When the bully is a mom

Something has been going on in my life, and I haven’t been writing about it. I don’t think I realized what it was, or maybe I didn’t want to acknowledge it.

But I’ll say it now.

Another mom at my kids’ school is a bully, and I am one of her targets.

I’m as surprised at that as you. I mean, as HRH says, I am just way too obvious a target. It’s almost anticlimactic to bully the lone gaijin mom. (By the way, when I become a superhero that will be my name, The Lone Gaijin.)

It’s been going on for three or four months now, I guess. It started with the planning of the Wakarekai(graduation party, but the pain-in-the-ass factor is akin a sweet sixteen for a New Orleans debutante,) for Me Too’s preschool. All of the moms get divided into committees. The committees have a leader. But our leader was no match for the Alpha Mom B!tch Corps.

I should have seen it coming from the way they acted at the first meeting, wasting everyone else’s time, shooting down other people’s ideas, talking badly about teachers, etc. It was pretty shocking at the time. I butted heads with them, very politely, for though I may be made of steel, I am not the It Girl of Confrontation. And they shot me down. No one stood with me, so it was a both-engines-on-fire, smoke-streaming, Too Gun kind of shootdown.

And then somehow, I ended up bring assigned to the same subcommittee as The Alpha Moms. Slowly, and before I realized it, they were asking me to do A LOT. A lot more than anyone else. I noticed the other day how Alpha Mom A viciously snapped at one of her minions when she put glue in the wrong place.

Like, yikes.

But while they were just making my life hard, I could live with it. When they told me I would have to go decorate a room and leave Me Too alone in the auditorium during lunch, while every. other. kid. would eat with their mom, I said “No.” And somehow, they made me feel like I was being unreasonable.

I cried in the bathroom for a little while. This may not be the most effective way of dealing with a problem, mind you, but don’t knock it until you try it.

Of course they had the upper hand. They were using their native language, “Japanese culture,” blah blah blah.

And then after this awful meeting, I went to the grocery store. And I saw that they were all having lunch, without me. I said hello to them, as those of us who are not inherently evil to the core are prone to do when seeing someone we know. Minion waved. The other two ignored me.

And it was like a breath of fresh air. Because suddenly, I could see that this wasn’t about me.

On the actual Wakare Kai day, as luck would have it, both kids got sick in the morning and puked all over me.

Score.

We didn’t go.

But in a weird way, I’m kind of glad it happened. Because when I saw those mean moms having lunch without me, I felt insignificant and worthless. In that same moment, I realized that all of these yucky feelings I was having were the same kinds of things Me First has been feeling at school. That unsureness that something was really happening, the dread to face them every day, the fear of making it worse by complaining.

I get it.

So I guess in a way, these mean moms gave me something really valuable.

They can still go eff themselves in hell, though.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gaijinwife
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 14:11:14

    oh my bloody god. what bitches! I guess at least now you knot they are complete bitches you can just ignore them as much as possible. I’m the opposite to them, I took on far too much work myself for the natsu matsuri and then got upset that nobody helped when actually I hadn’t even bloody asked and they did all do what I asked slash told them to anyway!! Gaaah. Bloody kindy and primary school and all the bollocks that goes with it here. Bet the minion hates beging with them but her only other option would be to go rogue and side up with Lone Gaijin. xxxx

    Reply

  2. kireikireikirei
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 15:47:33

    Oh, I am so sorry! Big Hugs! I wish all us Gaijin Gals could gang together against them.

    Reply

  3. Erin
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 16:37:24

    Wow, just…wow. This is not the first story I hear about bullying gaijin moms, but every time I find myself speechless and really terrified.
    Can a mother reject her participation in the committees and being part of planning activities/events? Or do they expect every mom, including working moms, to participate?

    Reply

    • hamakkomommy
      Mar 13, 2014 @ 09:44:37

      I would try to avoid youchien if at all possible if I were a working mom. I only teach a couple of classes a month, but the past few weeks I have a lot of trouble finding prep time even for that. This end-of-year madness at my daughter’s school involves everyone, though the pain level varies according to what kind of committee you end up on, who is in charge, who else is in the group. I was on the same committee for Me First, and it was just much LESS, in every way.

      Elementary….it’s hard to say. Each school and even grade within that school can be different. In general, it is much easier to get out of PTA meetings and stuff in elementary.

      For the record, I don’t think these women targeted me because I’m a gaijin. I think they targeted me because I disagreed with them in the beginning. I didn’t want this to turn into a time-consuming debacle, and I tried several times to simplify their increasingly complicated ideas. No one stood up with me, though I know from conversations afterward that many of them agreed with me.

      I was talking to a Japanese friend about the whole thing yesterday, and she was saying that the group dynamics here make everything worse. Bullies have a way of getting a whole class or group under their influence, and standing up for yourself can make it worse. That’s what she said, anyway. And from what I’ve seen on the playground, she’s probably right.

      Reply

      • Erin
        Mar 14, 2014 @ 20:29:34

        Thank you for the detailed reply!
        I actually want my son to go to youchien because I want him to learn stuff (I heard in hoikuen they don’t teach the kids anything, right?) but I really hope I can be excluded from PTA. Even without the element of bullying it seems really tough to manage…
        By the way, I understand you gave your kids to Japanese schools, right? Do you plan to put them in international schools later? I was told that “mixed kids” often get bullied and that it’s better to put them to international school or Japanese school that got many mixed/foreign kids. I personally don’t take that very seriously but I know kids can be very mean sometimes (and actually that’s why DH insisted on picking a Japanese name). What are your thoughts on that?

      • hamakkomommy
        Mar 14, 2014 @ 22:30:11

        My oldest goes to the local, Japanese elementary, Me Too will be there next month. I’ve heard good and bad things about international school, but honestly, it’s just too expensive for us.

        My son has had some trouble at school, but I’m not sure if it’s just because he’s “half.” There are two other “half” kids in his grade, and they don’t seem to have any trouble.

  4. Xana
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 23:21:33

    Ugh, I’m so sorry you had to go through this. And I’m so impressed you are using it as a way to be a stronger mother. I think you should have MT design your superhero costume. Especially the shoes!

    Reply

    • hamakkomommy
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 22:13:51

      All of her non-footwear drawings these days have weird, peekaboo shoulders. I don’t do strapless bras, Lol. She may have a future designing wedding dresses, though!

      Reply

  5. Jenni
    Mar 14, 2014 @ 21:08:32

    Wow, those women really need to grow up. So sad that in all their obsessive planning for a children’s graduation party they couldn’t grasp the concept of behaving like adults and not insecure, cliquish middle schoolers.

    Reply

  6. hamakkomommy
    Mar 14, 2014 @ 22:23:07

    At least in middle school we didn’t have nail art and eyelash extensions. Much easier to hair spray your bangs on the curling iron like we did in th 90s.

    Reply

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