More private and on the outskirts. My daughter has met some great friends and luckily I like their moms! 

  11. My advice to mom cliques are:

    1. If you don’t like someone for your own insecurities, try to work on yourself instead of shunning and spreading lies about another woman.

    2. Just because you volunteer at school doesn’t mean you are allowed to act like a bully or tyrant. If you think those are perks for you and to play people against each other, maybe you should just step down.

    If the mean mothers are shunning one woman and making sure her and her child has no friends, those mothers are very petty and insecure women who need to get a real life. I’ve seen this go down and they are bullies that think they deserve special treatment and their children should get away with anything and not be held accountable for their actions. They want favortism for their child. Usually those children end up being aggressive behind adults backs but pretending to be all nice when the teacher looks or their parents are there because their parent NEEDS to look good.

    Stop allowing mother cliques to take over schools. If you see a woman that is being shunned, you hear someone saying nasty things about her…stop and think about what that woman might be saying about you and her friends. Don’t engage in that behavior to fit in either. Go hang out with the woman who is the target of envy. She’s probably a better friend than them.

    • I completely agree with you, Lula. I have actually written a few posts about the problem with Mom Cliques at my sons’ school. I would love your feedback on some of the events and situations I have had to deal with including telling their children to mistreat my son in the classroom. It’s a sad state of affairs when adults act worse than children do.

  12. Being part of one and then being out of one really makes you see both sides and how other people percieve you to be. I had a lot of people come up to me when I stopped hanging out with very “cliquish” type people and tell me how they would have talked to me before, but they thought I was snotty. I am the type of person who wants to have a variety of people in my life. I feel that being around a bunch of people that act and talk the same is so boring. Not to mention annoying!! Now, I have less friends, but I have way BETTER friends!!! I want my daughter to know that you should pick your friends by who they are and what you love about them, not by what clothes they wear, how much money they have or what “group” they may be in. I know it is hard for children, look at what they have to learn from! We have to show them the right way! <3 Good luck to all!!!


  1. […]   This past weekend, I have seen a side of Mom Cliques that even I wasn’t prepared to accept.  Never, in a million years did I expect that their […]

  2. […] had to deal with some parents behaving badly in my son’s class due to the presence of “Mom Cliques” and the children that they are raising to think that being mean spirited to others is […]

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