Back when we were in grad school, before we had children, my friend Melissa and I would meet and
study talk for hours over a bottle of wine.
We laughed, finished each other’s sentences, and dreamed of the day when we’d have kids that were as close as we were.
Then, I had Katie and shortly after, she had Maddie.
In those early days, life was so busy that we saw each other rarely, so it never occurred to me that trouble was brewing.
Once the girls were a bit older, we began having fairly regular play dates.
Nearly every time the girls played together, Katie would later tell me how Maddie had hurt her feelings in some way.
So, I watched them a bit more closely, trying to see what was going on, wondering if Katie was perhaps being oversensitive.
And it became clear to me that Maddie was downright mean and she was sneaky about it.
On one occasion, as the girls were coming downstairs from Katie’s room, Maddie gave Katie a shove that propelled her down several steps.
Another time, when Katie presented her with a picture she had drawn in anticipation of her visit, Maddie replied, “that’s not a very good picture at all. You aren’t an artist like me.”
What do you say to something like that?
Then, last week, feeling desperate after a particularly nasty play date, I Googled “I love my friend, but hate her kid” and found a great piece called Help! I Hate My Friend’s Kids: 3 Ways to Stay Sane.
The author offers up the following three suggestions:
1. Set up a neutral place to meet — like a museum or a park — so there won’t be quarrels about sharing toys.
2. Next time you’re all together, try not to get so involved with talking to your friend that you lose track of what the kids are up to. Be a little more hands-on than usual just to see if you can diffuse disagreements before they become full-blown arguments.
3. It may be tricky, but try to talk to your friends (in a non-judgmental tone, if possible) about how your kids aren’t really getting along with her kids and maybe there’s something you can all do to work things out (without assigning blame).
As I went through the suggestions, I realized that I’d actually tried each of them.
And I was reminded that although I love my friend, my most important job is to protect my child, so I’m bowing out of my relationship with Melissa.
As my friend Lori wrote in The 8 Toughest Mommy Breakups, “Sometimes BFFs grow apart, sometimes the relationship becomes toxic, and sometimes we are simply unable to stand by for whatever reason. Super duper sad.”
Yep…super duper sad, indeed.
But the idea of never having to be around that rotten child again? Well, that sure takes the sting out of it.
Has this ever happened to you? How is it that our friends can be so wonderful and their kids so atrocious?