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I remember when our son first started out on a semi-travel baseball team at around 8-9 years old. I found myself on a team with a very divided group of ladies. One half of the group were fun, outgoing, down to earth, and very welcoming. They’d show up dressed comfortably, and just wanted to enjoy watching their kiddos play ball. Then there were “those” baseball moms. I don’t want to generalize anyone, but “those” moms consist of the moms that think and act they’re above you. Today I want to talk to you all about How to Deal with “Those” Moms on the team and how to ensure you’re not one of “those moms” on the team. And for all my current baseball mommas on our team–just know that NONE of you are in this category, which is why we feel so incredibly blessed to have the parents we do in our organization!
How to Deal with “Those” Moms
First of all…what are “those” moms? Maybe you haven’t experienced this yet through travel baseball, but it’s there. It’s there is all sports and all walks of life, just not baseball. It’s in the work place, it’s in schools and mom groups, it’s prevalent on social media…women tearing women down to try to make themselves feel somehow more powerful or elite. Matter of fact, this problem probably started at a very young age for many of us, the difference being that some of us grew up, realized our priorities, and decided to be nice human beings going forward and others decided to be grown ass “mean girls.”
So what does being one of “those” baseball moms mean? Symptoms include:
- Passive aggressive behavior including inability to make eye contact or acknowledge you despite your children being on the same team for over a year
- Inability to say hello or smile as you walk in together on the way to the field
- Whispering about you or other moms with other moms and parents on the team
- Sending nasty emails out accusing parents of not being thankful enough for the coach (yes…this actually happened)
- Having a mentality that her child is the best on the team and therefore she is “Queen Bee” of the parents now
- Inviting some children on the team to take part in team building activities and not all
- Openly shunning children/families that may be having a rough season and not performing up to her elevated standard
- Judging you or your child for not having the most expensive baseball equipment on the market or for having a lower socio-economic status
- And more….
Have you been a victim of one of “those” baseball moms?
If so, you’re not alone. It’s hard enough raising our children, but having a wonderful group of families and amazing moms around you to raise you and your child up is so important. On our current team, we have the most kind, sweet, and thoughtful group of moms I’ve ever met. We lift each other up, we laugh with each other, we all cheer equally for our kiddos, and we LOVE to hang out together. There’s not one mom on our team that I wouldn’t gladly plant myself next to for a long tournament and laugh with.
BUT…it wasn’t always that way. So here’s some things to look out for before you get into this situation and here’s some ways to combat it if you’re already in it.
When you go to a tryout, I truly think that the tryout goes both ways. Sure you want your child to make the best teams, but take note of how the parents around you behave. Do they seem to know each other? Do people seem cordial? If you’re trying out and notice that the parents are cold, quiet, unwelcoming, and don’t conversate with each other much, this should raise some red flags. There is literally NOTHING worse than spending a busy baseball season with a bunch of parents that hate each other. Remember, you’re going to be spending a LOT of time together!! If you’re wary of the parents or moms that could possibly be with you, then be sure to open your child up to the possibilities of other teams. Ask around your neighborhood, talk to other moms whose children play travel baseball and see what they say. Also–look through the team’s social media pages too. Are the parents engaging in the content? Do you see lots of posts of happy families? All these things are a great indicator of team comradery.
I think everyone can say that there are groups of teams in your area that have reputations. Some have reputations for having tough coaches, others are super expensive, others maybe are newer and just starting out, while others are more established and might have very rigorous guidelines….all of those things are definitely things to consider, but another important consideration is how the parents act during games. You can see a lot about a team or a coach by going to one or two of their games. Do the parents sit together, do they seem to get along? Do the boys get along? Are their any parents on the team that are aggressive or unsportsmanlike regularly? All things to look out for before choosing a team for your child.
If you’re past the point of no return, meaning that you’re already on a team, paid up, and you’re noticing red flags, then Plan B goes into effect.
Here’s some ways to try to turn it around:
- Force yourself, beyond your normal level of extroverted-ness, to try to get to know “those” moms. Instead of avoiding them, go sit by them and strike up a conversation. Maybe they’re just a little harder to get to know. It may be painful at first, but I always like to give even the most sour faced mom the benefit of the doubt and try to say hello and get to know her.
- Consider full team building opportunities like team cookouts, team parties, and mom and dad nights out. You wouldn’t believe how much these can pull parents and kids together and really make the team atmosphere feel more like a family.
- Invite families to grab dinner with you after a game or lunch between games.
- Host a cookout between games at a tournament and have it done potluck style. This is a great way to dine together and get to know each other.
- Do something thoughtful like bringing a snack to share or planning a team outing on the weekends of a tournament.
- Suggest volunteering together as a group somewhere. Over the fall our families got together and did outdoor work for elderly people. It was fun and benefitted a great cause.
Sometimes it’s just showing that you’re making the effort to make “those” moms come around a bit more and treat you like a human being.
And if all else fails…kill them with kindness. If they’re rude, treat them with kindness because you never know if maybe they’re taking their home problems out on you. If they send you a nasty email, try to respond kindly or just don’t respond at all. If they are gossiping about you, just ignore it and realize that in their own lives they must be really unhappy.
Most of all. Don’t let “those” moms get you down. Smile when you see them and move along. Why are you really there? For your child. That’s it. Nothing else matters.
But if they start picking on your child next….you have my full permission to go full Momma Bear on them. 😉
Have a good story about “those” moms or your experience with them? Leave it in the comments below.
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